Black Horse on Apple Music

Black Horse

Black Horse is the duo of vocalist, guitarist, and keyboardist April Goettle and vocalist, guitarist, and programmer A.P. Schroder, both longtime indie rockers with an aggravated edge and a dark world view that explodes into thick, noisy slabs of feedback drenched sludge. Their twin guitar attack is both extreme and tuneful, a sinister blend of industrial grind, distorted metal, arty post-punk clatter, and garage band simplicity. Using drum machines, keyboard loops, and twin electric guitars turned up to 12, they paint grim portraits of urban life full of booze, sleaze, and sorrow, full of dive bars, abandoned cars, lost weekends and desolate garbage strewn alleyways.

Goettle was born in Deerlodge, Montana and is a Gemini. Her parents were rodeo hands so she grew up on the road listening to country music on the car radio. In school she loved Dolly Parton, Cindy Lauper and Prince. She started playing guitar, but never made the leap to being in bands until she left home and moved to Seattle. She played in a couple of all-girl punk bands, Slink and the Apocalypsticks, finally deciding to start her own group.

An ad in the local indie newspaper led her to A. P. Schroder who turned out to be the guitar player of her dreams. Schroder was born on July 18, 1975, somewhere on the great Northern Plains. He made his way to Seattle and joined The Building Press, a power trio that played songs marked by meandering arrangements, open ended improvisations, and odd melodic structures in styles ranging from rock to free jazz. The Building Press was alternately known as both brilliant and messy and unfocused, the musical equivalent of a nervous breakdown.

He stayed with the band until they went on extended hiatus, contributing to two LPs ­ The Amplitude of Frequencies Over Time and Young Money ­ two EPs and various tracks on compilations. He joined Goettle in a more traditionally formatted rock band, but the other players were always on the road with other outfits. In 2004 after a frustrating year, they bought a drum machine, rewrote their songs for two guitars and moved to New York.

They use vintage late Œ80s drum machines, one of which is customized with an exposed circuit board so Schroder can bend the circuits manually to create various unnatural sounds, to generate the rhythms. In some cases they use two drum machines layered on top of each other and run through a series of filters to blast the beats out in real time. With their distorted guitar attack and Goettle¹s dark keyboard textures, they create an unholy din.

Their impressive debut, The Black Arts of Black Horse, is out on their own label, and they¹re indie all the way, producing the album, managing themselves, booking their own tours and doing their own publicity. Both work full time when they¹re not on the road. ~ j. poet

    Seattle, WA

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