At the start of 17 Memphis' "Leather & Levi's," a mandolin cycles gracefully through a delicate, pretty riff. You know where you are -- an intro like this almost guarantees that you are listening to a country song. But then the bassline oozes in, juicy and programmed, pushing the track far from Nashville tropes.
So it goes with the impressive second single from 17 Memphis, the duo of pop producer Felix Snow (Kiiara, Terror Jr.) and Chelsea Todd, which is premiering today on Billboard. The lyrics, full of Corona, weathered denim, and southern skies, along with the male/female harmonies -- husky from Snow, weightless from Todd -- are straight from the country playbook. But the production, riddled with darting, rat-a-tat drum programming, leans toward the cutting edge of pop and hip-hop, as if Lady Antebellum set up shop in an Atlanta rap studio for a week.