Record label, Polyvinyl recently re-released the back catalog of one of my favorite artists—Owen. Owen is the solo project of Mike Kinsella, key member of such seminal bands as Cap’n Jazz, Joan of Arc, and American Football, all of whom rank among my favorite bands of all time.
So one could imagine my excitement when my dear, kind wife + partner, Katie, gave me the limited-edition vinyl of some of Owen’s early releases.
Owen’s sound has ranged over the years from sparse, contemporary singer/song-writer folk to more rocking music that harkens back to his work in early emo bands, but the common threads that run through all of Kinsella’s songs and draw me in are his intimate vocal tone, his intricate guitar work, and his introspective lyrics. The emotional and tonal sensitivity that Kinsella exhibits paired with the harsh reality of his lyrics or more driving drums or electric guitars creates a beautiful juxtaposition that reveals a fragility in Kinsella’s own life that any of us could identify with. After more than twenty years of making music, Kinsella remains one of my most highly-held creative forces in the world of music.
You can order the limited edition vinyl—each of which come with a one-time MP3 download—from Polyvinyl. Listen to his more recent work on Kinsella’s site, where you can stream his 2011 album, Ghost Town. Polyvinyl also allows for streams of his albums in its store.
In the meantime, enjoy my personal favorite song from my favorite album—”Bag of Bones” from his 2006 album, At Home with Owen.
Below, marbled yellow vinyl of his 2001 debut solo album, Owen; translucent gold vinyl of his 2002 follow-up, No Good for No One; white vinyl of 2004’s I Do Perceive; translucent blue vinyl of At Home with Owen; and clear vinyl of his beautifully designed Seaside EP.