Mini Melon Mix Ups: P-Lo, Idahams & Ajebo Hustlers, Witte Beer, Zinoleesky, Thesar, The Scarlet Opera, Drea Lake, Barny Fletcher, Joey Burbach, Smith & Thell, Sleeping Lion

Welcome welcome one and all to our beloved MMM, a special place to find an eclectic mix of new tunes to add to your collections. Here we curate a unique list for your ears only, so sit back, relax and enjoy!

You’ll find plenty of lingering summer heat in P-Lo’s ‘Summer Anthem’, the super fun and playful party track for dreaming of days by the pool basking under the sun. The Filipino-American rapper stands out with his distinct rhythmic style which bounces on the elastic backbeat, composed of fresh samples but with a nod to 80s old-school hip-hop. There’s no doubt that P-Lo is the life and soul of the party throughout this video with slick dance beats and a non-stop performance from the San Fran artist. ‘Summer Anthem’ is the latest track to be released in the run up to his STUNNA LP, so watch this space!

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We’re keeping the party vibes going with ‘Bad Girl’, the flawless afropop track from Idahams and the Ajebo Hustlers. With its shuffling rhythms, woody percussion and rich synths chords, this single presents a more laidback side to the dance-floor, which is perfect for intimate moments between lovers. One can’t help but we drawn in by the smooth mixture of afrobeat, R&B and hip-hop styles, particularly when it comes to the collaborators’ soulful vocals and artful rap. ‘Bad Girl’ is set to feature on Idaham’s upcoming album Truth, Love & Confessions.

When it came time for me to put my album altogether, I knew I had to connect with my brothers Ajebo Hustlers, because we share ties from our back home in Port Harcourt in Nigeria, and ‘Bad Girl’ was just the perfect song for us to work together on, thanks to Yussy on the production. The inspiration behind the song is essentially us exploring and sharing the experiences and escapades that we’ve had with the beautiful women in our lives.

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Witte Beer is the moniker of Toronto-based songwriter and producer Jeremy van Leeuwen who spent many years honing his craft making electronic music in his bedroom without ever taking that leap to release it. It was only when he combined those electro sounds with pop songwriting that his project took on a life of its own. You’ll hear this in ‘Fairlight’ with its bubblegum pop vocal melodies, synth-forward refrain and bopping energy which is reminiscent of artists like Grimes and Kim Petras.

“I spent many years working on electronic music in a bedroom and never releasing any of it as I found it unsatisfactory. Jumping into pop was freeing – even for a relatively formulaic genre. I hated the minute long intros and outros of house music, trying to create those and maintain interest was tiresome, so this transition is a welcome chance.”

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Zinoleesky is one of Nigeria’s rising stars and his recent single ‘Call of Duty’ is another in a string of catchy floor-fillers from the Lagos-based artist. As you might notice, this track takes its names from the incredibly popular PlayStation game series, which Zinoleesky uses to share his love of gaming, but he also gives the title a double-meaning in the lyrics, “Loving you be my call of duty”. With producer Niphkey on board, this track is another stunning example of the emerging afropiano subgenre, which deftly combines afrobeats and amapiano. This one really is for lovers, not fighters.

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‘Waiting’ is the pensive and atmospheric single from Indonesian songwriter and composer Thesar, who has collaborated with vocalist Natasya Elvira to complete the dreamy soundscape here. It’s such a delicate composition, made up of floating, gossamer textures that evoke the in-between moments of life where you’re waiting for whatever is meant to happen next. Not satisfied with the original production, Thesar has made this intriguing remix to further explore the bounds of his chilled-electro sound.

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‘The Place To Be’ from New York’s hotly-tipped band The Scarlet Opera is definitely one for fans of Elton John and Queen, known for their feel-good and artistically made pop anthems. It’s that kind of life-affirming energy that this new outfit brings to the single. Even the story behind this track demonstrates the “carpe diem” motivations that they’ve poured into the chunky piano chords, strutting beats, disco rhythms, blistering guitar riffs and stunning horn and violin sections. Matching the bold instrumentation there’s a mind-blowing rock and soul vocal performance that assures you that you’re in the right place.

“So a couple of months back, my friend and I were going to our favorite bar in East LA. There was a guy in the back all the way near the jukebox, and he had just cued up Chaka Khan ‘Ain’t Nobody’ and yelled out ‘I need backup dancers!’ We dropped everything we had and went up behind him and did some impromptu choreography, and it was one of the best nights of my life. I keep having those nights, so I wrote this song called ‘The Place To Be.’”

