owen – “settled down”

owen shervin lainez
photo courtesy of shervin lainez

the first single from owen’s upcoming album, the king of whys, is certifiably bucolic.  “lost” is firmly grounded in mike kinsella’s voice and the subtle, rhythmic strums of his acoustic guitar, with lilting pedal steel phrases peppered in for supplemental texture.  it’s a logical outcome when kinsella’s minimal confessionals get paired with arrangements played by a lauded collective of eau claire session musicians; quite frankly, an entire album’s worth of material like this would be more than welcomed.

“settled down” isn’t exactly the antithesis of its predecessor, but it is maximal in comparison.  a polyrhythmic drum beat, reminiscent of kinsella’s work behind the kit in their/they’re/there, anchors the track, with steadily-arpeggiated chords weaving through a fuzzed-out foundation to create a series of sweeping passages.  the sparse interludes that do occur feel that much more impactful as a result; indeed, the coda is a particularly arrest respite from the dissonance that threatens to bleed through prior to its arrival.  a listless song with natural disaster as a central metaphor shouldn’t be this beautiful.

the king of whys arrives july 29th via polyvinyl records.  listen to “settled down” below.

owen – “lost”

owen shervin lainez
photo courtesy of shervin lainez

owen is sonically a far cry from mike kinsella’s work in seminal chicago outfits like american football and joan of arc, yet its sparseness and vulnerability still nestles in close to the rest of his output’s affecting tendencies.  for his latest solo effort, the king of whys, due out july 29th via polyvinyl records, kinsella decamped to justin vernon’s april base studio to record with sean carey and a host of eau claire’s finest session musicians.  the more collaborative nature of these sessions shows on lead single “lost,” with kinsella’s soft acoustic guitar strums bolstered by pedal steel swells and tasteful orchestral pads.  it’s a gentle offering, swaying peacefully in the summer’s breeze.  take a listen to “lost” below.