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Owen is Mike Kinsella, who has been known for his important role in some of Chicago's most revered bands: Cap'n Jazz, Joan of Arc, Owls, and American Football. All of the projects with the exception of American Football were bands in which Kinsella played with his older brother, Tim, a well-known Chicago musician in his own right. In the projects in which the Kinsella brothers played together, Mike was relegated to the role of drums while his brother handled guitar work. American Football marked a turning point for Mike, as he was finally able to allow his guitar-playing abilities to show, and the band quickly became an indie darling, respected in their own right and seen by many as the best project either Kinsella had played a role in. Although releasing only one proper full-length, American Football made an impressive mark on many indie fans' hearts and souls, and showed the indie world that Mike Kinsella was as good a songwriter and guitarist as he was a drummer. There is no doubt that Owen picks up where American Football left off both musically and lyrically.
After having opened up for Rainer Maria on tour, Kinsella returned home from his time on the road with an album's worth of material. With tales of lost love and heartbreak, and utilizing his home studio and an acoustic guitar, Kinsella started recording songs and in 2001 released his self-titled debut on Polyvinyl Records. Well-received by critics and fans alike, the younger Kinsella returned with his sophomore release for Polyvinyl in 2002, entitled No Good for No One Now, a collection of seven songs that combine the intricate beauty of his self-titled debut with more stinging indictments of broken hearts and broken souls that only a Kinsella could fashion. Two EPs followed in mid-2004, the aptly titled The EP and a split with the Rutabega, entitled Near and Far, Vol. 1, before the third Owen full-length, I Do Perceive, appeared that November. At Home with Owen surfaced two years later, and dates with Copeland and the Appleseed Cast were played in support. In 2009, Owen reflected on marriage and family with New Leaves, and introduced strings to his musical mix for Ghost Town two years later. 2013 saw the release of the seventh proper Owen album L'Ami du Peuple, with Kinsella exploring fatherhood, aging, loss, and beauty in his own now well-defined style. Late 2014 saw the release of Other People's Songs, a collection of acoustic covers of songs by Lungfish, Against Me, the Smoking Popes, and other unlikely candidates for mellow revision.