El-P & Killer Mike strike back, Talib Kweli with Pretty Lights, Owen goes electric

This week’s best albums

– BFFs El-P and Killer Mike return as Run the Jewels, offering some of the best bangers of the summer.

Pretty Lights lays down a massive and layered record, going orchestral by way of electronica and getting guest love from Talib Kweli.

– Singer-songwriter Mike Kinsella gets dynamic with solo project Owen, amping up and showing shades of his past.

Honorable mentions

Huntress: Starbound Beast (Napalm)

Myron & E with The Soul Investigators: Broadway (Stones Throw)

Zomby: With Love (4AD)

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No Journalists Allowed: Tim and Mike Kinsella, the brothers behind Joan of Arc and Owen

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Growing up in the northern Chicago suburbs, brothers Tim and Mike Kinsella began the indie-rock cult favorite Cap’n Jazz at the ripe young ages of 15 and 12, respectively. Though the idiosyncratic quintet didn’t garner most accolades until a few years after disbanding, its founders and cohorts all have gone onto productive, overlapping careers. Tim has been the force behind Joan of Arc; Mike has released six solo albums as Owen; and both regularly collaborate with a small army, including cousin Nate Kinsella (Birthmark), Sam Zurick (Owls), Bobby Burg (Make Believe), and Victor Villarreal.

Mike Kinsella

Tim Kinsella

Here the brothers take turns questioning each other about being musicians, coming off like an asshole, and feeling your age.

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Review: Birthmark’s Antibødies

Birthmark: Antibødies

Birthmark: Antibødies (Polyvinyl, 5/15/12)

“Stuck”

[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Birthmark_Stuck.mp3|titles=Birthmark: “Stuck”]

The multi-talented Nate Kinsella (cousin of Tim and Mike Kinsella) has made a name for himself performing in or alongside a slew of out-there indie outfits, including December’s Architects, Joan of Arc, Make Believe, and Owen. As Birthmark, his densely layered solo project, he creates a sound all his own by experimenting with a variety of instruments to an effect that is whimsical and unusual.

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