As an instrumental unit, Horse Lords rely on a collective voice and focus to provide the band’s core strength; a process enriched by their disparate musical interests. The quartet, formed in 2010, embraces Renaissance counterpoint, covers composer Julius Eastman, plays instruments specially fretted for microtonality, and organizes its music through polyrhythmic matrices. The ingenious machinery of their music is humanized with exploration and passion.
Guitarist Owen Gardner and saxophonist / percussionist Andrew Bernstein met in the ‘00s at Goucher College in suburban Baltimore—the former steeped in global folk musics and experimental music, the latter a budding composer. As members of the rich Baltimore music scene, notably the band Teeth Mountain, they met bassist Max Eilbacher, who has subsequently blazed a path in electroacoustic music, and drummer Sam Haberman.
From the beginning, the Horse Lords have played music defined by repetition and complexity, often at length, and presented it in ways that telegraph their concern with questioning social and political norms. “Conceptually, our music is always interested in the tension between the aesthetic, the political, and the material domains of art, and the political muteness of instrumental music,” the band says. “How can we imbue wordless music with a radical political message? The whole project of Horse Lords is an attempt to answer this question, and all of our decisions, musical and otherwise, are informed by it.”
Their self-titled 2012 debut album, on Baltimore’s Ehse Records, unveiled the band’s visual aesthetic—geometric art, no photos—and single side-long piece “Wildcat Strike.” Interventions (Northern Spy), from 2016, led off with a track called “Truthers.” That same year, they championed Eastman, a musical and social radical, at a time when his posthumous fame was only beginning to build. Even their practice of dropping EP-length “mixtapes” between their five full-length albums to date undermines standard music-biz rigueur. They have done their best to democratize their touring experience as well, hitting the road often and playing as wide a range of venues as possible.
Horse Lords emerge from a year of Covid-enforce idleness with Comradely Objects, an album assembled in a more leisurely fashion that nonetheless finds them sounding more focused and urgent. Comradely Objects appeared on many album of the year lists including The Wire.
Ten Past Seven
Emerging from the primordial bogs of Kerry in 2002, Ten Past Seven have charted their own unique journey through the math rock/bog prog/alternative music scene ever since.
Their second full length record ‘Long Live the Bogwalrus’ was released in 2020, through Art For Blind Records. Recorded by John “Spud” Murphy and Ian Chestnutt in Guerrilla Studios, the album features guest vocals by Landless, fiddle by Lankum’s Cormac MacDiarmada and hollers from sources too numerous to mention here but suffice to say the list includes a dog.
Over the years Ten Past Seven have become known for their energetic live shows and for the detail and craft injected not only into their tunes but also their physical releases. Starting in 2003 with a hand folded and glued EP, followed in 2006 by their debut album released on Out On A Limb Records. The tongue in cheek title ‘Shut Up Your Face’ earned the band a question in the Irish edition of Trivial Pursuit.
“Few live experiences come close to matching Ten Past Seven in full flight… Ten Past Seven succeed in kicking out more exhilarating jams than the vast majority of their peers”
-The Ticket (Irish Times)
The band climbed Carrauntoohil with Cork band Los Langeros,played a gig at the summit to a scattering of bewildered hikers and one slightly annoyed mountain goat. ‘Bothar Buí, featured vocals from Katie Kim and included remixed tracks from Toby Kaar, Laura Sheeran, Kevin Blake and Molotov Ape. After a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2011, Ten Past Seven travelled to France to record another EP with Dave Odlum in the famous Black Box Studios.
“Writhing bass grooves and galloping drum frenzies invoke the gravelly golden era of Ireland’s mid-00s math rock scene, while distorted clouds of reverb and melody will make you crave the cathartic noise of a proper live show.”
Tickets on sale Friday 2nd at 10am