Owls to Tour, Merchandise on Sale


Owls have released a new LP and are busy preparing for their first tour in over a decade. To celebrate the occasion, all Jade Tree’s Owls merchandise is on sale for 20% off. This sale will only last a week! Make sure to complete your collection by visiting the Jade Tree eStore now and stocking up!

Owls – 2014 Tour Dates

05/16 Chicago, IL – Subterranean
06/27 Santa Ana, CA – Constellation Room *
06/28 Los Angeles, CA – The Roxy Theatre *
06/29 San Francisco, CA – Bottom of The Hill *
07/11 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom#
07/12 Pittsburgh, PA – Mr. Small’s Theatre#
07/13 Washington DC – Black Cat#
07/14 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer#
07/15 Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair#

# = w/Hop Along
* = w/ Into It. Over It.



After several years pursuing careers apart from one another, the original line-up of the revered Cap’n Jazz reunited to form Chicago’s art-funk post-rock groove outfit, OWLS, Featuring Tim Kinsella (Joan of Arc), Mike Kinsella (Joan of Arc, American Football), Victor Villarreall (Ghosts and Vodka), and Sam Zurick (Joan of Arc, Ghosts and Vodka), OWLS retain the obtuse structures of their previous bands while sonically stripping down to the basics of pure simple rock.

1. What Whorse You Wrote Id On
2. Anyone Can Have A Good Time
3. I Want the Quiet Moments of a Party Girl
4. Everyone Is My Friend
5. I Want the Blindingly Cute to Confide In Me
6. For Nate’s Brother Whose Name I Never Knew or Can’t Remember
7. Life In the Hair Salon-Themed Bar on the Island
8. Holy Fucking Ghost

Mike Kinsella – drums
Tim Kinsella – singing
Victor Villareal – guitar
Samuel Zurick – the bass
Released July 31, 2001
Recorded by Steve Albini at Electrical Audio, April 2001
Mastered by John Golden at John Golden Mastering
Self-portraits by Owls
Graphic Design by Paul Koob

Owls S/T LP Repressed, Pre-order Available Now

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Over the past few years, Jade Tree has heard increasing appeals for additional vinyl pressings of a number of our catalog titles. One of the most frequent requests is for the 2001 self titled album by Owls. As the emails continued to pile up and the ebay prices soared, we decided to give this one a go. The quantities on this pressing are limited, so order early.

Pre-orders ship on or around 2/21
Available in stores 3/15

Pressing info: 550 (150 white / 400 black)
This LP package includes high quality MP3 download for the entire album.

After several years pursuing careers apart, the original line-up of the revered Cap’n Jazz reunited in 2001 to form Chicago’s art-funk post-rock groove outfit, OWLS, Featuring Tim Kinsella (Joan of Arc, Make Believe), Mike Kinsella (Joan of Arc, Owen), Victor Villarreall (Ghosts and Vodka), and Sam Zurick (Joan of Arc, Ghosts and Vodka), OWLS retained the obtuse structures of their previous bands while sonically stripping down to the basics of pure simple rock. After years of being out of print and demand at a critical mass, Jade Tree is proud to once again offer this important title on vinyl. New vinyl lacquers for this LP were cut from original high resolution source masters and pressed at RTI on 120 gram vinyl.


Owls hit the road in April and begin their "Quickly 02" tour on April 6 in Columbia, MO. The group features drummer extraordinaire Ryan Rapsys (also of Euphone) who joined the group for their European 2001 Fall tour. All dates listed below are with Philadelphia’s Need New Body.

