Merit Maker is a (technically solo) music project launched in 2017 by Joe Stanton, that recently released its debut album “Judgment Calls.”

Joe has put all his creativity in this release, having written the structure of the songs, the bass lines and the lyrics. Later, through a collaboration with other musicians for the guitar and drum sections, he put the songs together in full.

Merit Maker // "Judgment Calls" - artwork
Merit Maker // “Judgment Calls” – artwork

Judgment Calls” is a true musical journey that makes us retrace the path that Merit Maker has walked to realize this debut album. Recorded in several studios over a period of several months before being mixed and mastered, “Judgment Calls” gives us all the energy and freshness of the creative sparkle that Merit Maker showed off during the recording process.

The music of Merit Maker emerges from the more classic punk rock genre, to run wild in all its fervor and soar in creative fusions. The delivery that comes with “Judgment Calls” is characterized by an overall sound that blends elements of a myriad of styles and sub-genres related to its punk root, such as pop punk, skate punk, hardcore punk, post-punk, post-hardcore, alternative, and emo.

The sound of “Judgment Calls” presents many easy-to-relate-to elements, as the music of Merit Maker is influenced by a variety of bands and well-known artists in the punk rock scene of the 90s and early 00s, such as The Offspring, Blink 182, and Green Day, just to name a few.

The theme of the entire album is developed around a message of positivity, which spurs us to overcome the inevitable obstacles and struggles that life presents us with, and to make good and judicious choices along the way. Hence the title “Judgment Calls.”

It’s an album that comes from a mature awareness that Joe explains in detail:

“We have all been faced with difficult decisions in the course of our lives and we often make choices that can radically change our future. There is also a nod to the straight edge culture, a culture that abstains from drug and alcohol consumption, which has been very influential in my life. Although I’m not straight edge  by the book, so to speak, on the whole I live my life free of substances and intoxication. This was not the case when I was a teenager and then a young adult. During all that time I indulged routinely, but then I found myself through the straight edge culture, that led me in a new direction, away from the use of substances and from the self-destructive culture often associated with punk rock music.”

Judgment Calls” comes out with a limited print on CD, and is available in streaming on Soundcloud [ here ] and Bandcamp [ here ].

To keep in touch with Merit Maker and find out more about this promising artist, follow him on Instagram [ here ].

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