Mini Melon Mix Ups: Máni Orrason, Tony Baltimore, Plain Mister Smith, Benji Lewis, William Bolton, Boo Seeka, GoGo Penguin, Nathaniel Paul, Erin, Confetti, BB Cooper, REUNIØN and Vicky Pasion

The last two weeks have gone by in a blur! But it’s been a blur made all the more manageable by more new music discovery, so if you’ve got a bunch of chores to do or a deadline to meet, then let us recommend some tunes to make that sail by.

Let’s start off with some good old-fashioned catharsis wrapped up in the nostalgic package of Máni Orrason’s new single ‘Just Can’t Have It’. Inspired by early 2000s pop-punk music but with the modern day awareness of the issues we all face, the Icelandic artist critiques staying in your comfort zone for fear of the unknown. The euphoric emo track seeks to imbue the listener with the confidence to act.

I feel like there are two kinds of people. People that love conflict, and to resolve – even if that means anger and feelings truly expressed – and people that are more afraid of risking problems than the conflict and resolution. That’s kind of my feeling, like it’s an armour that protects you because it doesn’t blow up either way.”

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Taken from Tony Baltimore’s upcoming album, the song is a cheeky and sarcastic jab at everyday life, which can sometimes feel like it’s at a standstill, or as the songwriter puts it ‘Sit Still’. It’s an unexpected single for Baltimore, but you wouldn’t know that from his rock-roots performance and catchy songwriting.

“Sit Still is really just a silly, tongue-in-cheek song that when we started recording it I thought sounded like an early 70’s Rolling Stones mimic. When I first wrote it I never expected it to be on a record at all but here it is as a single!”

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The obscure character of Plain Mister Smith brings his recent releases full circle with his new album, I’m Just Plain Mister Smith. From that, we’re picking out focus track ‘Satori Space’ featuring the captivating vocals of Jocelyn Price which floats over the off-kilter space of acoustic avant-garde rock.

“I’m Just Plain Sister Smith album is a dog’s breakfast of lyrical jewels, exploring alien arrivals, self-loathing and delusion, seduction in space, and cat cafes in Osaka. Sonically the music creeps and rolls along and soars too, and sometimes the guitars and strings and keyboards are lush and pastoral, on top of which Jordan Klassen and Jocelyn’s Prices’ vocals can intermesh and hypnotise.  Maybe there’s something here for music obsessives, who like their music a little pop but rogue too, where you never quite know what lies around the next sonic corner.”

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Our love affair with Benji Lewis’ music continues with newest single ‘Jump This Train’, the soulful, bassy and rhythmic lifted from the Australian’s upcoming EP. His sensitive, Sam Smith-esque vocals contrast the chunky, marching percussion and experimentalist production, bringing together the natural and the animated in imperfectly beautiful synergy.

“This is a song about freedom, trust, and living life as if it were one big adventure! As I reflect on this song it makes me think of the animated Disney film Aladdin, and specifically where he asks Jasmine, “Do you trust me?” I feel this song is asking the same thing of the listener; don’t be afraid of the possibility of love and falling for someone. It can be a beautiful thing, if you just give-in a little and open yourself up to new possibilities. I guess these lyrics and emotions come from a place of wanting someone that I was falling for to see that little bit of hope in what was happening and jump in with me. Take a little risk and just work it all out as we go. I could see something special and really nice happening between us, and the future was looking fun and exciting.”

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We love the unbridled passion of William Bolton’s new single ‘BATHSHIT’ which is all about that unseen battle against mental illness that many of us face, and derived from the Los Angeles-via-Detroit artist’s own personal experience. He contrasts open acoustic guitar, minimalist beats against bombastic alt-rock choruses conveying that rollercoaster of emotions.

“BATSHIT is about my battle with depression and the fight I went through with the voices in my head. My depression led to substance abuse and addiction, which only added to the mayhem of such a vicious cycle. I had to really try to cope with all my negative thoughts and emotions, and drugs were a quick escape, but naturally, only made me feel worse in the end. The lyrics show that: / 11 hours I been laying in bed / I stare at the ceiling and wish I was dead / I’m on the brink of madness, trying to cure my sadness. / Weirdly enough, I actually wrote this song while I was still in that mindset and whilst on drugs; the whole thing was chaotic and painful. I barely kept it together, but somehow managed to record it with my producer to its completion and how you hear it now.” 

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‘Next To Me’ is the unmissable new single from Australia’s dance music mainstay Boo Seeka, who is fresh off a long-awaited performance at Coachella. This blissed-out house track transports the listener to an ethereal plain where all you want to do is close your eyes, raise your hands in the air and enjoy the chilled textures of Book Seeka’s latest production. If you’re vibing with ‘Next To Me’, then be sure to keep an ear out for the upcoming record, set to land in June.

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Manchester’s five-piece collective GoGo Penguin set out to take the listener on a journey with new composition ‘Badeep’ and we certainly think they’ve succeeded. At first, they lull you in with a meditative arrangement of beats and a luxurious bass groove, but just as you find yourself getting comfortable, the outfit turn the heat up with frenzied-yet-purposeful jazzy piano, fervent percussion and simmering horn. It’s intense and very much keeps the listener on their toes throughout.

