By Dan MacIntosh Joe Kuhl’s music has been described as John Lennon-meets-Radiohead, and it’s easy to hear these two influences over Bottom Feeders. While the downer lyrical approach of its title track brings Radiohead’s musical manic depression to mind, Kuhl’s vocal is nearly a dead ringer for John Lennon. Bottom Feeders is nearly a do-it-yourself project. Kuhl wrote and performed it, produced it, and engineered it. He had additional engineering assistance from John Machado, who also adds guitar to "X-Ray" and "Too Good for You." Andrew Destefano plays acoustic drums on every track, whereas Erik Dodenhoff contributes theremin to "Life on Earth" and "Your Garden." Besides the Lennon vocal inflections, there isn’t a whole lot on this disc that will remind you of The Beatles – especially their more happy-go-lucky early days. Nevertheless, "Life on Earth," despite its usually creepy theremin, is a jaunty little number. Of course, it’s not particularly happy. But it is at least light on its feet rhythmically. But more often than not, songs like the mid-tempo track "First Time" bring Lennon’s solo years to mind. Although much of this disc is electrified, particularly the angry "Too Good for You" and "Blueish Green," "Air Around" breaks nicely from that loud pattern. This is due to its multi-tracked vocals and prominent acoustic guitar. "Your Garden" also smartly utilizes acoustic guitar. Its lyric examines the fruit of a life; one where this individual cannot see their own accomplishments. "Rise up from your garden, push away the stones, rise up from your garden, see what you have grown." If there are themes running through Bottom Feeders, facing aging is certainly one. During "Worry About ... ," Kuhl asks, "Are you feeling older?" And like "Your Garden," it’s a song of encouragement. In this case, Kuhl is worried about this person, although he’s not quite sure why. Joe Kuhl has clearly soaked up the best parts of 60s rock. For example, "Blueish Green" (his spelling, not mine) hearkens back to what we all love about garage rock. But Kuhl borrows these elements to spice up his personalized songs, rather than trying to go back to that era in some kind of a musical time machine. And that’s what makes Bottom Feeders so doggone cool.
|First Time Instrumental||Listen||License||Buy|
|Life on Earth Instrumental||Listen||License||Buy|
|Life on Earth||Listen||License||Buy|
|Worry About Instrumental||Listen||License||Buy|
|Your Garden Instrumental||Listen||License||Buy|