Psychedelic Horseshit
Acid Tape
Fan Death

True, we tend to focus on our hometown locals quite a bit here on the Agit Reader, and we also tend to nurture a select few, like Psychedelic Horseshit’s bummer existence, which is one we tend to romanticize and scrutinize with equal aplomb. There’s nothing inherently missing in Columbus, just some attack it more with discovery than tradition, and those entities deserve the extra ink. Keeping up with the saga of Horseshit seems to be more a requirement than lip service. The Acid Tape is a glaring reason why their music is continually vital sustenance for those listening, and soon will be folklore to kids discovering all the nooks and crannies later in time. Even if Horseshit began their noble experiment giving out burnt discs of three-song bruisers, the match between Matt Whitehurst’s dreary social commentary and expanding sonic palette and a disposable analog tape is optimal. Of course, the cassette has become yet another celebrated medium, almost to the point of fetish, for a number of bands to make use of. I see it as natural, as a large portion of my youth was spent in tape outlets, with boomboxes, and dubbing copies of mixtapes. A tape takes more effort these days than even a piece of vinyl, but that hasn’t stopped the undies from issuing loads of exclusive material onto handily crafted plastic artifacts.

Horseshit is a band of discovery because of their forced regression; as they evolve and Whitehurst’s vision of an MBV cum VU cum post-gabber-dub-idioteque universe gets clearer, they’ve made their work somewhat less accessible. Before Acid Tape, the Too Many Hits double-single was far and wide their most concise and enjoyable record, but only available to a handful of subscribers. (Not to worry, methinks this is getting a proper reissue.) Acid Tape will require you to seek out a deck to play it on once you procure one of the few copies hiding around. Acid Tape is discovery because you’re bound to become more attached to Horseshit once you hear what they are up to in the present, as it was likely spit out a week before this tape was submitted for approval.

From the absolute beginning, the inclusion of samples and spacey atmosphere to transmit OMD-worthy swoon is ingrained. “Unseen Voids” might even be confused for “chillwave,” if it weren’t for Whitehurst’s blunt, exploratory, barely sung tenets. Light as they sound, this is the chunky innards of Horseshit’s core, beautifully blown-out, though you’re beginning to hear softer hues peering through and infinity waves rolling over the white noise. That song bleeds perfectly into “Modern Daze,” a five-minute obsession with Whitehurst’s dancefloor side, flirting with downer Panda Bear circularities, sparkling junk piles floating in thrift beats and samples resembling glitch and greebo (look it up). Here we find the Shitgaze equivalent of Radiohead (circa Kid A) fucking with their fanbase. I’ve always pushed Horseshit to capture what can be done onstage when Whitehurst sits alone with his machines. “Modern Daze” is that track finally, probably conceived whilst stumbling around the studio, hitting different buttons and nobs and pedals, finding the ultimate trance settings to make such a stunner. Incredibly it ends (due to the parameters of a cassette?) pumping through the speakers like a sun-warped Miami bass tape.

Elsewhere, serious as ever about dub music but without the toaster, the soundsystem and the Ark, “Hard As It Gets (Chill Sax Mix)” is exactly what the band has been searching for in this journey towards transcendence. Horseshit has flirted with dub renditions endlessly, but none of them have been this authentic, yet true to the trash filters through which a Horseshit song is typically run. Variety has always been a shining characteristic of the band’s releases, and Acid Tape jumps through a number of costumes while rarely changing purpose or inventiveness. “Tired Bluez” is tired blues, with the “z” perhaps mocking certain circles of revisionists with a self-serving tablespoon of rot chords. “Gliderz” is a delightfully trippy mockery of one-hit bloggin’ lo-fi sensations (hence the hipster nomenclature), only it’s catchier than anything I’ve heard in months. Finally “Bleak Vacations” (notice the absence of the “z”) is Horseshit at its most focused and communal. I recently saw a clusterfuck performance by Horseshit and Pink Reason helping each other out on their respective sets. It was magic in its symbiosis. As long as the players are following along with Whitehurst’s madcap pied-piper cadence, what occurs on this finale could truly go on forever. Sure, it’s “Sister Ray” surrounded by new wave hippies and slime, but it’s also quite liberating, groovy and even breezy when it denounces breeziness, as nasty as they want to be.
Kevin J. Elliott