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Get to Know: feeble little horse

 Four people stand outside in a backyard area with a trellis and a wall covered in ivy behind them.
feeble little horse

Radio Milwaukee’s stations introduce you to new artists every day. This is your chance to learn a little more about them beyond what you hear on our playlists. Consider it a meet-and-greet, CliffsNotes and elevator pitch all rolled into one.

Pittsburgh’s noisy indie-rock quartet feeble little horse playfully dish out alternating moments of Gen Z dread and dismay, and willful Zen on their sophomore full-length, Girl With Fish. Bass and drums herd the stray-cat elements of the songs — squalling, yowling guitars — while vocalist Lydia Slocum’s voice floats, very chill-like, above the fray as if it’s disassociating from the chaos.

On “tin man,” currently in our 88Nine rotation, those vocals carry a tale about a bad relationship given the form and shape of the famous character from the song’s title:

I gotta go cause you flash sadness
I found you all rusted and leaky
Took him apart and I found nobody
But when I dent you I end up bruised

Jacob Kelley (drums), Sebastian Kinsler (guitar/vocals) and Ryan Walchonski (guitar) team up with Slocum to form a band that’s tightly knit and collaborative. “Anything that makes us laugh or puts a smile on our faces, we usually end up keeping in the songs,” Kelley said, reflecting on their playful-but-purposeful process that grew even more strong on this particular record with Slocum contributing more heavily towards lyrical ideas.

Throughout the self-recorded, self-produced songs on Girl With Fish, feeble little horse not only get irreverent and noisy, but also glitched-out and pop-y, tossing surprising riffs and sounds into the pot like a fistful of salt, alternating a sprinkle of sweetness for the more tender, relatable moments.

Signing to Saddle Creek Records for their newest hasn’t changed things much, Kinsler said: “Besides our friendship getting stronger and our songs becoming more interesting to us, nothing’s really changed — it’s still us just hanging out. This is what we do instead of playing video games.”

We caught up with the band on their inspirations, fave Pittsburgh things and summer plans just before the official release of Girl With Fish, which you’ll be able to find on their Bandcamp page next Friday, June 9. You can also see where feeble little horse is playing to support the new album on their website.

What was on the home turntable or radio in your house, growing up?

Ryan: My mom loved Bruce Springsteen
Jake: My dad had a few KISS and Mötley Crüe CDs, and my mom and sister liked Fergie a lot.
Seb: My dad loved They Might Be Giants. My mom and sisters listened to top 40 pop radio.
Lydia: Enter the Worship Circle, Sarah Groves, Paul Wright, early-2000s punk music, lots of ’80s rock and Burl Ives classics.

Where did the "feeble little horse" name originate from?

Ryan: I was paging through books specifically to find a band name. Ended up finding it in a Franz Kafka book.

What was the first instrument you picked up?

Ryan: Recorder.
Jake: Drums.
Seb: Guitar.
Lydia: Harmonica.

Lydia, I read that you played the flute in grade school and that you learned bass when you joined feeble little horse. What was easier to learn: flute or bass?

Lydia: Bass is so easy. Flute was difficult, but also there's like a 10-year age gap; I think being in fourth grade made flute hard.

Lizzo recently played a 200 year-old crystal flute that belonged to James Madison; if any of you could play a historical instrument, what would you pick?

Jake: Liam Gallagher’s tambourine.
Ryan: The smoke detector fromNathan For You.
Lydia: Any Muppet instrument … maybe Kermit’s banjo.

What city/cities do you currently call home? What brought you there?

Ryan: Washington, D.C. I moved here for work when I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh.
Jake: Pittsburgh. College brought me here, but then I met too many great people to leave.
Seb: University of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, baby.
Lydia: Pittsburgh is home because my dad moved us here from South Carolina in 2007 to plant an Anglican church.

What's your favorite venue in your current city and why?

Jake: The Deli. It’s run by super good homies.
Seb: Mr. Roboto is where all the cool bands play.
Lydia: The big room in Mr. Smalls is fun.

Reverb. Yay or nay? Reverb vs. distortion?

Seb: feeble little horse hates reverb. Overdrive > fuzz > distortion.
Lydia: Reverb is for music haters.

What are Saddle Creek Records' most admirable qualities?

Jake: They’re super accommodating to the fact that we’re college students/have jobs, first.
Ryan: The employees care about the records they work on, and they let us do whatever we want.
Seb: They have [the band] Spirit of the Beehive.
Lydia: They sent me really nice flowers and a note when I broke my jaw.

What's your favorite non-music thing to do when you have free time?

Ryan: Watch Star Wars cartoons.
Jake: Build creatures out of clay.
Seb: Been cooking pasta de harina so often.
Lydia: I go to the thrift store and then I organize my new, special things.

Favorite non-you artist right now and why?

Jake: Sword II.
Seb: Winter came out with the coolest album last year.
Ryan: This German band Guther that got an incredibly poor Pitchfork review in, like, 2003.
Lydia: I love Maryyx2 because she is awesome.

If you go to the merch table after a show, what are you typically buying?

Jake: Sticker.
Ryan: Cassette.
Lydia: It’s more about the handshake and meaningful eye contact for me.

What are you currently reading that we should check out?

Jake: Negative X #2 [comic] by Matt Vittucio.
Ryan: The Brothers Karamazov, although I wouldn’t recommend it.
Seb: I just read One Hundred Years of Solitude for school, and it was [*insert fire emoji*].
Lydia: I’m reading The World According to Garp, which has taken me like seven months, and I'm borrowing it from Seb, which is the only way I read books.

Who is your inspiration, musician or otherwise?

Jake: All the PGH [Pittsburgh] homies who write good music.
Seb: Hamilton Morris.
Ryan: Derek Jeter.
Lydia: Shane fromThe L Word.

What's in store for feeble little horse this summer?

Jake: Putting out new music and playing shows in new cities.
Lydia: Finding friendship in places we least expect it …

88Nine Music Director / On-Air Talent | Radio Milwaukee