Psychedelic Horseshit
Golden Oldies

The title may be tongue-in-cheek, but Golden Oldies really does take me back to the days before John Norris, Washington Post–published public rants and rotating bassists. I know it was only a few years ago when Psychedelic Horseshit appeared out of a cloud of dust, with a cardboard box for a kick drum, a Filipino bassist bouncing around to his own notes and a front man spitting verse as vicious as his guitar parts were incoherent. But with the music biz being what it is, chewing up and spitting out “of the moment” interests monthly—“lo-fi” apparently being one of its most recent culprits—Psychedelic Horseshit’s beginnings seem like a lifetime ago.

It may seem passe today, but stapling together a few pieces of collaged paper around a 10-minute long CD-R and calling it a release was a statement at the time. Even more important was the purpose of the music within, very much a necessary cog in the Columbus scene that seemed to unite around the fuck-it energy that TNV and Horseshit collectively brought to the dive dwellers around town. Matt Whitehurst vented like there was no (weed) tomorrow, piecing together enough biting words, melody and black humor to attract a scene. People listened, and not just in Columbus, but that’s another story. Back then we just traded beers for his newest CDRs, with titles like King Tubby’s Badness Dub and Blown Speaker Standards—how could you not want them all?

Golden Oldies collects the five early experiments (the two aforementioned EPs plus The Anticoncept, Dancey Pants and Summertime Suicide) from these budding minds, plus two bonus cuts from the era. Back in those days, Horseshit possessed a permanent bassist named Jason “Rolo” Roxas, who complimented Matt and Rich perfectly in those halcyon times, playing a rudimentary pop low-end in the spirit of DIY heroes like Desperate Bicycles and the Homosexuals. Rolo’s presence did make the band different than what they are today. It was and always will be Matt and Rich’s project—Matt as the piper and Rich as comedian—but Jason gave them more the feel of a “whole” band, even though their in-fights became public every time they took the stage at Cafe Bourbon Street. The three were a dilapidated post-punk hippie family, equally dysfunctional and brilliant.

The perspective of three years plus has served these four-track recordings well. The tracks veer between dubbed-out, jam experiments and the flat-out pop perfection of tracks like “Can’t Get Enough” (I remember people comparing it to the Strokes back then, ha!) and the Pavement-esque “Anxiety of Influence,” or “Nothing Is New,” where Whitehurst happily admits what would become the duo’s mantra in the years to come, singing “I wanna be poisoned/Can’t wait to be used/I wanna be famous/And act like a fool/’Cause nothing is new.”

It is telling for a writer to admit these feelings right off the bat. Therein lies the charm of Psychedelic Horseshit: never a front, never dull, but never perfect. The band and their rotating set of bassists still live by these rules and are making music just as valid as the stuff they scraped together back in the day. But to sniff their smelly essence you must start from the beginning, in this tidy little package that for the first time in a while is much more than a record in a sleeve. This was and still is the truth.
Doug Elliott