Tuesday, July 31, 2012

LJ Mulls - "Treat Yourself Like Gold" EP

LJ Mulls is the recording moniker of singer-songwriter Joseph Mueller who hails from Western North Carolina.  His debut EP Treat Yourself Like Gold was self released as a digital download on his Bandcamp page this past June and is also available on CD as well.  LJ Mulls sings and plays the ukulele, guitar, banjo and bells and was assisted by upright bassist Zack Page, pianist Brian Turner and drummer Kent Spillmann on the four songs of uplifting ukulele-inspired indie pop that make up the EP.  It was co-produced by Mueller and fellow North Carolina songwriter and producer Andrew Schatzberg of the dream rock band Worldline.      
The EP opens with the forward-thinking “If Seeing Is Believing” which features steady ukulele strumming and a swaying rhythm made up of a shuffling drum beat and finger snaps along with a booming, bouncing upright bass line for a perfect introduction to LJ Mull’s laid back beach-blanket sound.  Lyrically, the song is an inspiring statement about his willingness to finally work up the courage to step out into the public and play his songs for others after spending two years developing his sound…and it is a good thing for us that he did!  The piano-led “As We Sit Back To Back” follows and floats along with an easy going, Jack Johnson-like vibe while also conjuring images of 70’s singer-songwriter fair with warm and earnest James Taylor-like vocal melodies.  The title track, “Treat Yourself Like Gold” stands out with a reggae-inspired rhythm and LJ’s silky smooth and southern-tinged voice as well as some carefree, toes-in-the-sand melodies and well placed Glockenspiel notes.  By now you may have noticed that a lyrical theme has developed throughout the EP as he makes a point to focus on the positive with hopes to inspire the same mindset in his listeners.  And just as you are getting in the groove, the too short EP (four songs clock in at just over thirteen and a half minutes) closes out with the nostalgia-laced “Merry Heart Lane” which is LJ’s fictional “happy place”, where he goes to daydream and find inspiration for his songs.  In fact, “LJ Mulls”, the moniker that Joe Mueller has adopted stands for “Little Joe Wonders” which is a fitting representation as he readily admits that he is often given over to a child-like wonder as he ponders life in the present, past and future.  And actually, this sense of wonder helped him discover the musician inside him as he finally at age 24 taught himself to play the ukulele with help from some Youtube videos, after always wanting to play an instrument as a child but never giving it the proper practice time to learn.       
After listening to the Treat Yourself Like Gold EP by LJ Mulls, you will surely find yourself in your own “happy place” and with your finger firmly planted on the repeat button.   His promising debut should give the humble songwriter all of the fuel he needs to write and record his anticipated first full length album.         

Stream/Buy Treat Yourself Like Gold EP here: http://ljmulls.bandcamp.com/

For more info: http://www.facebook.com/pages/LJ-Mulls/170258369670375 and www.reverbnation.com/ljmulls


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