Words About Music
Tim Kinsella “Tim Kinsella Sings the Songs of Marvin Tate by LeRoy Bach Featuring Angel Olsen”
Tim Kinsella has been involved in music ever since forming his first band in 1989 at the age of 15. The Chicago musician formed Cap’n Jazz, arguably the most influential emo/post-hardcore band of all time, with his younger brother Mike and his friends Victor and Sam (soon-to-be vocalist of The Promise Ring Davey von Bohlen joined right before the band broke up). After the dissolution of Cap’n Jazz he formed the still-active experimental group Joan of Arc, and has been involved in several groups since then, including Owls, Everyoned, Make Believe, and the 2010 Cap’n Jazz reunion. It’s safe to say he’s one of the most prolific musicians out there, and his output has been more or less consistently great since first forming Cap’n Jazz. This year sees one of his more interesting collaborations, though, with “Tim Kinsella Sings the Songs of Marvin Tate by LeRoy Bach Featuring Angel Olsen.” Marvin Tate is a Chicago-based poet who has worked with former-Wilco member LeRoy Bach before. The two decided that for this record, Tim Kinsella’s instantly recognizable voice would be perfect for the dark themes, as would singer-songwriter Angel Olsen. The ensuing record is a short but poignant and beautiful collection of songs that range from passionate post-punk anger to ambient folk wonderment.
This album is not one that I initially fell in love with; it took me some time. But once I got into it and began to understand its themes more, I felt a true connection to it. This record is heartbreaking in a way that you need to really listen to the lyrics to understand. Most of the lyrics deal with love of some sort and the sexual connotations of love, but not love in a way that will make you feel warm and fuzzy. One song repeats the following line over and over numerous times: “The baseball player’s wife, sculpted by nature a beating path, ruined by men who treasure trophies instead of wives.” This is not a happy album, people. Marvin Tate is definitely exploring the dark side of love, marriage, and family in many contexts on this record with his lyrics.
While I’m sure a lot of people who enjoy the music of the Kinsella family prefer Tim singing in the more energetic style he’s known for, but he certainly carries this album well with his perfectly imperfect vocals. This vocal style, as well as Angel Olsen’s voice and the lo-fi production, helps to make “Tim Kinsella Sings…” feel more authentic. It’s not a pretentious or difficult-to-grasp record. It doesn’t take itself so seriously that it can’t relate at all to the listener. In fact, it feels just as relatable as any of Kinsella’s work. I’d even go so far as to compare it to some of Daniel Johnston’s work, except with a bit better production. It’s a surprisingly dense release with catchy choruses and memorable lyrics. If you’re looking to feel sad this winter, turn off the lights and listen to this album, because every contribution from every contributor feels necessary and the project as whole is pretty great.
SCORE – 8.6
FAVORITE TRACKS – Idolize, The Crossing Guard, Daddy Wants To Be A Robin, Devonte’s In A Coma, The Bus Is Coming, Snowglobe, All In My Head, 100 Kinds of Crazy, Sidetracked in Florida, Never Finished Counting