In an area like South Florida, so chock-full of talented musicians, it's really hard to stick out. But Boca Raton's Mike Mineo has made a name for himself, not only with his deft songwriting skills, but more importantly, with a drive and determination we don't see too often in local artists. This dude has gigs almost every night of the week, and he's proven prolific too, putting out four ace albums in the last four years.
He's been on our radar for awhile now -- we did name him the Best Male Rock Vocalist after all. And Mineo just keeps on keeping on, impressing us again with his most recent release, Big Big Star. The record, out earlier in the month, shows a bit of a change of direction from Mineo's sunny singalongs. There are touches of Afro-pop a la Vampire Weekend (i.e. the album's title track) and you'll find songs, like opener "Lucid," tearing a page from James Blake-style acoustic guitar strums with flourishes of minimal digital accoutrements.
Overall, the album delves much more into electronic realms than any of Mineo's other works, mainly because it's the first album he's recorded using the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).
"I was able to just take my time and get creative and experiment with different production techniques," said Mineo in a recent interview with County Grind.
"The first track "Lucid" was written from a cool loop I made on my guitar pedal during a jam about a year before I started making this album. The loop was recorded in my iPhone voice memo." Despite the lo-fi recording techniques, "Lucid," is a shimmering nugget.
Mineo slows things down with smokey, reflective lounge chiller "Bello," a track which Mineo says references an acquaintance. "Bello is about a friend of mine that I grew up with who got into some substance abuse problems after going through some tragedy. The song was written pretty much directly to him." This is the albums most introspective number.
"Almost all of the songs were written on an acoustic guitar," says Mineo. He says he produced the beats and synths around acoustic strums. All in all, Big Big Star proves to be one of Mineo's most cohesive works. He has taken his self-described avant-garde pop and added a David Gray allure to his numbers.
Big Big Star is also on iTunes and Spotify.
Always on the hustle, Mineo released the video to "Big Big Star" recently. Staying in tune with his irreverent nature, Mineo stars as a relentless native of sorts (we've never seen a tribe like this in Delray Beach) who falls into the trappings of the recording industry. The video tells a tale of the perils of the fame and record contracts. It's a tongue-in-cheek tale, which gives Mineo a chance to run around in his birthday suite at the end.