Owen Returns with 'The King of Whys'
Published May 25, 2016Along with reuniting American Football, Mike Kinsella has announced he's forging forward with a new album from his long-running Owen project. His The King of Whys will be released July 29 through longtime label home Polyvinyl Records.
A press release explains that while the Illinois-bred Kinsella has been making music with various bands for more than 20 years, the new LP marks the first record the musician has "made entirely outside of the greater Chicagoland area." The 10-song effort was tracked at Eau Claire, WI's April Base Studios with producer S. Carey (Bon Iver).
While previous Owen albums were mostly constructed by Kinsella, The King of Whys was cut with multi-instrumentalist Carey, Zach Hanson, violist Michael Noyce, pedal steel guitarist/keyboardist Ben Lester, horn player Andy Hofer, and bassist Jeremy Botcher.
"They're all really good friends," Kinsella said in a statement, noting that he was glad to play with the group despite feeling like an outsider. "They work together all the time, they have their own language, and then there's me, going, here's my songs. It felt like junior high, like I was the kid starting a new school in the middle of the year."
Lyrically, the record is said to have the songwriter "dissecting his own foibles and familial relationships with caustic wit and a mordant sense of self-awareness." While he describes some of the material as "romantic," the album track "A Burning Soul" deals with his father's alcoholism and how it affected his family, while "Empty Bottle" likewise tackles addiction.
"It's dark on the surface but those are real feelings," Kinsella said. "For a while I was pretty self conscious about my songwriting. There are Internet memes about how sad I am. I just feel there are enough love songs playing at grocery stores — I can write about darker stuff."
For now, the newly shared "Lost" is streaming below, where you'll also find the album's tracklisting.
While Kinsella offered up his Other People's Songs covers set in 2014, The King of Whys is the first Owen album of new material since 2013's L'ami Du Peuple.
As previously reported, both Owen and American Football will play Halifax's Gridlock Festival, which takes place from July 8 to 10. You can learn more about the event here.
The King of Whys:
1. Empty Bottle
2. The Desperate Act
3. Settled Down
4. Lovers Come and Go
6. A Burning Soul
8. An Island
9. Sleep Is a Myth