More Quotes about The Horse Flies

Lately, I've started to think that working fusions bring a sense of place to the information landscape -- a fictitious place, outside geography, but one that's convincingly imagined. One way to get there is to head for music borderlines, discovering where far-flung styles overlap as pure sheer sound. ...The Horse Flies, a band from Ithaca, NY, decided that old-time string band music, with its one-chord, modal drones and busy fiddling, has something in common with the intricate minimal compositions, themselves African, Asian, American fusions, of Steve Reich -- an unlikely combination that pays off ...The Horse Flies have figured out how to hold a hoedown in a physics lab. ~Jon Pareles, New York Times

Much like Talking Heads in its early days, the Horse Flies combine musical and lyrical quirkiness with beguiling wit and intelligence on their second album, Gravity Dance. Chief lyricist Jeff Claus may sing "I've tried psychotherapy, TV and beer / But sometimes I still feel like Van Gogh's left ear" one moment, but a few songs later he's tackling more serious concerns. Musically, Gravity Dance is a melange of rock, folk, and minimalism, all held together by Judy Hyman's haunting violin and a glove tight rhythm section. This is music that challenges the brain without sacrificing the groove. ~Dan Kening, Chicago Tribune

The Horse Flies suffer an attack of the twentieth-century blues on their arresting sophomore album. ...Gravity Dance works because of the prickly emotions contained in the material. ...The Flies are very good players, too, dedicated to a punchy, coherent band groove. Hyman, on violin, teams with keyboardist Peter Dodge to create woozy roller-coaster effects; Stearns and Claus play their guitars like percussionists, jabbing rather than massaging the melodies. ... Even when aiming for laughs, The Horse Flies rub your nose in somebody else's weirdness -- and they do it great. Are we having fun yet? ~Jon Young, Musician Magazine

On their excellent Gravity Dance album, the Horse Flies have crafted a rubbery art-rock sound that suggests Civil War music as interpreted by Talking Heads, especially in songs sung by guitarist Jeff Claus. Live, the eccentric folk-rock group rocks even harder. The Horse Flies appeal to both the head and the feet. ~Paul Robicheau, The Boston Globe

Compared with Camper Van Beethoven's instrumentals, there have been richer, more far-reaching folk-rock-ethnic fusions by old bands (Kaleidoscope) and current ones (the Horse Flies). ~Jon Pareles, New York Times

This is how the machine works. Author Howard Frank Mosher writes a book about a fictional region of Vermont called Kingdom County, Jay Craven pens the screenplay and directs the film, and the genre bending, prog-goth-bluegrass band The Horseflies compose the soundtrack. This peerless collective of art-house misfits have turned the northeast into a sepia-toned playground for One-eyed mountain men, failed boxers, and ex-army chaplains seeking redemption amidst the ebb and flow of small town ethics. The Horseflies' excellent score for Where The Rivers Flow North punctuates the plight of a stubborn ex-logger who refuses to be bought out by a hydroelectric company intent on flooding the valley in which he resides. Utilizing their enormous talent for atmosphere, and almost organic use of electronics, the band hones in on the films weary protagonist like a predatory bird, painting his every move with fingerpicked guitars, subtle percussion, and cricket and loon samples. Richie Stearns’ clawhammer banjo conjures up images of snow-felled trees and dark autumn roads on the sparse "Charleston," and leads the group on the haunting "Warmth Of Your Love." The signature delay-heavy fiddling of violinist Judy Hyman is more subdued here than on previous outings, yet retains the same fluidity and impeccable intonation that has made her a much sought-after session musician. Her work on the brooding "Storm Trucks" and the lush "Woods," references the old-timey style of the bands' early days, as well as the manic manner of their more contemporary offerings, emphasizing the internal conflict that plagues the film's disheveled locals. The Horseflies don't just interpret these characters; they are these characters. After spending the majority of their lives in upstate New York, they have a better perspective on the somber autumns and dark winters that blanket the hills of Kingdom County than any hired gun, which makes their reverence for its fiction that much closer to fact. ~James Christopher Monger, All Music Guide

The film is an evocative, painstaking period piece enhanced stunningly by a spare, pulsating score by the Horse Flies. [from a review of the feature film, Where the Rivers Flow North, starring Rip Torn, Michael J. Fox, Tantoo Cardinal, and Treat Williams, for which the Horse Flies did the music]. Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