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The Canadian wilderness is something that looms large in the imagination of many who haven’t had the pleasure to visit that country’s expansive nature, but thanks to artists like Drea Lake, we’re able to experience at least one aspect of it. ‘Dreaming Peacefully’ is the soft-edged pop folk song inspired by the styles of Dodie, Paul Simon and Ani Difranco. Despite the serene outlook of Lake’s smooth vocals, there’s a tinge of sadness to this nostalgic narrative that mourns the loss of a friendship.

“I am really proud of this recording. This song came after an evening with a very old friend who I had not seen in about 20 years. She reminded me of another old friend and told me a tale about him and where his life had taken him. I was shocked by the juxtaposition of his present circumstances and my most recent and vivid memory of him: a peaceful and extremely sweet day at Canada’s Wonderland when we were both 17. I felt that if I could share this memory with him, or with anyone going through a hard time it might remind them of themselves.”

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We leave the Canadian wilderness for London’s fast-paced lifestyle thanks to the creative new single from British newcomer Barny Fletcher. Romantic declaration ‘Intergirlatic’ is an imaginative spin on 90s pop, R&B and hip-hop, although the cartoonish chaos of this track doesn’t allow us to take the singer’s intentions entirely seriously. Maybe that’s a defense mechanism to being emotionally vulnerable, after all how many of us make jokes in time of insecurity? Whatever the motivations, we’re just loving the buoyant hip-hop, dextrous alt-pop and Fletcher’s playful attitude to making music.

“I was scrolling through beats made by this producer called MBWAV. I found him on Youtube. Work is crazy good. The word intergalactic itself was one that I was desperate to use before anyone else did. I was honestly surprised that Jamiroquai Or Pharrell hadn’t taken it already. I think I wrote about six songs called intergirlactic before I came to this one. The name led the way. I always thought it sounded cool, so I knew I wanted to tie in space themes along the idea of this girl who feels totally unattainable.”

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The Chicago-based Joey Burbach is a self-described “sound maker & word writer” who has a penchant for making über-modern pop songs with an open and honest narrative. This is certainly the case for new track ‘Indifferent’ which depicts the final stage of a dying relationship when all emotions have left you feeling numb and you’re just so over it. There aren’t many songwriters who have tackled this specific feeling, or lack thereof, and so Burbach’s sugary bedroom-pop confession really does break the mold here. His passive “oh well”s are contrasted against a relaxed backbeat and subtle bass that further express just how little he has left to put into this relationship. This is minimalist pop at its best.

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Smith & Thell became known as the most active touring band in Scandinavia this past summer and all of those live performances appear throughout the new lyrics video for single ‘I Feel It In The Wind’. It’s a high-spirited folk-meets-pop anthem deeply rooted in the Swedish duo’s love for life and belief in people. The stirring melodies and sing-along lyrics are designed to lift the listener up as a generous reminder that even in the darkest of moments, there’s hope.

“The essence of our music is combining darkness and light, finding hope and meaning in the things that might seem meaningless. These are extremely difficult times, and the world is facing struggles never seen before. With this song we want to say that if there is life, there is hope. If you can see the spark on a salty cheek, you’ll find calm in the apathy. If you can hear the sound of a heart that grieves, I’ll be damned that it still believes. The winds are turning soon.”

Follow Smith & Thell on Instagram.

We’re closing out this week’s MMM round-up with the sparkling synth-pop sound of Los Angeles’ Sleeping Lion who display their talent for captivating pop hooks, lively funk-inspired rhythms and carefree guitar lines in new single ‘Hurt Nobody’. For all these light-hearted elements, the lyrics convey the song’s context of “post-breakup selfishness” where you just really let loose and perhaps make some careless decision along the way. With this single, the pop-adjacent duo Nate Flaks and Noah Longworth McGuire also announce their highly anticipated EP, Different Plans, so be sure to keep an eye out for that.

“‘Hurt Nobody’ explores post-breakup selfishness with a vibe that is almost too-energetic & funky. The lyrics over-dramatize that state of emotional carelessness as if it were a crime movie – weaving the bouncy instrumentals with cinematic elements including a fake movie quote, ‘Hollywood’ sound effects, and a honkytonk piano solo that sounds as if it were playing at the dive bar you found yourself in after an evening of bad decisions.”

Follow Sleeping Lion on Instagram.

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