April 6 Columbia, MO, Shattered (514 E. Broadway)
April 7 Off
April 8 Denton, TX, Rubber Gloves (411 E Sycamore)
April 9 Austin, TX, Emo’s Alternative Lounging (603 Red River Rd)
April 10 Houston, TX, Mary Janes (4216 Washington)
April 11 New Orleans, LA, Mermaid Lounge (1100 Constance St)
April 12 Tallahasse, FL, Club Downunder (A305K Oglesby Center)
April 13 Tampa, FL, The Orpheum (1902 Republica de Cuba)
April 14 South Miami, FL (5922 South Dixie Highway)
April 15 Off
April 16 Gainesville, FL, Commen Grounds (919 W. University Ave)
April 17 Orlando, FL, The Social (54 N Orange Ave)
April 18 Atlanta, GA, The Earl (448 Flat Shoals Ave)
April 19 Raleigh, NC, King’s Lounge (424 South McDowell St)
April 20 Washington, DC, Black Cat (1811 14th St. NW)
April 21 Philadelphia, PA, First Unitarian Church (2125 Chestnut St)
April 22 Brooklyn, NY, North Six (66 North 6th St)
April 23 Cambridge, MA, Middle East Upstairs (472 Massachussets Ave)
April 24 Montreal, QE
April 25 London, ON, Horseshoe Tavern (370 Queen Street West)
April 26 London, ON, Call the Office (216 York Street)
April 27 Grand Rapids, MI, Pop! Cafe (1520 Wealthy St)
April 28 Chicago, IL, Fireside Bowl (2646 W Fullerton Ave)

Owls [I]Owls[/I] Review

Welcome to my first music column in Juris Publici. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Charles, and am an absolutely horrible reviewer. In fact, it sometimes takes me years to come around to a band, but I will do my best to tell you how I feel now and what I’ll probably feel later. I promise I’ll keep the reviews short and to the point. Oh, and if you were ever in, or are currently in a band and want it reviewed, just put your cd/tape/md in my down under folder.

This is the first issue of JP in over a year, so, running with the phoenix theme of our publication, I’ve decided to review an album named after a bird.

That band is The Owls. For those of you who love that crazy math-rock/emo sound, The Owls are the phoenix rising from the ashes of Cap’n Jazz, the mid-west great indie hope. Well, that’s not really true. They are more a band that is referenced than a band people still listen to, you know, like the albums Pet Sounds, Revolver, or even Amnesiac.

There are some members of Joan of Arc in there too. Anyway, ignoring their pedigree, they played here in Richmond last semester and the members of the audience were basically Plan 9 employees, VCU kids, Krista Mathis and myself. It was a fun show, they played their "single" (I use quotes because I have never actually seen any sort of single in a store from The Owls, but I guess I haven’t been looking that hard). They played some fairly poppy songs, they playeda bicycle wheel. They ran around in masks on stage, and didn’t dry their hands after they washed them.

In other words, it was a fairly experimental sound with some rock thrown in for good effect.

The same could be said for their self-titled album, which, to be fair, came out last summer.

It’s good, make no mistake, it is challenging at times, arty to the point of distraction at times, but overall, you get the feeling you’re listening to something that in ten or twenty years time, people will be referencing them instead of Cap’n Jazz or Joan of Arc.

Oh, and the review on www.cdnow.com says, "Eschewing contemporary techniques and heading into the studio with noted producer Steve Albini, the band’s debut album is a dose of visionary rock & roll, complete with jittery guitar arpeggios, straightforward production, and of course, Kinsella’s usual barrage of baffling lyrics."

Owls [I]Owls[/I] Review, Rating: 7.0

Indie Rock is Important. No city embodies that tragicomic claim like Chicago. Thrill Jockey– the silly coven of haughty and eminently geeky indie-rockers with unbearable jazz pretensions and its arsenal of post-every-fucking-thing-under-the-sun nomenclature– has consistently been the most egregious of the Second City’s many labels vying for real-life importance, your serious esteem, and of course, CD and show-ticket dollars. But while the über-musicianly Sir John McEntire and his Knights of Bucktown have been out wielding Powerbooks, Kinsella(s) Inc. has been steadily building an empire of pretension.

Sometimes tickling the critics into embarrassing coos of honeyed admiration, and other times inspiring equally disproportionate rock-crit fatwas, Tim Kinsella has succeeded where other Illini have failed: in disarming the full fury of his detractors with nothing more than a smirk. I’m not talking, of course, about Kinsella’s actual countenance; I’m referring to his neo-absurdist temperament and the obvious fun with which he goes about his business.