Could turn out to be the cult band of the year. ~The Independent, London

Upstate New York has sired two of the most worthy acts of the recent past in Jamestown's 10,000 Maniacs and Ithaca's Horse Flies. Addressing the state of the modern world from close proximity but widely diverging points of view--the Maniacs with their flint-eyed propriety, and the Flies with apocalyptic imagery balanced by a sly wink--the two acts wind up roiling the same stagnant waters: both flout pop's narrowing margins to create challenging music, but without losing sight of what has historically made pop such an enduring art form. In the case of the Horse Flies this is the product of unfettered imagination. It would be fair to say that this sextet has widened pop's parameters with its two wild and wonderful recordings, 1987's Human Fly and this year's Gravity Dance. ~Clay McNear, The Dallas Observer

The Horse Flies live up to the expectations of their song titles, playing off-kilter pop-tunes. Like an East Coast Camper Van Beethoven, they combine an art-rock intellect with compelling lyrics and bewitching musicianship for a sound that is both surreal and sublime. ~College Music Journal

An entrancing act ... a high tech hybrid with strange and amazing capacities ... part Camper Van Beethoven, part Oingo Boingo and entirely as surreal as a David Lynch movie. ~Dale Anderson, The Buffalo News

The Horse Flies win this season's award for "Best Set by a Band We've Never Heard Of." ~Brett Milano, Boston Globe, in a review of a 10,000 Maniacs concert which the Flies opened

Equal parts New Weird America and Global Localism, The Horse Flies' Until the Ocean is not only the strongest local release of 2008, but it is a serious contender for best album of the year from any region in any genre ... Compared to the sophomoric Soweto dabblings of Vampire Weekend, the neo-pseudo-folk of CSNY-impersonators and the thin veneer of fusion so prevalent throughout the "world" music scene, The Horse Flies stand as giants among dwarves. ~Luke Fenchel, Ithaca Times, 2008 Year-End Reflections

Unabashedly cinematic, experimental, and oblivious to the musical trends that have so violently pumped through pop culture's veins since the Ithaca-based group's 1981 inception as a straight-up traditional folk outfit, upstate New York's resident "old-timey/post-folk/art rock" ensemble the Horse Flies' last non-soundtrack studio album was 1991's Gravity Dance, a typically eclectic set of Northern oddities that straddled the line between new wave and new weird America. Where the latter fell upon the slippery sword of the era's penchant for slick over-produced commercial knob-twiddling, the band's first proper album in nearly 17 years fulfills the promise made on 1987's electrifying and dystopian bluegrass collection Human Fly. Until the Ocean draws on all of the band's strengths, allowing all the players enough space to carve out their own days in a week filled with overcast skies, brisk spring mornings, and brake lights on black ice. Each of the 11 cuts, with the exception of Richie Stearns' gripping rendition of the late-19th century temperance movement ballad "Drunkard's Child," is anchored by Jeff Claus' hypnotic banjo-ukulele and Judy Hyman's heavily delayed violin, both of which have been the backbone of the Horse Flies' sound since the mid-'80s. Claus offers up four originals, all of which echo the atmospheric minor-key musings found on Human Fly, as well as his 2004 album with Flies offshoot Boy with a Fish; Stearns provides two wildly different signature pieces; Hyman tosses in a pair of devilish instrumentals; and the band lays to waste any preconceived notion of the word "traditional" on the three remaining tracks, two of which (the old-time standard "Oh Death" and backwoods dance piece "Cluck Old Hen") are as good as anything they've released in the past. It's a rarity to hear a band return with this much confidence after such a lengthy hiatus, especially after losing a key member (original bass player John Hayward passed away in 1997). The Horse Flies will always be a niche band (too dark and weird for "folkies" and too "folky" for rockers), but Until the Ocean makes for an awfully sturdy bridge between the two, and is without a doubt the greatest "Yankee gothic/northern Appalachian/neo-traditional/college folk-rock" album of 2008. ~James Christopher Monger, All Music Guide's Favorite Folk and Favorite Pop Albums of 2008

The band takes its instrumentation from old-time mountain string bands, but adds synthesizers, third world percussion and a Lou Reed attitude. These unlikely ingredients coalesce into a whole that not only has a refreshing lack of precedent but also makes a strong musical/emotional statement. ~The Washington Post

An excellent second outing from Ithaca's Horse Flies, who write eclectic, danceable, intelligent, quirky, folk-oriented pop with a very black sense of humor and intriguing instruments. A couple of haunting, beautiful ballads balance out the pace of the album ... a dark yet upbeat album. ~David Barash, New York Review of Records

