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Owls — Two (2014)

 Owls — Two (March 25, 2014)

USA Flag                                   Owls — Two
»   Formed from the ashes of emo pioneers Cap'n Jazz, this short-lived band broke up in 2002, unexpectedly reuniting ten years later.
Formed: 2001 in Chicago, IL
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Album release: March 25, 2015
Record Label: Polyvinyl
Duration:     39:01
Tracks:
01 Four Works of Art     3:11
02 I'm Surprised     3:36
03 The Lion     2:45
04 Why Oh Why     3:36
05 This Must Be How     3:33
06 Ancient Stars Seed     4:47
07 It Collects Itself     5:42
08 I'll Never Be     3:34
09 Oh No, Don't     5:11
10 A Drop of Blood     3:06
2014 Polyvinyl Records
Personnel:
»   Tim Kinsella: Singing
»   Victor Villareal: Guitar
»   Sam Zurick: The Bass
»   Mike Kinsella: Drums
Album Moods:
Ambitious Brooding Complex Confrontational Declamatory Enigmatic Hyper Intense Powerful Quirky Self-Conscious Tense/Anxious Theatrical Triumphant Tuneful Turbulent Wry
Themes: Breakup Conflict Everyday Life Reunion Revolutionary Starting Out Tragedy Word Play
Review by Fred ThomasScore: ****
»   In 2001, a good seven years after the dissolution of teenage emo/artsy hardcore group Cap’n Jazz, most of its members regrouped as a far different beast called Owls. »   While Cap’n Jazz unknowingly pioneered the entire emo genre with their screamy, melodic urgency, Owls’ self-titled debut was a darker, more angular affair, composed of bottle-rocket drumming, epic technical guitar runs, and increasingly cracked lyrical wordplay from singer/ lyricist Tim Kinsella, who had been confounding listeners with his polarizing and experimental work in Joan of Arc around the time Owls took off. An incredible, well-received debut album and scant amounts of touring took place before the band imploded, breaking up just a year after it began. Now, 13 years after the group’s debut album, the appropriately titled Two has materialized as if no time had passed at all. From the beginning drone of “Four Works of Art,” Owls have the same strange lurch that popped up on their years-old debut, as well as the same mathy sense of melodicism on tracks like “I’m Surprised.” Guitarist Victor Villarreal’s airy, serpentine guitar lines wind around every track in strange time signatures, providing counterpoints to Sam Zurick’s rock-steady basslines and Mike Kinsella’s explosive yet precise drumming. Always dead center is Tim Kinsella, whose abstract lyrical approach is the equivalent to the band’s complex musical push, painting surreal images of everything from observations on getting older to psychedelic portrayals of hornets and honeybees. “Ancient Stars Seed” is an enormous highlight, seeing all of the band’s strengths elevated to a level of complete focus, the strange structures, the doomy rock undercurrents, the incredible tension of the group’s dynamic playing, and Tim Kinsella’s mad-genius lyrics peppering the song with insights as oddly brilliant as he’s always had. »   Though they took over a decade to follow up their first album, Two still sounds like a band a decade ahead of its time.
TIM KINSELLA
Born: October 22, 1974
»   Chicago singer, wordsmith, author, and constantly challenging musician has been a founding member of influential acts like Cap'n Jazz and Joan of Arc.
Artist Biography by Daphne Carr
»   Tim Kinsella burst onto the Chicago scene while still in his teens with his scream punk band Cap'n Jazz. The collective snottiness and rage of this band can be heard on Analphabetapolothology, a compilation of the band's entire recorded history featuring two cherished covers, one of a-ha's "Take on Me" and the second of "90210." The band broke up in 1994 when Kinsella was only 20 years old and had recently earned his degree in English literature. Two bands formed of the split, the pop-punk Promise Ring and Kinsella's art-noise-emo band Joan of Arc. Integral to JoA is Kinsella's cranky, scratched-up voice and tendency for absurd lyrics, perverse song changes, and punk experimental sensibilities. A Portable Model Of (1997) and How Memory Works (1998) framed his obscurity in the overwrought intensity of emo, a movement whose nickname was an instant turn-off and which Joan of Arc came to symbolize as part of Jade Tree Records.
