The last time we recorded Joan of Arc, I noted that they could be a bit of an acquired taste; that they are a band that rewards listeners who want to be challenged, not who show up for something typical. At this Knitting Factory performance, their first in New York in quite some time, they doubled down on that statement, as they played a set of songs that was alternately fascinating and head-scratching, but consistently expectation-defying. The current band includes Tim Kinsella on guitar and vocals, regulars Bobby Burg and Theo Katsaounis on bass and drums, Jeremy Boyle and the artist Melina Ausikaitis, who performed both an a cappella number mid-set and joined Kinsella on vocals at points in addition to playing some custom instruments.
This set was meant to showcase the band’s forthcoming album, He’s Got the Whole This Land Is Your Land In His Hands, which you can pre-order here, and which is of a piece with the band’s general perspective. The record contains a heavier emphasis on electronic instruments than one might expect from a member of the legendary Cap’n Jazz and the much-vaunted (or maligned, depending on your perspective) “emo” scene, which was a term that never really meant much of anything, but means even less when considered in light of this band. Songs like “This Must Be the Placenta” (the album’s first single) and “Stranged That Egg Yolk” are sure to stretch boundaries for some fans, and if their reception tonight was to be believed, Joan of Arc’s fans are ready for them. Things got weirder after we hit the halfway point, with Ausikaitis’ pseudo-Appalachian a cappella number followed by “The Hands” from the band’s first album, which then led into a lengthy aside by Kinsella about seeing the Misfits in a hockey arena, followed by two mostly-instrumental songs that I found to be the most compelling in the set (if these have names, please help me out), which made up a combined twenty minutes of the just-over-an-hour total.
In total, then, this show felt reminiscent of that show back in 2011: depending on one’s perspective, some things may have “worked” better than others, but you have to applaud the whole of it for its willingness to take risks, to let things go to uncomfortable places. Based on the preview tracks floating around on the Internet, the new album should be a more than worthy entry into the band’s canon, and represent some of the best of those experiments. Nearly twenty years after their first album was released, Joan of Arc know who they want to reach and how they want to reach them, and that has continued to make their story one worth following.
I recorded this set with Schoeps MK4V microphones next to the soundboard with a feed from house engineer Rob. The sound quality is excellent. Enjoy!
Download the complete set: [MP3/FLAC]
Stream the complete set:
Joan of Arc
Brooklyn, NY USA
Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack
Soundboard (engineer: Rob) + Schoeps MK4V>KCY>Z-PFA>>Zoom F8>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (fades, align, compression)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects)>Audacity 2.0.3 (track, amplify, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )
Tracks [Total Time 1:07:10]
01 Explain Yourselves #2>instrumental
02 Stemingway and Heinbeck
04 This Must Be The Placenta
05 Stranged That Egg Yolk
06 Staying Alive and Lovelessness
07 Shown and Told
08 “Red Headed Girl”
09 The Hands
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