If you like Camper Van Beethoven, Violent Femmes, David Lindley, Jane Siberry, Cowboy Junkies and other new wave folkniks, you're primed for the Horse Flies. Influenced by everything from Balinese dance music to modern minimalists like Steve Reich and Philip Glass, the Horse Flies call their spooky sound "neoprimitive bug music." I call it weird, wicked, wild and wonderful. ~Jonathan Takiff, Philadelphia Daily News

If you favor inventive musicians with a dark sense of humor, this is your band. Rarely can a band write songs about prostitution ("Sally Ann") and medical waste ("Needles on the Beach") without making you retch over the earnest correctness of it all. The Horse Flies not only do that but have made a record that you'll keep coming back to, finding new ways to be astonished. ~The Houston Post

Thursday night at the China Club, the Horse Flies proved they not only are an engrossing live band, but also one with considerable lasting potential. In a showcase designed as an introduction to the band for LA audiences and a preview of new material from their upcoming "Gravity Dance" album, the Horse Flies ripped through both old and new songs with assurance and style. ... Less bucolic and musically more ambitious than 10,000 Maniacs, upstate NY's other folk inflected band, the Horse Flies are a band worth following. "Gravity Dance" is due out in a month or two, and then perhaps they will reach the audience they deserve. ~Bob Remstein, Village View, LA

The title track opens side one with a menacing robotic tribute to The Cramps that ends up sounding like Michael Nyman reworking the theme tune to the Beverly Hillbillies. On "I Live Where It's Gray" the headless ghost of Neil Young croons about swim suits being incinerated and the colour of priests' legs. This is a very fine, very odd debut. File under maverick. ~Q-Review, London

The new wave of interest in traditional styles has brought some unexpected hybrids from the punk folk of the Pogues to the New Age folk of Enya, but last weekend at the Pied Bull in Islington could be found the quirkiest folk fusion artists of all, the Horse Flies. ... They gave a bizarre, entertaining performance. ... On "Human Fly" they mixed the rattling repetition of Claus' frantic strummed rhythm work with Judy Hyman's rousing fiddle work, blending folk styles with the repetition of modern systems music. On their best and most startling song, "I Live Where It's Gray," they mixed Claus' deadpan vocals with furious backing, to chilling effect. Any band that can switch from a song like this to the lyrical "Rub Alcohol Blues" and play for so long with such enthusiasm deserves more than a cult following. ~The Guardian, London

They've moved not into the hey-nonny nowhere of punk folk, but a whole new terrain whose borders might meet with, say, Talking Heads. "Human Fly," one of their best known songs is a cover of that one by the Cramps, but reworked beyond belief. It's a bustling web of Philip Glass rhythms and keening fiddle, with Stearns' high poignant vocal trapped in its centre, as startling and as useful a reinventing as The Residents doing "It's a Man's Man's Man's World." The Flies alternate uncomplicated body music with songs like the hit-potential cerebral funk of "I Live Where It's Gray." There's one about throwing acid on dogs, this delivered in Claus' startled, Byrne-ish yelp; and a goose bump version of the nursery rhyme, "Hush Little Baby," coming on like a child molester trying to quiet his prey. River's Edge territory, the darkness at the edge of town, so normal and so weird. ... a world without the Horse Flies' wholly unique music would be a much, much poorer place. ~Tony Reed, Melody Maker, London

Gravity Dance finds The Horse Flies moving in increasingly strange directions, though their traditional sound is still evident on songs like "Sally Ann," which has a powerful and beautiful violin part by Judy Hyman who excels throughout the record. This use of folk roots also lays a framework for tunes like "Roadkill"-- a bizarre, sarcastic song about eating animals killed by cars--though the synthesizers, combined with fairly crazed, partially electronic percussion, turn it into something far from tradition ... The album mixes innumerable influences into a unique, cohesive sound, alternately jarring and pretty. Like their name, The Horse Flies can be disturbing. But they're superb, knowledgeable musicians--at their best, challenging and invigorating. ~Peter Brown, After Dark, Philadelphia

The Horse Flies are an art rock outfit in the tradition of Talking Heads--they combine wild, infectious rhythms with lyrics you can actually listen to. Gravity Dance is the Flies' second album, a quirky collection of the sublime-- as in "Sally Ann", a song about prostitution and the oppression of women-- and the ridiculous-- as in "Roadkill", a sort of 90's sequel to Loudon Wainwright's "Dead Skunk." Just the thing for rockthinkers who love to dance. ~The Examiner, Toronto

