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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Polyvinyl Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
There is really no mistaking a Kinsella. Whether it be Tim and his ridiculous yelping in bands like Cap N' Jazz, Joan of Arc, and most recently the Owls, or brother Mike's multi-instrumental prowess in all of the aforementioned bands, plus the gorgeous American Football, you know it when you hear it. As Tim is content reliving his glory days with the Owls, Mike has crafted an albums worth of acoustic lullaby's in the shape of Owen, a project combining the prettier moments of Joan of Arc, as well as furthering the beautiful song-craft hinted at in American Football.

Anyone who has kept up with the brother's output in the last 10 years will dually note that the "Kinsella-curse" is surely in place as the album softly begins. The "Kinsella-curse" comes in the form of three basic parts. Part one is the finger picked acoustic meanderings that make up a huge portion of the later Joan of Arc material. Part two comes in the form of melody, as both Kinsellas usually pick one vocal melody and write an entire album's worth of songs based around it. Part three, of course, comes courtesy of word play, as every Kinsella loves to have fun with the English language (track two is called "Most Days And," as track three is titled "Most Nights" how clever).

Despite the over-all Kinsella-ness of the Owen project, the production and arrangements of these 9 tracks do prove to be quite impressive. The subtle and still creative percussion manipulation on songs such as "Dead Men Don't Lie" bring an ear-catching element to Kinsella's warm and fuzzy folk. The playing itself is of very high quality (especially during the jangley and Ida-like album closer, "Think About It"), with Kinsella playing all the instruments by himself, as well as recording and mixing the record on his own. The lack of drumming, however, could disappoint fans of Kinsella's confident playing featured more in Owls or Joan of Arc. The percussion featured, however, does a fine job of not out playing the more simplistic song structures, and melds very nicely in the background of the record (interesting, because Kinsella is an exceptional drummer).

Some may pass Owen off as a lighter version of American Football, but where that band (which Kinsella played guitar and sang as well), infused their arpeggiated emo-jazz with rhythmic pot-holes, this project chooses rather to drive slow and steady down the more freshly paved road of well crafted folky-pop.

Reviewed by Ryan Allen
A former staff writer with fabulous hair, Ryan Allen once fronted Red Shirt Brigade with his brother, Scott. He currently fronts the art/fashion punk band Thunderbirds Are Now!, with is brother, Scott.

See other reviews by Ryan Allen



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