Based in Gainesville, FL, Mike Llerena is a singer/songwriter who mixes a rich blend of classic rock, Americana, folk, and punk into his sound. His musical style is transparent with influences from the local punk scene, which produced such acts like Against Me!, Hot Water Music, and Less Than Jake. His personalized storytelling and introspective lyrics emerge from his perspective at an early age. He began playing music as a teen, singing and playing guitar along to songs he was already familiar with, including his favorites. He eventually picked up on the songwriting process, started writing lyrics, and learned how to play other instruments.
Known around Gainesville for his live act, Llerena began playing in the area starting in 2011, releasing his debut EP Gold Gone Black in 2014. His second EP, Letter of Resignation, released in 2014, led him to open for Anthony Raneri (Bayside) and playing at The Fest (Gainesville’s annual punk rock festival). On his third EP, Absence & The Heart, Llerena works with his father to create the new EP design and layout. The new EP is recorded at Z-Chord Studios in Gainesville and was produced by Llerena and longtime co-producer/engineer Jared Pennock.
“On the Way Home” and “End of the Line” are filled with the fiery punk spirit in the manner of Green Day. With an overall amped sound, the pumped up music dissembles with hyped drumming and reverberating guitars. Llerena spews out the lyrics in an energized fashion surrounded by the cascade of punk and folk styles.
The EP slows down with “Rosanna,” an Americana track with a pop vibe. The unique sounds are filled with a dreamy and hazy indie-rock feel.
On “Dear Lonely” the song starts out with the cozy sounds of acoustic guitar paired simply with Llerena’s vocals. The bare arrangement makes for some magnetic vibrations as Llerena moves on from the acoustic ballad into the reworking of some radioactive guitars in “Lady Rock& Roll”. The track is light-hearted and has a fun-loving vibe filled with an upbeat and catchy cadence.
Absence & The Heart is Llerena’s latest endeavor to be permeated with the punk spirit. In the essence of Green Day and Bruce Springsteen, the classic vibe and modern takes melds together into a unique sound that is distinctly what Llerena has honed as a solo artist. A generous and thoughtful foray into the punk and folk genres, Llerena’s EP, Absense& The Heart will be out Feb. 17th. 7.8/10