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March 1, 2002

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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 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."

Juris Publici

Charles Samuels