Chunk of Space Funk
The Funk is strong in this one. Greek-born musician and producer Niko Lyras culminates soul, rock, jazz and funk into this 10-track album. Harmonic guitar-centric melodies illuminate, while deep bass tones fuel the groove. Lyras’ riffs sing throughout this mostly instrumental album. The melodies and structures serve as a narration while the rhythm serves as a complementing soundtrack to a long day’s journey. The soul and speed of Lyras’ musicianship is a product of the precision and structure that only comes with the decades of experience it takes to master your craft to this caliber. Lyras fuses jazz licks; distorted tones; Latin elements; a powerhouse rhythm, funky atmospheres and soul to create this unique fusion of genres. From opening with the track “Snake Oil” to finishing with “Come Out Swinging,” this is an album that will keep you on the edge of your seat, wondering what you just lost yourself in and constantly listening for elements you missed before.
Key Tracks: Snake Oil, Like Me & Her World
Star & Micey
Get ‘Em Next Time
Star & Micey’s debut; full-length album as a quartet reiterates some of the group’s most popular tracks, as well as introducing some new tunes to their roster. The Memphis natives once again construct an eccentric soul-driven folk-pop release. A strong rhythm fuels the group's groove, while lead singers Joshua Cosby and Nick Redmond’s lyrics and contrasting, yet complimenting, voices sing lullabies of love and heartbreak. Four-part harmonies, added with vintage riffs create an atmosphere that is the unique embodiment of the Memphis soul with the twang of the South. Tracks like “I Love You” and “So Much Pain” displays Cosby’s impressive, pop-driven vocal range, contrasting against the darker tracks like “Lucky,” a borderline ballad with Redmond taking lead. The music is accessible, the lyrics have depth, and the talent is obvious. The only problem is no album can capture the energy, emotion, and bond that Star & Micey embodies on stage.
Key Tracks: #1, So Much Pain & Lucky
Lightnin’ Malcolm’s “Foot Soldier” takes the listener musical journey, starting on to a deserted Mississippi road in the middle of the night. A Bluesman equipped with howling vocals and a screaming guitar, backed by a simple, yet powerful, rhythm section. Power and pain resonate like the echo of the stomping of bleachers throughout the album. Malcolm takes seemingly familiar licks you’ve heard on porches across the hills and Delta, and infuses them with rock elements, twisting and turning styles and tones to create a sound that only speaks for him. He harmonizes riffs with his vocal melody, creating a unique and eerie character to the sound, displayed in “Tree and Don’t Bitch”. Malcolm doesn’t sing songs, he weaves them like a story in tracks like “Treat That Woman Right”, which shows off a bit of Malcolm’s vocal prowess.
Key Tracks: Tree, Treat that Woman Right & Good Boy
Three new local must-listen albums for a perfect summer soundtrack
Story by Samuel Prager