On Saturday, Feb. 5, WPGU Presents Joan of Arc at Cowboy Monkey in historic downtown Champaign. To a die-hard minority, this is a pretty big deal. I don’t think I need to explain why you should come to this show if you’re already a Tim Kinsella super-fan; instead, I’ll try to convince any 21st century music fan to become familiar with the creative output of a beloved Midwest indie-music staple.
Last year, Kinsella’s first band, Cap’n Jazz received an outpour of critical attention after reuniting for the first time since 1995. Founded by Tim Kinsella, his brother Mike and other musicians that would go on to become popular throughout the Midwest indie scene, Cap’n Jazz pioneered an abrasive, emotive style of music lots of critics call “emo” (a term T. Kinsella himself constantly rejects). Cap’n Jazz’s influence on hardcore music and the Chicago music scene is undeniable. However, it wasn’t until after Cap’n Jazz when T. Kinsella’s music started to reach its ambitious potential. Joan of Arc, active since 1995, has had a rotating cast of members. Tim Kinsella is the band’s only constant. Joan of Arc combines sparse acoustic instrumentation with studio effects; their lyrics are cryptic and elusive. Many critics consider the band to be “challenging.” Yet, Kinsella continued to push the boundaries between rock music and the avant garde.
Continuing to ignore critical bewilderment, Joan of Arc spent the early part of the 21st century experimenting with ambience and noise rock. As an artist on Champaign’s own Polyvinyl Records, Tim Kinsella’s associated acts continue to make their mark on the local music scene. Davey von Bohlen’s (of Cap’n Jazz) “side-project” The Promise Ring, developed the raw, Midwest emo sound Cap’n Jazz only began to explore. Tim’s brother, Mike, turned his attention to his solo project, Owen, another Polyvinyl artist. Both brothers, Tim and Mike, reunited for early 2000’s side-project, Owls. Finally, Braid, hailing from CU, kept defining the emo genre (and announced a reunion earlier this year). The network of influence that can be traced back to the Kinsella brothers is expansive, yet its importance is hard to overstate.
On Feb. 8, Joan of Arc will release its 14th studio album (oh brother…). Unsurprisingly, the album promises to be dense. It is four instrumental tracks, each clocking in at over 20 minutes. Like Kinsella’s previous output, however, it will also ask its listener to invest in these sonically rich landscapes. As Joan of Arc prepares its next studio release, WPGU is proud to host their Feb. 5 show at Cowboy Monkey.