Once the Horse Flies start buzzing around your brain, it's no small matter to swat them away. The Ithaca, NY-based sextet makes a hypnotic hum that gets inside your head. On their second album "Gravity Dance" the Horse Flies splice their folk roots to an art-rock sensibility and oddball lyrics to make a grand, quirkily appealing leap from acoustic to electric eccentricity. ..."Gravity Dance" offers 12 compelling songs-- something like Neil Young jamming with minimalist master Philip Glass and reggae legend Bob Marley. ~Ken McIntyre, The Washington Times

The Horse Flies, an electro-acoustic sextet, delivered quirky gems buffed with a cheeky agit-pop wit. With tough drum rhythms balancing the hustle of a fiddle, the 'flies have that rare ability to sound traditional and modern at once. ~Craig MacInnis, Toronto Star

The best new American band I've heard in a long time. ... They don't sound like anyone I've heard and comparisons don't do them justice (sort of like Talking Heads but different). Maybe that's why their sincerity shines through. ~The Barnard Bulletin, student newspaper at Columbia University, New York City

At the onset of a decade that promises much strangeness, Horse Flies are one of the stranger outfits to hit the road. ... I'm happy to report that the live version of this sextet is very muscular. The Horse Flies chip from nearly every popular music form, starting with a clipped, hyper kinetic hoedown soundtrack and scurrying through various corners of world music. Onstage they remind of no one so much as the Talking Heads circa "Stop Making Sense." ~Boston Rock, Live Reviews

"Bewitching and beguiling ... a band for our trying times. ~Clay McNear, The Dallas Observer

The Horse Flies use unconventional instruments and hybrids to make some of the most original music around. What's more, their songs are recipes of rhythmic and melodic prowess. ~Bill Brown, Alternative Press

A strange, hypnotic blend ... even after you listen to this glorious music, you may not be able to describe it to your friends. It's unique stuff and that's all too rare in these days of homogenized musical commodities. ~Greg Haymes, The Sunday Gazette, Schenectady, NY

I don't know what you call this stuff, but the Horse Flies shred. They play tighter than Roseanne Barr in Billy Barter's wetsuit and write some mindsnapping songs. Great Stuff. ~Ventura Coast Reporter, Ventura, CA

The Horse Flies returned to the site of their exceptional Cleveland debut Tuesday night swarming Peabody's Down Under with their wonderfully unsettling, profoundly disciplined music. ... The Flies may be the only band since Talking Heads to put multiple twists on rock 'n' roll. ... Their sound is distinguished by propulsive rhythms launched by Stearns and Claus, embellished by Hyman and stirred by the rhythm section. ... Part of the appeal of this oddly Gothic band is its communal nature. They dedicate themselves to sonic weave as they spin such bitter political commentaries as "Roadkill," a pungent tune about the bottom of the food chain and "Mink Don't Trickle Down," a witty trashing of Reaganomics. There are also ravishing slower tunes like the rueful "Sally Ann." ... they promised to return. It won't be too soon. ~Carlo Wolff, The Beacon Journal, Akron, Ohio

Though their instruments often include violin and accordion, the Horse Flies are a very progressive band. Gravity Dance deserves to be heard by all those whose taste rises above the current state of sonic affairs. ~The Fort Lauderdale Eastsider

One of the funniest pieces of music I've heard in a long time is their song, "Who Throwed Lye on My Dog?" ... Richie Stearns' eerie vocals, in the echo-chambered, David Byrne style, haunt the Flies' version of "Hush Little Baby." ... I like the Horse Flies a lot. Sometimes they sound like the Rolling Stones in 1968, when they were just discovering folk and country blues. Other times, they're like punk musicians who happen to know how to play their instruments. What a combination. ... Highly recommended to anyone with contemporary taste and a warped sense of humor. ~Paul de Barros, Seattle Times

Take six disaffected middle Americans with a sense of their national non-history and disgust with their world identity, give them a series of instruments and lock them in a garage with a catalogue of world music tapes and what do you get? You get "Human Fly," an album that hypnotizes, disturbs and drags up all the images of David Lynch's movies you might or might not have seen. ... The Horse Flies depict a scummy lowlife in all its ignorant glory, joyously playing with the corpse of Republican America ripe and fit to burst. Rhythms of revolution? ~Time Out, London

