A band of horses.
It's another way of defining a herd of wild horses that roams free. There is safety in numbers.
One band that uses a play on the term in its name is playing at New Brookland Tavern on Tuesday night. No, it's not Band of Horses, which is fronted by Columbia native Ben Bridwell.
HORSE the Band, a post-hardcore group, will be in town. And if you believe keyboardist Eric Engstrom, Bridwell and Band of Horses are thieves.
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"They stole our name," he said. "And they made it so Pitchfork could understand it better."
He was referring to Pitchfork, the tastemaking indie-rock Webzine that has fawned over Band of Horses. HORSE the Band hasn't received the same kind of attention.
"It's a perfect play on words, but nobody understood it," Engstrom said. "Band of Horses made it more obvious.
"We just made it a bit more inscrutable."
There's also a band An Horse, which played Headliners in October, if you're keeping track of equus-inspired names. OK, now that that's out of the way, let's talk about the music.
HORSE the Band plays what some call Nintendocore music, which is another way of saying it mixes electronic blips and bursts, typically reserved for video games, into the heavier elements of its music.
The band released its latest record, "Desperate Living," in October on Vagrant records. The recording was self-financed, which is remarkable because the members maxed-out their credit cards to fund last year's "Earth Tour," which saw the band play 45 countries in three months.
The response from fans on the band's current tour, as the opening act for headlining band Norma Jean, has been fine, Engstrom said. He just wishes people would buy the album, too. The band members didn't see a penny from previous releases - they actually owe - and they can profit from "Desperate Living."
"It's a good reaction compared to album sales," he said. "The shows have been better than album sales. It would be nice if people would buy this one."
Who's selling records these day?
"I can think of a few bands, but I won't say any names."
Oh, right. That other band, again.
"Desperate Living" shares its title with a John Waters film about, among other things, what criminals do when they have their own haven. The title - in this case, we'll use it as a term - applies to HORSE the Band.
Engstrom said the members are trying to be positive. The diatribe on its MySpace page, under the heading Living At The Top, spews venom and negativity at everyone from booking agents and bands to singers with neck tattoos.
"We live at the top when we're at the (blasted) bottom," Engstrom said. He didn't say blasted, of course.
"We live an artistic lifestyle," singer Nathan Winneke interjected.
"Is this going to be a (smack)-talking interview?" Engstrom asked. "We've been trying to not sound as negative lately."
The tour van Engstrom was sitting in was being driven through snow in Minnesota.
One good thing about the tour besides the turnout: the beer. Engstrom said the new bass player brews his own beer.
"We drink and drive," he said. "Not at the same time.
"Old man winter has been trying to kill us, and we've been hitting the bottle hard."
They do it together. There's safety in numbers. And HORSE the Band is willing to share.
"Tell Band of Horses to come to our show, and we'll drink whiskey together," Engstrom said.
If that were to happen, horseplay undoubtedly would ensue.
IF YOU GO
Norma Jean, HORSE the Band, The Chariot and Arsonists Get All the Girls
WHEN: 6 p.m. Tuesday
WHERE: New Brookland Tavern, 122 State St., West Columbia
TICKETS: $13 in advance, $16 at the door
INFORMATION: (803) 791-4413 or http://www.newbrooklandtavern.com