Jesus Ayala Jr. - Self-Titled Debut

OregaRockers! What’s up? Happy Holiday weekend! Are you ready to read the fruits of my Labor Day!? Well let me drop a hint, it’s about a release from a mid west USA artist who is singing his heart out and laying the hooks down like Ed Sheeran on a fishing boat. Jesus Ayala Jr. from Chicago, Illinois has just recently dropped his debut solo EP and it is an alternative emo Brit-rock mish-mosh of gratitude, attitude, and chart topping latitude! It powerfully boasts 4 smash hit songs that cover uniquely different, yet fully complimentary topics for a well-rounded playlist, and is proudly named “Self-Titled Debut.” So grab your headphones, sink into the couch with some green tea, and let’s open up our hearts and minds to Jesus!

We lose our shoes and kick things off with “Michael“ - a driving guitar ballad about love and passion. The tune initiates with a time-keeping, chord stabbing guitar effect that directs the rhythm of the groove and creates a sense of curiosity. Jesus begins softly crooning after the first strum, and eases into the story of the lyrics. Shortly after, the drums and bass make their introduction, sweetly hitting the ones and two's in the pocket and keeping your heart strapped down in a locket. But grab your chair, and hold your hair, because we’re about to be flipped over the mountain. The chorus slams in with a widely reverberant vocal cry like a harmonious wolf on a mountain top, over a fat rhythm section featuring an underlying guitar melody that lifts the hairs on your arm and fills your soul like chicken parm! This effective structure of back and forth continues through the rest of the song and creates a pleasant whirlwind of emotions.

And by “Chance,” we hit the next number! An eery change of pace from the first track, this one brings the tension to the gate from the get-go. The guitar anchors the rhythm in with forceful, forward thrusting strums, while Jesus delivers his first story account of trials and tribulations. Pair this over a solid rhythm section with a straight kick/bass pattern under steady ticking hi hats, and you’ve got yourself the “Chance” of a lifetime! The sonic scenery here creates a vision of tension that further enhances the cutting vocal performance. And although the pre-chorus rolls into a new chord pattern, it still keeps the ominous mood by featuring a moving bass line that coalesces with the lyrical message like warm bread and cool butter. But grab your napkins and finish your meal… because the end is near and dinner’s about to be cut short!

Call it coincidence or call it craft, but the following track, “Principals & Their Girls” rocks like a boss (no pun intended) and totally flosses the sauce at the BBQ. The soft drum set intro is astutely placed as a soothing transition from the previous song’s tension into the bad ass attitude of this sweet ass atti-tune. The guitars are crunchy with gripping energy, the bass is warm and thick to complement the punch of the drums, and the vocals deliver a sarcastically fictional story with a smokey tone to seal it. Here, we can observe again one of Jesus’ trademark guitar styles - time keeping. As we heard in the rest of the EP thus far, he injects the tempo and rhythm into your soul with clever melodies and tactile strumming. I also give the #OregaStamp of approval for the tasty rock sockin’ riff right before the chorus. This sweet lick swells in like a strong moving protest that gets you amped up and ready to speak your mind! When Jesus yells “I’m the principal!” you can feel the adrenaline kick through your veins like a shot of Jolt cola giving you the desire to grab someone’s shoulders and scream at them while jumping around rigorously! What fun! And you can’t have a rock song without a gut busting guitar solo, right? Fear not Oregafam, when you trust in Jesus, he delivers a righteous melody with the perfect amount of fresh and crispy like a chicken salad sandwich done right! Mmm delicious! Now who’s ready for recess?!...

Finally, the release closes out with “Been” and let me tell you, jamming it has definitely been a trip! Right at the front of the mix, straight from the intro, we feel the Jesus-a-groove with the rhythmically indicative guitar strums! An important mention here is how the chorus opens wide up with a rockin' ride rhythm, a lead guitar melody that cuts through your soul like a red hot machete, and a catchy vocal hook that sends you soaring over the clouds. When we reach this section, it’s like cruising a night time highway of melting streetlights up above you in a luscious top down convertible. The emotion totally steals the feels too, especially with the face melting guitar solo towards the end of the second chorus that shakes your face and sends shivers to your shoes. What a great way to end not only this song, but the playlist as a whole.

Overall, this EP is a blast from the past curated into a modern delivery that I believe will sit pretty with the current rock scene. Throw this playlist on repeat for a quiet Friday night on the couch, or blast it in your car on I95 while chugging a soda…! It packs a punch with a little something for every mood. I am excited for what we can expect in the future from this artist, and I pray to Jesus that he will keep rocking!

Hear “Self-Titled Debut" and more from Jesus Ayala Jr. at the following links:




And visit his social pages:





-Mike Oregano 🌿
Oregano Entertainment Network, Oregano Records


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