Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009


Oregon-based rock band Last Giant's "Animals," from their forthcoming album, Monuments

Beginning in 2014 from the ashes of former Northwest indie-rockers System and Station (1998-2013), Last Giant is comprised of front man RFK Heise (vocals, guitar, keys), Palmer Cloud (bass), and Matt Willes (drums). 


All things in due time. Portland, Oregon's Last Giant has been patiently waiting to release their 4th full-length album Monuments into the world. Filled with monstrous guitar riffs, infectious melodies, and connective lyrics, they have honed their artistic vision and created their finest work to date.

Beginning in 2014 from the ashes of former Northwest indie-rock heavy-hitters System and Station (1998-2013), Last Giant is comprised of front man RFK Heise (vocals, guitar, keys), Palmer Cloud (bass), and Matt Willes (drums).  Last Giant has toured the U.S. extensively and has been featured in film and television, as well as shows including Mike Watt’s “The Watt from Pedro” and Allen Epley’s “Third Gear Scratch."  Last Giant’s video for “Captain my Captain” was the winner of MTV’s indie video award with over 70,000 votes and they were a featured artist on MTV2. Distributed via The Orchard and released by indie label Little One Ate the Big One.

With Monuments, demoing started in early 2021 prior to Last Giant’s film release, "Live From The Hallowed Halls."  Shortly after, personal tragedy derailed the band from living in a consistent zip code. Band leader RFK Heise continued to write and hone songs, most of which would become Monuments, while living throughout the Northwest and Southern California. Lyrical inspiration was found in observation and introspection on not having a consistent home and being a stranger in constant strange circumstance.

Last Giant reconvened in Spring of 2022 with longtime contributing drummer Matt Wiles and bassist Palmer Cloud on board. They began to comb through a year of material to create Monuments.  Songs were reworked as a unit and new material was written collectively as a band with Palmer Cloud contributing the raucous and muscular guitar riff of "Soldiers."  By August of 2022 they were ready to head to the studio to start what would be a five-month recording process.

With Adam Pike (Red Fang, High on Fire) sitting in the engineer chair, Last Giant entered Echo Echo Studios in industrial NE Portland to record basic tracks for Monuments. On their first day in the studio the 1970s Trident mixing console blew up along with a vintage Orange amplifier, setting the tone for the adventure that would become Monuments. They patched together what they could and persevered with only the drum and bass tracks intact.

RFK Heise began the next four-month journey of finishing the album. Guitars were tracked at LOABO HQ Studios (UTILITY, System and Station, John Amadon) in Portland.  Keys and vocals were tracked across the Northwest and Southern California in closets, kitchens, empty corners, and cars.  Yes, cars.  Finally ready to mix, the first two mixing sessions were plagued with rushed schedules and lack of focus.  In steps Paul Malinowski (Shiner, Riddle of Steel, Failure), a longtime friend and contributor, to take the songs where they needed to go and the mix was finished at Massive Studios in Kansas City, MO in January 2023.  The album went through three mastering sessions, the 3rd time landing with Stephan Hawkes (Gaytheist, Rise Records, Shelter Red) in North Hollywood as the winner.

Perseverance, integrity, commitment, and vision have given us pop gems such as "Hell on Burnside," living somewhere in the stratosphere of ZZ Top and The Jesus Lizard (if one can imagine).  Progressive tinted "Broken Wires" swings like Adam Ant were Iron Maiden’s biggest fan, including a crescendo of "Free Bird" proportioned guitar majesty for the outro.  "Feels Like Water" is an arena-sized rocker owed to Soundgarden via Thin Lizzy with a touch of early Arctic Monkeys in tow.  All songs are innately Last Giant however, from the first note and first word there is no doubt you are in Last Giant’s world.  Their prowess shines through in the production details, Monuments is meant for repeated listens and constant discovery by design.  The moods created on songs like "Animals" and "Saviors" (featuring Dave Jorgensen of Blind Pilot on trumpet) sticks with you like a dark breeze across a desolate landscape.  The closer, "Lost and Losing," feels exactly like the uncertain times we are all living in. 

All things in due time indeed.  Monuments is the shot in the arm that rock and roll has been looking for.  File under sincere, honest, bad ass, thoughtful, guitar-slaying, drum-pounding, ass-shaking rock and roll.

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