Even the best debut album can only show off so much of what an artist has to offer. So what happens when an artist puts out two debut albums? Justin Mazer answers that very question with his simultaneous release of Controlled Burn and Discourse. Each album delivers a vastly different experience while managing to set up Mazer’s solo debut nicely as a packaged pair.

Mazer has already been heavily involved in the Philly scene as a guitarist for Pat Finnerty & The Full Band, The Tom Petty Appreciation Band, and several other acts over the last decade. He doesn’t really need an introduction, and yet this double debut gives insight into Mazer’s solo vision in a way that we’ve never seen before.

As Mazer explains in a press release, both albums were produced over winter 2021 in collaboration with Marc Friedman, who also provided bass on several of the songs. Mazer also explains a bit more about the nature of the albums.

“These are not ‘companion’ albums, but rather distant cousins at best…recorded at different times in a variety of ways in two very different head spaces. For now, I am calling this stuff ‘lo-fi instrumental concept rock.’ Songs can be enjoyed individually but listening straight through either album from front to back is encouraged for the most optimal experience.”

If the two albums are “lo-fi instrumental concept rock” then Controlled Burn definitely sits more on the rock and of the spectrum while Discourse sits more on the concept end of things. Discourse is a much airier album, but also feels more tense. Controlled Burn, on the other hand, feels much more grounded and is overall more laid-back.

You can listen to both albums below, or head over to Bandcamp or Spotify to listen instead.