First, Cap'n Jazz brought an experimental taste to emo music, branching out what was considered the "second wave of emo music," and helping, along with bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and Mineral, to establish a melodic side to a previously punk-influenced genre. After Cap'n Jazz, he contributed to the still-active project of Tim Kinsella, Joan of Arc, and continues to make contributions to this addition to the indie rock / emo genre that has a habit of quickly cycling through members. Mike actually established the short-lived math-rock / emo project American Football without Tim or Nate, moving away from other indie-rock flavored projects in exchange for simple lyrics and a softer, more complex musical side.
Mike Kinsella's most recognizable musical achievement to most, though, would be Owen. Usually a solo act, Owen is often accompanied on record with other musicians in order to create a unique experience that few are able to copy. Owen is a shrugging off of musical classification, and in honest terms is Mike getting down-to-earth with who he is and how he perceives what he does and why he does it. For over 10 years, Owen has portrayed his life, and the remarkable thing is that Mike moves on with his life, taking his past achievements, as well as failures, into account for the man he is today. Unlike people that are constantly evolving but continue to set down the same sort of trite drivel (musically speaking), Kinsella realizes that he is a constantly changing person and wants to share who he is with music in a very personal and intimate way that allows people to respect him as both an artist and a human being.
His newest release, Ghost Town, is about living life as a stay-at-home dad, and the kind of troubles that he needed to deal with and put behind him in being successful in the present, and continuing to be a faithful and trustworthy father, as well as husband, friend and son. The temperament of the album is so genuine and confessional that one can't help but to appreciate the music, as well as the person Kinsella describes himself to be. You can listen to and purchase the album on Polyvinyl records here.