Posted January 10, 2023 by Mike Mineo in Albums & EPs

Josh Martin – ‘Notes from the American Rat Race’

Notes from the American Rat Race is a stirring new album from Josh Martin, an artist based in Colorado Springs. Recorded in a tiny shed converted to a recording studio, the release casts a startling sense of grandiose captivation nonetheless in its atmospheric meshing of folk and quaint pop.

Thematically, the release draws from Martin’s experiences in the day-to-day grind. “My time working in the rat race of America has taught me how stale and tasteless life can get,” he says. “However, that feeling proved a fertile field for creativity. Nature abhors a vacuum.”

Various stylistic showings impress throughout the album, from the ambient spaciousness of “Bonzai Garden” to the twangy folk-rock of “Bask in the Riddle.” The former opens up the album with devastating entrancement, especially rounding the two-minute mark — when the vulnerable vocals, twangy guitars, and gentle pianos converge for a replay-inducing allure.

Another standout, “Seeds” plays with poignant resonance, capturing the beauty of new growth and hopeful inspiration following ample tumult. The title-referencing chorus plays with an amiably melodic charm, with the dual vocal layers exuding a graceful sense of calmness and hope. Josh Martin’s Notes from the American Rat Race is abundant with showings of quality songwriting like these.

Stream the album:

“Back in the Riddle” and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of January 2023’ Spotify playlist.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine. Send your music to [email protected].