Stearns' plaintive, androgynous voice is featured on the band's video of "Hush Little Baby" Yes, it's the traditional nursery rhyme, and would seem to be an unlikely option for MTV. But its familiarity makes the song accessible, and the band's lush treatment of this simple lullaby recalls the song that introduced The Eurhythmics to the world --"Sweet Dreams"-- which, as you may remember, reached hitsville. Furthermore, the dreamy video itself, shot on Roosevelt Island looking towards Manhattan, is a quality piece of work, and doesn't have a speck of the moronic degeneracy so common to the genre. ... Listening to the Horse Flies is a lot easier than trying to explain what they sound like. But despite their odd-to-pace sound and their not-so pretty name--or perhaps because of them-- this group may just put their home burg of Ithaca, New York on the musical map, and some of their offbeat, inventive, thoroughly unique compositions on the charts. ~Vanguard Press, Burlington, VT

The Horse Flies swing like mad. ~Marty Racine, Houston Chronicle

The Horse Flies' version of the Cramps' "Human Fly" sounds like nothing Lux and Ivy dreamed of, even after their heaviest Russ Meyer all-nighter-- you wouldn't even guess what the song is until after a good four minutes of African percussion, drunken fiddles and sequencers a-clatter. Personally I suspect a conspiracy between Rolf Harris, Steve Reich and the Pet Shop Boys, and I can't wait to hear more. One of the year's most unusual and inventive recordings. ~New Musical Express, London

"I Live Where It's Gray" is a black-humored, industrial portrait of mole-like depression that would do Laurie Anderson proud. File this one somewhere between the ethno-psychedelic cuteness of Camper Van Beethoven and the studied intellectualism of Glass. The Horse Flies ... should grab anyone interested in the outer limits. ~Rick Andrews, Monday Magazine, Victoria, BC

A futuristic amalgam that seems to cover the next century as well as the last ... their music hits you like a boomerang from day after tomorrow. ... Hearing this you instinctively feel you are hearing the pop music of 1998, maybe 2008. This is that far ahead of its time and feels that overwhelmingly right. Buckle your seat belt but don't miss the ride. You gotta hear this! And it gets my highest possible recommendation. Say, album of the year, for starters. ~Bob Coltman, Record Roundup, Boston

The Horse Flies provide a quirky and compelling slant to "new wave folk." They have taken a few traditional folk tunes and created their own offbeat lyrics for them, or alternatively, have applied colourful new arrangements to well-known folk ballads. With the addition of some pithy original songwriting in a purposeful and well-sustained groove, the package turns into a novel, upbeat example of folk taken in some bright new directions. ~Now Magazine, Toronto

The Horse Flies forge swords from ploughshares. What is traditional, they shape into something sharp and interesting by applying a little punkish heat, and some icy art-rock minimalistic tempering. The title cut, "Human Fly," which credits the Cramps for inspiration, sounds like a jungle warning and reads like a voodoo incantation. The Horse Flies delight by treating tradition to an acid-bath of modern influences. ~Ed McKeon, Folk Roots, London

With an almost unthinkable combination of fiddle and banjo, funky electric guitar and bass, arty synthesizer and drums, and new-wave-style vocalists singing provocative lyrics, the Horse Flies have developed a unique sound and distinctive style. ... a spellbinding and at times breathtaking show ... the audience responded with wild cheering and applause. ~Live, Cleveland

If the Horse Flies can generate half of the following on a national level they had last Friday night at the Rongovian Embassy, they're bound for stardom. "It's like this every time they play here," a bartender told me as she hustled drinks for a crowd that hit maximum occupancy code. By 11 p.m. a line of people was listening from the doorway. But fire wouldn't have been much of a problem Friday night-- you could've extinguished a 12-alarm blaze with the sweat produced by the pungent, high spirited audience. ~Ithaca Journal, Ithaca, NY

How many records have you heard lately that combine fiddle, banjo, processed banjo-uke, synthesizer, emulator, tube drums, African beat box, congas, clay drums, balliphone, seed pod, and Macintosh computer programming? Not too damn many. And not many groups could make the combination work to such impressive effect as do the Horse Flies. ~Dave Margulies, College Music Journal

Their forceful blend of traditional melodies with newly politicized lyrics; synthesizer and "Motown" banjo; and "ethnic rock drumming" and fiddling, makes for consciously artsy music that's danceable as well. ~Michael Eck, Times Union, Albany, NY

