Songs We Love: Joan Of Arc, 'Two-Toothed Troll'

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A still from Joan Of Arc's "Two-Toothed Troll" video.
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It makes sense that Joan Of Arc would take its name from a Catholic saint: There's a certain percentage of indie-rock music fans who pray at the altar of every project the Kinsella brothers undertake. (Both bros play in the emo exemplar Cap'n Jazz; Mike Kinsella dominates American Football and Owen; Tim Kinsella is the last of his clan in Joan Of Arc.) That's where the Christian metaphors end — if anything, in its two decades of existence, Joan Of Arc has consistently rallied again tradition in all forms. It could be classified as a rock band, but that feels limiting. There's a certain visually artistic element to what the band does: experimentation with electronic tracks and samples that layer on one another like a photo montage.

In "Two-Toothed Troll," from the upcoming LP He's Got The Whole This Land Is Your Land In His Hands, Joan Of Arc gives additional texture to its ideology: Asymmetrical percussion carries the tune underneath new member Melina Ausikaitis' soft, elongated vocal performance. She begins by breaking the fourth wall, singing, "Please be advised upon entry to my friendship / You are consenting to be photographed / Your likeness used in understanding of the stupefying vastness of the universe." The formality of the language makes the song feel simultaneously scientific and silly, a duality the band exemplifies on the record.

"Because we conceptualized our album as a collage, 'Two-Toothed Troll' is the light counterpoint to a much darker song ('Grange Hex Stream') made from a few of the same elements," Tim Kinsella tells NPR. "It's the '911 Is A Joke' of our album, the pop song on which the other singer takes the lead to comment on the same recurring themes. And the video testifies to the fact that a couple of us spend an inordinate amount of time on skateboards for people hovering around 40 years old."


He's Got The Whole This Land Is Your Land In His Hands comes out Jan. 20 via Joyful Noise.

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