Americas best band by a nose.
America's best band by a nose. Audrey Gatewood

Horse Lords, "Fanfare for Effective Freedom" (Northern Spy)

New music by Horse Lords is always cause for celebration. The Baltimore-based experimental rockers' forthcoming album, The Common Task (out March 13), continues their exploration of the perfect hypnotic riff and the most transcendent tones. Back in 2016, Horse Lords played tiny Hollow Earth Radio on a Monday night and blew the doors of perception clean off their hinges. They're still operating at that lofty level.

In a review of their performance on Slog, I described their sound as "Terry Riley's Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band's All Night Flight getting hijacked by Glenn Branca in the Sahara Desert with Group Doueh. Their songs are utterly mantric without being monotonous—whirling-dervish jams that almost spiral out of control. They sound free yet tightly wound." On The Common Task, Horse Lords find new wrinkles in this approach. One track is called "Against Gravity," and that could stand as the band's mission statement.

"Fanfare for Effective Freedom"'s title derives from a book by cybernetician Stafford Beer outlining his work on Chile's Cybersyn project. It begins like a cue for the end of the world before shifting into a radiant, staccato bolt of obsessive-compulsive rock in 5/8 time, stuttering like Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band circa Mirror Man and Lick My Decals Off, Baby. Later, the song lopsidedly gallops into some Saharan desert rock, featuring mad synth ostinatos that would singe the mustache off of Omar Souleyman. The intensity and tempo ratchet up to absurd levels in the final minute, leaving you spent, yet reaching to replay the track.

Based on this evidence, Horse Lords remain one of America's best bands.