The Horse Flies make noises and hypnotic mazes of sound that almost form a brand new musical entity. Riveting. ~Time Out, London

They give the folk-song medium a seductive, haunting spin. ~Linda Dyett, New York Magazine

The vocal arrangements are exceptional, and I was overwhelmed by the scope of fiddler Judy Hyman's work; she covers a lot of ground that is too often considered uncharted territory for fiddlers today. The Horse Flies subtitled this album "Neoprimitive Bug Music." I'm not sure it fits, as this is far deeper than anything that I could consider primitive (or new primitive). It's futuristic and very urban. ~Steve Romanoski, Option Magazine

Electro hillbillies, the Horse Flies, have released the best track from Human Fly to tickle your lugholes. "Hush Little Baby" sounds like Laurie Anderson meeting the Simon Sisters, a mellow cut with toning fiddle and Caribbean style synths. The Flies are one of the more left-field discoveries of the year. ~Folk Roots, London

This is as compelling a record as I've heard lately. The Horse Flies ... create an immediately contemporary and spellbinding sound. The lyrics are alternately knowing and funny, allusive and elusive. Next time you're looking for something new and challenging, take a chance here. ~Times Advocate, Escondido, CA

Brave New Waves better put this on top of the playlist right now. The Record, Toronto

Since the death of their original bass player, John Hayward, only a few disparate recordings have crept out under the Horse Flies name – a couple of live recordings and a brace of film soundtracks – while the various members of the band have busied themselves with other projects: fiddler Judy Hyman has worked with Natalie Merchant, banjoist/singer Richie Stearns has popped up on a number of projects, and singer/banjo-mandolinist Jeff Claus’s band Boy With A Fish made its New York debut earlier this year. But now they have reinvented themselves as a studio band, with former percussionist Taki Masuko and new members Rick Hanson on accordion and keyboards and Jay Olsa on bass, for an all-round splendid return. The format here is closer to that of the 1980s Human Fly, rather than the later Gravity Dance: Hyman’s instrumentals, Rafting (From My Front Door) and Three Shoes, feature her trademark long, swooping fiddle lines against intense and, in the case of the latter, grand backdrops, in the manner of their classic Sally Anne; the ‘trad.arr.’ numbers vary from Drunkard’s Child, emotively sung by Stearns, through a chilling rendition of Oh Death, to a real Flies rave-up on Cluck Old Hen, which is a classic mix of Fiddlin’ John Carson, Norman Edmonds and acid house – basically, what the band do better than anyone else in the world. Of the original songs, the standouts are Claus’s Build A House And Burn It Down and A Hundred Camels, with their dry observations and weird conclusions (is there a code in Ashburn, Georgia?), and Stearns’s freakshow Carnival Lips and disturbing Baghdad Children, where the verses say ‘All god’s children have no place to hide/When the bombs come falling from the sky’ and are set against a refrain of ‘I believe in love’. With Claus’s banjo-mandolin rattling away to set an acoustic electronic rhythm in tandem with the percussion, Hyman’s drone fiddle and Stearns’s Motown-meets-Uncle Dave Macon banjo, the classic Flies sound reminds one what a joy it always was. Unique and treasurable. ~Ian Kearey, fRoots Magazine, England (5 Stars!)

To start a CD review with superlatives is unusual, but outstanding, sublime, magnificent, innovative, breathtaking and arresting are terms that spontaneously come up when listening to this studio album from the Horse Flies, their first in a long time. (After the death of their bass player they lost the motivation to continue without their dear music friend.) This fantastic NY band, who combine acoustic instruments with synthesizer, folk, and improvisation, was founded in 1981. Since then they've toured the U.S, Canada and Europe with their innovative music, astounding audiences everywhere with their unique music.

The core members are Richie Stearns with his emotional singing and banjo playing, Judy Hyman with her striking violin playing, and Jeff Claus on e-bow, banjo uke, and acoustic and electric guitars. But also the three other musicians, on accordion, Moog synthesizer, percussion, and bass are essential in creating the inspiring sound of this group. Their trancelike rhythm with that driving banjo playing makes you think of the blues from Otis Taylor more than once, musically as well as lyrically.  In "Veins of Coal" and "Baghdad Children" they illuminate the difficult lives of coal miners and the destiny of the children of the world who are threatened by terrorist violence. "Veins of Coal" arouses feelings of desolation and injustice; just in the way Taylor can make you feel with his masterful banjo rhythms, here is one place that Richie's masterful banjo rhythms make you think of Taylor. True poets, both Stearns and Claus know how to bring out maximum emotion with a minimum of images. Judy's beautiful violin playing gives the listener shivers and works as a catalyst to let all those feelings come out and to intensify them.  Anyone who remains untouched after hearing "Drunkards Child" is not from this world.