Even when he was just the scratchy-voiced, baby-faced ringmaster of Cap’n Jazz, Tim Kinsella was already establishing himself as a first- (well, maybe second) rate semantic clown and word-gamesman. With a penchant for double-entendre and imagistic jokes, Kinsella charmed his partisans and alienated the rest of us with his Duchampesque disregard for everything, and created a contested little body of work which still polarizes fans of the genre. Personally, Joan of Arc drives me up the fucking wall, but my dismissal of the band has nothing to do with the personality phenomenon of Kinsella; they sorely lacked dynamism, and there were too few hooks and too much blipped-over space for my liking.

Owls reunites the boys from Cap’n Jazz for another stab at the rock. Abthent thith time ith the Promith Ring’th Davey Von Bohlen, but the remaining cast (Tim Kinsella, brother Mike on drums, guitarist Victor Villareal, and bassist Sam Zurick) are back in strong form.

So, too, is Tim Kinsella’s jokiness, though that’s not such a bad thing. Even the typical, hideously Kinsellated title of "What Whorse You Wrote Id On" doesn’t detract from the opening track’s elegant mood and almost sing-songy warmth. The guitarwork is nothing short of gorgeous, with Villareal arpeggiating a trebly, spidery path into your aural memory, his picking providing a textural counterpoint to Mike Kinsella’s ornate drumming, which it should be said has never sounded this good.

"Anyone Can Have a Good Time" starts quietly and jangly over a semi-marshal beat in non-standard time. Things seem to be meandering, only to find anchorage in what passes for a refrain. The tonally challenged Kinsella spits tick-tocky syllables over one more verse, and after a pleasant mood shift and instrumental interlude, the song’s end-section begins. "We fall into patterns quickly/ We fall into patterns too quickly," sings a background Tim Kinsella, as a forefront one screams, "Unname everybody/ Unname everyone," in emo bursts of surprisingly well-hit notes as the song peters out.

"Life in the Hair Salon Themed Bar on the Island" (an apparent reference to Beauty Bar on 14th St. in New York City), is the proggiest of the album’s tracks. That is to say, it sounds like indie rock interpreting Frank Zappa influences from something they read in a book. The standout comes with the subsequent song, "I Want the Blidingly Cute to Confide in Me." It encapsulates many of the album’s disparate, yet weirdly integrated, strains: its faux-jazzy rhythm excursions, its Andy Summers-on-crack guitar playing, the intermittently truly beautiful vocal melodies, and of course, Kinsella’s lyrical shots in the dark.

Owls’ music is an odd concoction of opposing and random musical and emotional trajectories. You can hear echoes of Cap’n Jazz and, every bit as clearly, some really weird "adult contemporary" musical phrases, too. The mélange works very well enough, though, and hits the mute button on the death knell so many would like sound on Kinsella’s oddly resilient and shapeshifting career. Goddamnit.

Owls [I]Owls[/I] Review

For anyone who’s ever tried — or wanted — to sing along to a Joan Of Arc song, you are aware of how futile and frustrating such an endeavor can be. While always possessing stellar musicianship and a talent for creating complex musical arrangements, they always maintained an air of ridiculous pretentiousness (check out the song titles on their 2000 release, The Gap) that only the geekiest of rock geeks could fully appreciate. With Joan Of Arc being laid to rest, Mike and Tim Kinsella strip themselves down to the bare minimum rock ‘n’ roll set-up and emerge with the rock record their former band could never make. Owls takes the abrasive, emo stylings of Cap’n Jazz and the smooth, jazzy indie pop of American Football (which both featured Mike) to present the rock version of Joan Of Arc. Expect the usual calculated, precise drumming, jangly guitar work and endearingly melancholic strain of Tim’s voice. Don’t expect the experimental noodling and electronic blips and bleeps. And try not to sing along to "Everyone Is My Friend" — impossible. Finally.

Cap’n Jazz Reforms, Renamed The Owls

Six years after Cap’n Jazz called it quits, the band is reforming… sort of.

The lineup of Cap’n Jazz has come together once again and plans to have new material available, though this time around, the band will be known as The Owls. Though the band could have easily picked up the Cap’n Jazz banner and picked up where it left off, the time apart, as well as the band’s moniker, proved too much to overcome.

