Here’s the scene… you’re walking down the sidewalk, rows of tall palm trees gently swaying in the warm salty breeze coming from the ocean just on the other side of the sandy beach. The sun is shining and you’ve got a smile on your face that has pre-paid to be there and isn’t leaving anytime soon. The tunes are cranked loud and as one song comes to an end, a new one flows through your earbuds and into your soul, pouring good-mood all over your day. A quick check of your phone reveals the name responsible for this uplifting jam… Seawall Prophet.
Aaron Markland, USAF veteran and retired Albuquerque firefighter from San Diego, CA, is hardly a stranger to the music industry — with five full length albums under his belt, I can imagine he knows his way around a studio. Recently signing with Pacific Records, Markland started recording under the name ‘Seawall Prophet’ and on December 9th, 2022, released the band’s debut EP, Off the Ledge. The album was laid down at Pacific Records HQ in San Diego and produced by Patricio Pickslay using a handful of song ideas Aaron has held onto from previous years, taking around six months to complete.
I can appreciate music with a genuinely good message that possesses the power to change a mood for the better every time it’s heard and we all know the world could use a good dose of that right now. Markland seems to have accepted that very mission by creating the wonderfully positive, five-song playlist with a vibe that’s perfect for deflecting any bad moods that may cross your path. “This album had a lot of influences,” Aaron explained, “but the most being Bob Marley, Sublime, and Slightly Stoopid.
The concept was to blend several musical styles together, such as reggae, funk, pop, and jazz, to create a unique style of beach rock in line with the Pacific Records lifestyle.”
The collection kicks things off with a cut titled “Hundred Dollar Boulevard”; after a few seconds of soothing acoustic guitar strumming, the EP’s single jumps right in with a bouncy beat and the first set of lyrics that seem to hold a certain theme throughout the album. The tune is an anthem for those who just can’t be broken or for those that decide that today is NOT the day that will get the best of them. A couple skips ahead and you’ve reached the groovy title track, “Off the Ledge”. This high-energy jam might just get you out of your seat and on the dance floor! Lyrically, this one has everything you need to stop looking down and see the brighter day in front of you, and I have to say, this track could easily be my favorite.
Bluesy licks, jazzy riffs, and a brass-laden chorus sets the stage for a guitar solo that will shred any signs of negativity that still may exist.
There’s still more to explore, so do yourself a favor and give the album a stream — you may just end up with some new music in your playlist, like I did!
Markland describes his music as a generous mixture of beach rock, cali-pop, funk, punk, reggae, soul, blues, and acoustic roots. Joining him onstage is AJ Price with bass and vocals, Chris Price on the guitar, and Big Steve Cunningham on drums.
When asked if he had any special thanks to send out upon the completion of the project, Aaron responded, “I would like to thank Patricio Pickslay, Brian Witkin, and the whole Pacific Records family for choosing to work with me. I’d like to thank my parents, wife, and all my family and friends for diligently coming out to live shows and for always supporting my music. I’d like to thank AJ Price, Chris Price, and Big Steve Cunningham for their creative input and for the hours of rehearsal time. Lastly, I’d like to thank Jeremy Morgan and Top Shelf Music for the write-up!”
Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.