But the album, Until the Ocean, is mainly a group product, innovative like the instrumental group The Penguin Café.  Old and new are blended so skillfully that it exceeds what you can imagine. The haunting instrumental "Rafting" is cinematic.  In fact, in addition to their minimalist dance music, the band has made some film scores.  In all they've put out 8 albums. And Stearns and Hyman also joined Natalie Merchant on her highly praised album, The House Carpenter's Daughter. Talent just bursts out from the seams everywhere.  Taki Masuko, with his energetic percussion must be mentioned because that is the force of these Horse Flies who with their musical interaction know how to create driving, hypnotic music, which stays in your ears and soul and moves you, even when the last notes have died away. ~Rootstime, Belgium, Top 10 Year End 2008

This veteran group from upstate New York has no doubt influenced the new generation of string bands getting most of the ink; perhaps their best studio album yet, in typical fashion they deliver always interesting, sometimes quirky, Roan Mountain Hilltoppers-meets-Talking Heads trance-like old-time musical grooves energized with the urgency, lyrically and sonically, of the best modern rock music; one of many highlights is Baghdad Children, the best topical song of 2008 that, based on its highly addictive, danceable groove and simple but elegant message (underscored by the lyric, "I believe in love"), has a timeless quality that will endure well beyond the Bush era. ~DJ Cat, Radio Free Americana (Top 10 Album and Song 2008, #1 Most Under-appreciated Artist of 2008)

“Build a House and Burn It Down” is the first cut on Until the Ocean. It seems as if this is their theme, build a traditional house with old time and folk music only to tear it down and rebuild it with their own touches and with gusto. What we still have is Americana but with an art rock twist. Glued together with a tight rhythm,the insistant fiddle and voice of Judy Hyman, their 8th album sounds fresh and attractive. The Horse Flies are still a classic stringband, but with synth and percussion. At one point someone compared them to the Talking Heads. Refreshingly, not your typical folkrock or punk folk. Oh and yes, next to their originals they also play versions of O Death and Cluck Old Hen. ~Walkin' TM, FolkWorld Ausgabe

Love for The Horse Flies seemed to reach a fever pitch, thanks to the summer release of the long-awaited full length, Until the Ocean, their follow-up to Gravity Dance, that was over 15 years in the making. Magnetic and moody, the bittersweet art-folk vamping of Until the Ocean was sophisticated but not stiff. Suffused with a weighty grace, these were fresh songs with an old soul. If Jeff Claus was the voice of the sky, banjoist Richie Stearns was the earth. The Flies' best songs tug between the two, occasionally achieving a shimmering anti-gravity, formless kind of elegance.  ~Natasha Li Pickowicz, Ithaca Times

New York's The Horse Flies eighth album, Until The Ocean, is a sublime melding of genre and musical nuances. With a depth of sound that's exciting and refreshing, The Horse Flies turn 'folk' music on its head and put a whole new meaning to the term 'indie'. Until The Ocean carefully and tenderly nudges traditional influences and their instruments towards twenty-first century multi-sub-genre rock with all of its contemporary musical gadgetry, caresses the molten form and allows the process of musical alchemy to reshape and remold the fluidly organic embryo to be re-born as a new-world gem of massive importance and value.

The Horse Flies take 'fiddle-folk' on an adventurous journey through contemporary musical idioms, they inject new life into an old form, they re-visit 'traditional' styles, they introduce accordion to moog, violin to ebow and so on! Nothing's sacred to The Horse Flies - well, just the music perhaps; everything else is open to forward thinking musical adaptation in an attempt to raise the ante with 'folk' biased music.