“[We'll pick up] where we left off minus six years and continue with a really dumb name,” said singer/guitarist Tim Kinsellas. “We want a cool name now, no more dumb name.”

The Owls’ are currently recording their self-titled debut with Steve Albini to be released by Jade Tree Records July 31. Though Kinsellas said he and the other Owls will be taking their music in a different direction than previous Cap’n Jazz releases though he didn’t specify how changed the band’s sound is. When asked if the ghosts of former bands like Cap’n Jazz and Joan of Arc would haunt The Owls’ music, Kinsellas didn’t seem too concerned with any similarities that may arise.

“Same people, new songs,” he said.

News of the reformed and renamed Owls comes shortly on the heels of the announcement that Kinsellas was pulling the plug on his post-rock pop band, Joan of Arc (read full story). Joan of Arc will release a postmortem EP of outtakes from its The Gap (2000, Jade Tree) (read Aversion’s review) titled Can Any Thing So Little Be Any More? May 15.

Owls [I]Owls[/I] Review

Imagine for a moment that you are Tim Kinsella.
Before you were 20 years old, you were in a band whose record is considered one of the best emo-core albums ever. What’s next? You form a new band and make an album half-filled with killer tunes, and half with strange instrumentals. While not as highly praised as your first record, it still is considered pretty darn good. The same goes for your next record. But after your third album with your new band, something has happened. Most musical critics are calling you a genius, but the others want your head on a silver platter. Then with your next release, it gets even worse. Critics call the record "painful" and "trash" and say that forcing them to listen to your record should be illegal.
What is your next logical move? No matter what you do, chances are the critics aren’t going to give you a fair chance. And most of your fans have given up on you as well. Well, the best thing for you is to get back with your original band and try to get along and put out a new album.
So you’ve re-formed Cap’n Jazz. Only Davey VonBohlen isn’t present, and it’s called Owls. Cross your fingers and hope the critics don’t rip it apart like rapid dogs.
Well let me put your fears to rest. I really enjoy the new record. I didn’t like it at first but after three listens, the songs started to grow on me. And now I can’t get the songs out of my head, or the CD out of my player. Owls may not be as inventive as Joan of Arc or as energetic as Cap’n Jazz, but the songs are almost all amazing. The album almost seems like the product of an energized American Football, with little bells and whistles added for good measure. Surprisingly, there are really no keyboards, or strange white noises, which was very common on your records with Joan of Arc. And I also I have to commend you on the fact that you rarely try to hit notes you can’t. That may have been cute when you were seventeen, but now that you are older, it is nice to know that you realize it is more often annoying.
Likewise, your lyrics have taken a drastic turn. They no longer seem as if you are deliberately trying to be obscure. I now get the feeling you are trying to honestly express yourself, which allows me to relate to them more. When I heard the song, "I Want The Blindingly Cute To Confide In Me," I thought the line, "And each morning, I know I’ll be no good come night. And each night, I know I’ll be no good come morning" was surprisingly direct, and touching. And most great bands have touching lyrics, so you’re headed in the right direction.
But I do have a few complaints. First off, this thing with the long titles is just getting ridiculous. Let’s look at the longest title on the album, "For Nate’s Brother Whose Name I Never Knew Or Can’t Remember." It comes off pretty pretentious. And the worst part of it is that the song goes nowhere. The music doesn’t really change throughout the song at all, and the lyrics are mostly spoken, making the song dull the whole way through. You could have left this off the album, allowing folks to listen to the CD the whole way through without skipping a single track. But that’s all I have to complain about.
You have done yourself a favor, Tim, by re-joining forces with your former bandmates. The music you’ve created is very beautiful, and Victor’s guitar work is phenomenal. He doesn’t use too much distortion, the guitars instead sounding very much like those of his other band Ghosts and Vodka. Likewise, Mike’s drumming is extremely inventive, and some of the most exciting have heard since Jeremiah Green. And Sam’s bass playing keeps the songs together, which is always important.
Your new project isn’t quite up to the level of the debut Cap’n Jazz album, but it is an extremely strong release that is better than most rock albums this year. Hopefully this is only the beginning of the great things to come from the Owls.