SEVEN top tracks from artists across the globe you really ought to be tuning in to.

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Layup – Want It All

Gussie - Cumbies

SEE TAI – Brother Sun

Spooky Mansion – Sunset Hills

Pizzagirl – Favourite Song

IDER – Body Love

The Twisted Melons – 77

LAYUP – WANT IT ALL

HeraldScotland:

Layup is a collaboration between singer Chris Henderson and producer Chad Copelin.

The pair met back in 2009 when Henderson’s then new band, Bronze Radio Return, needed a producer to work on their debut album. Fast-forward almost a decade later and BRR has now released four full-length records with Copelin at the helm of each from his Blackwatch Studios in Oklahoma.

Spending so much time in the studio together over the years, Henderson and Copelin eventually teamed up for a new project of their own.  

About Layup, Copelin said: “The name came about because we are both super competitive at everything we do. So having a sports name of sorts was intentional. But at the same time, we want our music to be easily understood and digestible. So we figured, what’s easier in sports than a layup?”

The boys certainly have a sporty little number with song Want It All. It’s energetic, enthusiastic and makes you want to throw your hands in the air. It’s also the soundtrack to a lively Robinsons Fruit Shoot ad.

About the track, the band said: “Want It All started as a little upbeat guitar-driven jam. We wrote the core of the tune with guitars and filled in sounds around them – breaking glass, reverb hits, dirty percussion etc.

“Once we had the instrumental portion together we wanted lyrics that would fit with the fun and rhythmic nature of the track. In the end we felt like the idea of ‘wanting it all’ nicely fit the energy of the song.”

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GUSSIE – CUMBIES

HeraldScotland:

Gussie is a solo singer/producer from Brooklyn, New York.

Ahead of her debut EP out this summer, second single Cumbies swaggers along slowly with its 80’s-vibe synth and dreamy vocals.

About the track, Gussie said: “Cumbies is basically about going to buy snacks with someone you have a crush on. It’s pretty much entirely about my ex-boyfriend – he’s still a really good friend and one of my favourite people ever – and our relationship, which was just hanging out and eating a lot of snacks and wandering around together at night.

“The rotten candy thing is about a) Dots, which are these little gummy candies that taste like rubber and vomit that he loves for some reason, and b) I guess a metaphor for knowing things were going to end eventually. Not in some dramatic way, but just like, he wants to skateboard in Massachusetts forever and I want to move away. 

“Structurally, I wanted to make a very simple song, and highlight this one sound from the Fairlight – that synth that Kate Bush used a ton on The Dreaming – which sounds like robots saying ‘ahh’. I love recorded sounds of people from a long time ago. I used to be obsessed with the idea that everyone laughing on TV shows from the 50s were probably dead now, but it was the first sound on a computer I truly fell in love with. So the goal was just to incorporate that sound and have it be a bit less aggressive than my first single.

“It’s a bit dumber and less complex but I think it’s a song you can listen to multiple times without your ears hurting.”

Go to soundcloud.com/blairblairblair.

SEE TAI – BROTHER SUN

HeraldScotland:

SEE TAI is the solo project of Louisville musician Jamie See Tai.

Jamey was one of the two founding members of instrumental ambient/post-rock band, The Photographic. After the band members went their separate ways, Jamey began doing remixes as SEE TAI for other artists such as Daughter, Jim James, Lane 8, Goldroom, and Beni. Fast-forward to 2018, SEE TAI has found his own sound.

Brother Sun, a new wave wonder, masks its sorrowful lyrics with a bright beat. Jamey’s dreamy vocals – combined with the synth and guitar melodies – makes for a captivating creation.

About the track, Jamey said: “The idea of Brother Sun came about while I was watching Franco Zeffirelli’s Brother Sun, Sister Moon.

“Towards the beginning of the film, St Francis says to his friend: ‘The last night of our youth. Do you realize that? We tried so desperately to make it never end. We should’ve stopped the sun from rising.’

“That line immediately resonated with me and I made a note of it in my phone. At the time of writing the song, and even to this day, I deal with regrets of procrastinating and wasting precious time, not doing a lot of things I wanted/want to do, so I tried to incorporate some of those personal sentiments into the lyrics.

“To help finish the song, I went to my close friend Brian Vega, whose writing I admire. He ended up contributing some lyrics, ultimately helping shape the final result.”

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SPOOKY MANSION – SUNSET HILLS

HeraldScotland:

Spooky Mansion started as a one-off performance when the quartet were asked to play for Owen Wilson’s 45th birthday on the shore of the Mississippi River in North Texas. After a bootleg recording of the event was passed around in early 2015, a cult following began growing and the band eventually decided to pursue music full-time in San Francisco.