“We are excited to share Badeep with you, the second single from our forthcoming EP, Between Two Waves. With this track we were inspired by the idea of taking the listener on a journey. Badeep starts and ends with the same simple synth pattern but through the journey you finally arrive somewhere which feels both familiar and alien at the same time.”

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‘Just Memories’ is the insightful new track from Nathaniel Paul whose unconventional style only serves to accentuate the deeper meanings, itself entwined in the complexities on the human mind. Over slapping drums, Paul’s haunting vocals and The XX-style guitar interludes convey the pensive regret as he reflects on bad decisions of the past. His palpable self-doubt is saturated into every lyric.

“I almost died shooting this video. I thought it wasn’t going to be all that bad. But when you’re actually hanging upside down, it really gives you tunnel vision. But honestly, we live in a world of chemicals and social media trying to kill us all the time, I thought this was the perfect way to convey the message of the song.” 

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Our little calm within the storm in this round-up is provided by Erin, the heartfelt singer and songwriter from Australia. The artist maximises her gentle R&B-tinged voice to create a little oasis in the performance of ‘Still (B Side)’, which takes inspiration from the minimal style of a COLORS show. We especially love the serenely strummed guitar and jazzy instrumentation which artfully compliments Erin’s emotive vocal tone.

“There’s a harder louder side of me I’m yet to explore vocally, but I’ve never been the type of artist to discover everything about myself all at once or show everything all at once, so for now, I’ve been exploring the softer side of my voice while letting the music and all the textures and sounds in the production tell the rest of the story and I’m actually pretty addicted to the intricate and creative way that these songs are coming about. This music is more than just a moment for me, it’s not an overnight thing. If I like the sound of something and it moves me, I’ll run with it and not second guess a single thing, cause you have to go all in with this kinda thing. No matter what you’re doing, you gotta close your eyes and find your focus and know that life is beautiful when you’re free in it. X”

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Another killer of an alt pop track next from our bright, colourful and vivacious friends Confetti with new single ‘No Strings’. No longer the Circus fanatic elephants, we all came to know and love, this dynamic duo are still rolling with the punches whilst they continue to provide tunes which are just as fun and rambunctious as before and ‘No Strings’ is no different! They are gearing up to their next EP, also titled ‘No Strings’ and we can’t wait to see what else they have hidden up their sleeves.

This song is about the ‘dinosaurs‘ of the music industry that continue to cling to relevance by enslaving young and vulnerable artists; we hate it and we’ve seen it happen time and time again, right before our eyes, even though we aren’t signed to a major. We hope to contribute to the existing wave of independent thought and creation of music that says you don’t need to be tied to that kind of partnership. Not everyone is as fortunate as we are to be in the position that we’re in with our music, and we’re grateful for that. Creating authentic partnerships in and involving music is one of the many wonders and blessings for us and how/why we get to do what we do. Beware of anything else that screams inauthenticity. F*** that noise, f*** those nerds.” Confetti

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Next on our radar is a fierce new offering from BB Cooper with ‘Give Me Love’. Endlessly cinematic, we really get to see Coopers vocals shine this time round and boy do they SHINE. A sultry and sophisticated love song, with a subtle mysteriousness which hangs in the air, all in keeping with BB Coopers top secret identity.

The story is about a love that isn’t necessarily unrequited, but is only felt and given sparingly — almost as a way for one person to have control over the other. Kind of like when you feel finally feel happy with a person and at ease, and they suddenly take the love away — a classic game player move.”  – BB Cooper

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London duo REUNIØN have released a new music video to accompany their gorgeous single ‘Caves’. Comprising of Eliot James and Jon Green, they are certainly no strangers to the music scene having been writing and producing records for the likes of Two Door Cinema Club, Bloc Party, Kaiser Chiefs, James Bay, Aquilo and Linkin Park, to name a few. This project celebrates the journey of their own unique exploratory mission to discover their sound. Marking their first 2022 release, ‘Caves’ is soft, delicate and heart warming, beaming in the dark as a glorious glow of hope, it represents that welcomed light you witness at the end of a tunnel.

“Caves is a song about emerging from something, somewhere. We’ve all been kind of cooped up of late so there’s that desire to head back out in the world, but it’s also about stepping out of any dark place, into the sunlight… from a broken heart, into a new chapter. Anything we all sometimes need a little help and hope getting out of.” – REUNIØN

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Last but by no means least we have the sensational London based Vicky Pasion, closing off the MMM this week with her sophomore EP ‘SOUL STAR’. A born star some might say, Vicky started her career playing Young Nala in Londons West End production of The Lion King and is now a MOBO-supported artist. Filled with classic R&B ballads and finished with a pop-soul fusion twist, her vocals are simply heavenly. Including affirmation style lyricism and emotive songwriting, ‘SOUL STAR’ is not to be missed and Vicky is definitely one to watch.

“’SOUL STAR’ is my lockdown baby – a Pop/Soul sophomore project that’s proudly supported by the MOBOs. After waves of heartbreak, mental health, and unravelling childhood experiences in my debut EP, I’ve spent the past two years influenced by the chilled R&B vibes in LA, daring to come into my own and blossoming with the ups and downs of love. For this project, I’ve worked with great producers, like Adrian McLeod, Likkle Jay, Steven Bamidele, and Alan Lowe, in iconic studios like Tileyard and Abbey Road! I’m so grateful for the journey and excited to create an intimate experience for all in my live shows!”Vicky Pasion

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