The deep, inner strength of The Horse Flies music is partly derived from the extraordinary weight and prominence afforded the percussive back-line; The Horse Flies music is strikingly (sorry about the pun there!), percussively driven to a great extent with 'other' instruments dropping into line appropriately and proportionately. The Horse Flies' music is unique without being self-indulgent, intelligent without being condescending, richly textured without ever losing the thread; a beautifully conceived sound and feel, a ginormously enthralling rollercoaster ride of folk-derived modernistic grooves the like of which you don't normally hear from folk outfits no matter how experimental or innovative they are. The Horse Flies make it work, they generate a bi-polar mix, a cross-pollination, if you will, of folk traditions and electrifyingly contemporary 'rock' that pushes at the envelope of each and every musical genre it visits. The end result is an astonishingly vibrant sound that is almost 'post-traditional'. This six-piece outfit quite clearly believe in their chosen musical way because there's a feeling of complete unity that shines brightly with each and every song herein. All for one and....blah, blah!!

Many acts/artists have taken a similar musical road to The Hose Flies but I can honestly say that I've never yet heard anything quite so rewarding and entertaining as this. The Horse Flies exude professionalism, they personify unity and they define innovation - Until The Ocean by The Horse Flies is like nothing else I know - breathtakingly absorbing, stunningly innovative, undeniably original and just fan-bloody-tastic!! ~Peter J Brown aka toxic pete.

Man, this new CD is the BEST you guys have ever done. Absolutely top-notch. "Build a House and Burn It Down," "Carnival Lips," you just can't pick a best cut. Nothing bad on this album. We're playing the crap out of it at WVTF. It has gotten instant phone and e-mail response. Thanks for sending this. We're gonna be playing this one continually for a long time. ~Seth Williamson, WVTF, Roanoke, VA

I just wanted to let you know the impact Until the Ocean has had here. I think at least 12 dj's have touched your cd. We are a station that is format free. DJ's play what they wish. When I see so many dj's touch a cd, I know it's a strong release. Since we got it, I'm guessing maybe 70 or so spins have accrued. I have you at #1 on my FMQB chart, #1 on my CMJ 30 chart, and I have you (I think) at heavy spins on my Americana chart. It's a strong, diverse, even profound cd and I (we) thank you profusely for creating it and sending it our way. Keep it going please. And if you tour behind this one, here's hoping you make it to the Colorado Rockies. ~Luke Nestler, Music Director, WDNK, Carbondale, CO...

While the new generation of musicians is notable for their creativity in pushing the boundaries of the music and providing the sense that it is here to stay, my "best of" list is by no means limited to the youngsters. Witness The Horse Flies, middle-aged experimentalists of the first order who have no doubt influenced many of the young turks getting most of the ink. ... Until the Ocean is perhaps the best studio album yet by this veteran group from upstate New York. In typical fashion they deliver always interesting, sometimes quirky, Roan Mountain Hilltoppers-meets-Talking Heads trance-like old-time musical grooves energized with the urgency, lyrically and sonically, of the best modern rock music. ~Radio Free Americana

A mightily impressive album with its own distinctive sound. ~Sidestream radio programme, Brisbane, Australia

Seeing The Horse Flies kick off the festival (Falcon Ridge Folk Festival) was terrific. I have been describing this legendary band as "old-time music meets Sonic Youth" as of late because of the way that they combine heavy percussion and electrified instruments with a bouncing old-time string band groove. Richie Stearns rhythmic banjo playing is just a marvel. ~Matt Winter, WKCR, NYC

Wow. Great music. The Horse Flies are the featured artist this week. ~West Virginia Public Broadcasting

What a great album! For my ears it connects with the strongest material that the Horse Flies have come up with over the years. I'd really love to see the band live again. Hope it'll work with another German tour. I'll try to spread the word. ~Arne Schumacher, Radio DJ, Bremen, Germany

Not a straight-ahead, simple folk album, Until the Ocean is a brilliant production. ~Dennis Brunnenmeyer, Nevada City Limits, KVMR, Nevada City, CA

Every time I hear "Three Shoes" I get goose bumps and start moving uncontrollably. It's not a pretty sight, but it's a great feeling. ~Ken Campbell, WSKG radio (NPR affiliate), Binghamton, NY

Thank you for all the great music you have provided here at WRUW-FM. You're music has been featured on several shows including mine. ~Wade Tolleson, WRUW, Cleveland, OH

What can I say, it's absolutely fantastic. Best CD I've heard since a long time and a lot to play from it for the listeners. ~Radio Herford, Germany

Whether it’s the driving rhythm of “Human Fly” or the haunting vocals of “Drunkard’s Lone Child", these folks are fantastic! If I were fortunate enough to be in a band, this is the music I would be playing. ~Bluebear's Music Vault