The boys – Grayson Converse (vocals, guitar), Marty Reising (bass), Carlos McCone (guitar) and Rob Mills (drums) – have a beauty of a track in the jangly surf-soul of Sunset Hills.

About the song, Grayson said: “Sunset Hills is a made-up story about real feelings.

“The opening lyrics ‘she’s gone and I slept for weeks’, I guess at its most basic it’s a song about losing someone you love and then obsessing over it. The verse focuses on that; sleeping in bed all day, remembering the person, dreaming about them etc.

“The chorus is more interesting though. It turns into a story about a robbery. Maybe it’s in the dream that the person is having. The lyric ‘somewhere there’s a big old stash of money in a bar in Sunset Hills and I’d take you there’, it’s like a romantic dream date – robbing a bar with your lover.

“And then the lyric ‘someday there will be time for us to be alone and it goes to my head, don’t be annoyed’. The sad part is even in the dream, well, they’re thinking about the time they all have alone together and it still goes to his head and he messes it up.

“When you have all that time alone together you take it for granted and then when you’re alone by yourself it’s all you can think about.”

Like facebook.com/spookymoosemusic.

PIZZAGIRL – FAVOURITE SONG

HeraldScotland:

Liverpool-based bedroom artist Liam Brown is the genius behind Pizzagirl.

With a dollop of 80s nostalgia, Favourite Song is an infectiously moody invitation into the lo-fi musician’s polychromatic world.

About the track, Liam said: "Favourite Song is a tune suited for the misty alleys of 1985 or even better, surfing the deepest parts of the dark web with your best bud.

“The inspiration behind this melody comes from the image of a nostalgic future shown in films like Blade Runner and Tron where everything is tinged with a computer screen glow and a digital melancholy."

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IDER – BODY LOVE

HeraldScotland:

Heartbreak has never sounded so good thanks to North London pair IDER.

Lily Somerville and Megan Markwick, the dynamic duo behind the band, first started making sweet music together after meeting at university.

Body Love, a tale of self-doubt before self-acceptance, hypnotises with its intricate harmonies.

About the track, the band said: “We started writing Body Love over a year ago, so it was in the writing process for a long time.

“The song unintentionally became a bit of a journey for us – it started with the end of a relationship and expresses all of the doubt and loneliness that comes with that.

“Towards the end however, there's a sense of acceptance and strength that appears which has actually become the purpose of the song for us."

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THE TWISTED MELONS – 77

HeraldScotland:

The Twisted Melons serve up psychedelic beatpop with oozings of style.

The band of brothers, from Kintyre, have come out swinging in a time of fake news, election hacking scandals, Brexit and Trump.

77, a politically-charged attack on an army unit that uses ‘non-lethal’ engagement as a means to adapt behaviours, rightly questions the division's transparency and potentially manipulative role in our democracy.

About the track, Paul Johnson (guitar, vocals) said: “We grew up in the shadow of RAF Machrihanish, which during the Cold War was one of the most strategically important bases in the whole of NATO. We were exposed to militarism at close quarters and were very much aware of the power of the state.

“Militarism is in our culture in the UK, so much so you get called an extremist and an insurgent for criticising the war culture and wanting the UK to take a deep breath before involving itself in conflict.

“We were protesters against the Iraq war and wrote and released pro-peace songs during that time. At the time of the Iraq War we kept getting told about how important it was to win the hearts and minds of the populations of countries the UK were invading. The propaganda to paint the UK as just was astonishing.”

Stephen Johnson (bass, backing vocals) noted: “This is all background to a new brigade of the British Army which was created under the Army 2020 project, a brigade that was involved in ‘non-lethal warfare’.

“This brigade is called the 77th Brigade and it will reach full operational capacity in January 2019. When launched the press described this brigade as ‘Facebook warriors’. The Brigade is involved in online and media operations. It is an organisation designed to control the narrative online.”

Mark Johnson (drums, backing vocals) added: “In this era of fake news and realities created by online entities we thought it important to raise awareness of this particular branch of the army, especially when their predecessor was deployed against the British public online to try to gain public support for the invasion of Libya.

“If the British Army were willing to deploy its ‘hearts and minds’ division against the British public on the Libya issue what else are they willing to use it on and to what ends? This is a serious liberty issue, especially with the backdrop of clandestine organisations trying to disrupt our democracy.

“What else have they been deployed for? Who are they targeting and why is our tax money being spent on trying to troll and argue with people online, especially British citizens?

“There was a time when the internet was your friend. Now it's a battlefield for your thoughts, one for hearts and minds, and one where victory can never be defined. Why should the British Army's agenda get government funding and be allowed to roam unchecked online? This is an assault on our democracy and this time, we're all on the front line.”

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