»   The strangely titled Live in Chicago 1999 was produced by Casey Rice and emphasizes emphasizes growing dissatisfaction with the trappings of rock & roll. The tape-spliced bits that made Joan of Arc's first two albums interesting rock records now became the predominant melodic device of the music. The album art used illustrations based on Jean-Luc Godard's Weekend and featured such infamous lines as "We all know monogamy's just a function of capitalism."
»   The Gap saw Kinsella's once-loyal audience moving away from his increasingly obtuse song structures and live performances. Band members dropped out of the recording process, leaving Kinsella to create the songs as more or less his own studio project. Although Kinsella never formally announced the breakup of Joan of Arc, the band ceased to play just after the release of How Can Anything So Little Be Any More?
»   Kinsella began work on a solo EP for Troubleman Records and decided that this project would coincide with his name change from Kinsella to Kinsellas. The move was seen by the press as another verbal annoyance the artist began early in the Gap tour when he refused to give interviews. Instead, he would interview the journalist. The EP's title, He Sang His Didn't He Danced His Did, is lifted from e.e. cummings and features brutally out-of-tune acoustic ballads, a Jacques Brel cover, and four songs reworked from Live in Chicago 1999, and How Memory Works.
»   Kinsella has also lent his strange stylings and unique voice to other projects, including various interchanges of members of an insular scene of Chicago musicians to make up acts like Owls, Make Believe, Friend/Enemy and Everyoned. As a solo artist, Kinsella followed his Troubleman EP with 2005's Crucifix/Swastika and 2009's Field Recordings of Dreams. The 2010's brought the release of Kinsella's first novel, 2011's The Karaoke Singer's Guide to Self-Defense. In 2013, Tim Kinsella sings the songs of Marvin Tate by LeRoy Bach featuring Angel Olsen arrived, a highly conceptual album featuring Kinsella as the narrator of Tate's dark poems in song form.
Albums:
»   Unsafe At Any Speed CD (released on Actionboy/Divot Records)
With Everyoned:
»   Everyoned CD (released on Brilliante Records)
With Joan of Arc:
Albums:
»   A Portable Model Of... (1997)
»   How Memory Works (1998)
»   Live in Chicago, 1999 (1999)
»   The Gap (2000)
»   So Much Staying Alive and Lovelessness (2003)
»   In Rape Fantasy and Terror Sex We Trust (2003)
»   Live in Muenster, 2003 (2004)
»   Joan of Arc, Dick Cheney, Mark Twain (2004)
»   Presents Guitar Duets (2005)
»   The Intelligent Design Of... (2006)
»   Eventually, All at Once (2006)
»   Orchard Vale (2007)
»   Boo! Human (2008)
»   Flowers (2009)
»   Presents Don't Mind Control (2010)
»   Oh Brother (2011)
»   Presents The Joan of Arc Lightbox Orchestra Conducted by Fred Lonberg-Holm (2011)
»   Life Like (2011)
»   Presents Joan of Arc (2012)
»   Presents Pine Cone (2012)
»   Joan of Arc (2012)
»   Testimonium Songs (2013)
EPs:
»   How Can Any Thing So Little Be Any More? (2001)
»   Many Times I've Mistaken (2007)
7"/Singles/Splits:
»   Method And Sentiment 7" (1996)
»   Busy Bus/Sunny Sun 7" (1997)
»   Rabbit Rabbit Split 7" (2003)
»   Bundini Brown Split 12" (2004)
»   My Summer-Long High Wipeout 7" (2008)
»   Meaningful Work 7" (2010)
Website:  http://owlschicago.com
Jade Tree: http://www.jadetree.com/bands/artist/owls
Joan of Arc: http://www.joanfrc.com/owls.html
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/owlsbandchicago
Press: Daniel Gill (Force Field PR) daniel@forcefieldpr.com
Agent: US: justinbridgewater@theagencygroup.com EUR: tomtaaffe@theagencygroup.com
Gen. director: Chase Igliorichase.igliori@gmail.com
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Owls — Two (2014)

 

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