The Latest OWEN CD:

Ghost Town
Polyvinyl Records, 2011
Reviewed by Kent Manthie

The new CD by Chicago’s Owen, Ghost Town will prove to people that Mike Kinsella is a great talent that deserves a bigger audience. He’s a talented multi-instrumentalist; an especially gifted guitar player and drummer, witty, satirical and with a great sense of humor. He deserves your attention!But it doesn’t just end there. He’s a busy man; even more so these days as he is a relatively new father.For instance, 2004’s I Do Perceive and its 2006 follow-up, At Home With Owen were unforgettable collections of bliss, especially the former, I Do Perceive, which is still my favorite Owen album. It’s like those two albums were talking to a (fictional) amanuensis, an antagonist to his laconic protagonist. Whereas on his first two CDs (Owen and No Good For No One Now) he seems to be singing about more personal issues, things that weren’t outwardly directed, but more introspective and self-absorbing.

Well, that was 2006, the year that At Home With Owen was released. It turned out that it would be another three years before his next album, New Leaves surfaced. In the meantime Mike kept himself busy, he played on a few songs on his brother’s band’s CDs – Boo! Human and Flowers.

So now it’s November, 2011, Ghost Town has just hit shelves and “cyber-shelves”, to coin an idiom and I must tell you, I have been rejuvenated by its hipness, its sardonic lyrics, the catchy acoustic and electric guitar mix and its all-around laconic wry wit. From the opening cut, “Too Many Moons” to his paean to his new daughter, “O’ Evelyn” to the mesmerizing “I Believe”, “The Armoire” all the way to the closing tune, “Everyone’s Asleep in the House But Me”, it is a real awakening, a refreshing new album and, being a big fan myself, it feels like I have a brand new album that is just for me.

I’d personally recommend No Good for No One Now, I Do Perceive and At Home With Owen as starters for people new to Owen’s music.

Anyway, I hope you will listen and learn and then start inundating Mike Kinsella with love messages – he’s on Facebook and MySpace, so he’ll respond and if we, on the West Coast give him enough love, he may just finally come out here to play some gigs – especially in San Diego and Los Angeles (I’m sure that he’d be loved in San Francisco as well), but since I am stuck in San Diego for now, I really hope he comes out here and plays a gig at one of the several decent clubs, because I will definitely be there, up front, taking pictures and writing about it! -KM

Polyvinyl Record Co.


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