Every once in a great while, a previously unheard opening act at a concert makes the listener wonder just what kind of substances they're on -- or, perhaps more disturbingly, if they're that way without substances. Recent Quintron tourmates Psychedelic Horseshit simultaneously annoyed and captivated me during their aggressively strange, seemingly endless set at the High Noon Saloon.
At first I thought they were joking; three dudes banging away (the drummer using a cardboard box for a bass drum), "led" by a singer who on the surface appeared to be doing his best just to remain upright. When the racket continued past the first couple songs, I eventually began to wonder if there was more method going on than initially met the ear.
The singer/guitarist was manipulating far too many pedals and electronic devices to be quite as wasted as he appeared, and, interestingly, had blocked getting an easy view of just what he was doing. Weirder still, once I started paying attention there were some actual songs hiding among all the chaos. Extra crowd irritation points were earned by declaring a song to be their last, then continuing for a couple more. While I wasn't entirely sure I had really understood or even exactly enjoyed their performance, it was certainly the best spectacle I'd seen on stage for awhile, and a worthy warm-up for the frenzy of Quintron and Miss Pussycat.
Later in the night I asked the second guitarist if the band had any recordings, and he answered that he wasn't sure. About a week later, though, I stumbled on an LP called Golden Oldies, and was intrigued enough to pick it up. The album proves that there is indeed something in the water in the group's home base of Columbus, Ohio, and more to the band's music than unfocused noise.
Golden Oldies is their second full-length release, and the title is accurate; it's a compilation of early four-track recordings the group had unleashed as CD burns several years ago. Five different EPs are included, and after a few spins the individual character of each is revealed as its own coherent (well, sort of) unit: Sludge rock; relatively straight-up punk rockers; pop songs buried under skronk; an "I discovered this weird keyboard" EP; and the aptly-named "Dancey Pants."
The whole thing is defiantly lo-fi and definitely rewards multiple spins, in attempting to decode just what they're clanking about. Could the whole thing be a put-on? I don't know and don't really care, either; music this beautifully ramshackle rarely comes along that doesn't also mostly suck. I can't wait to hear their first LP, and a promised new one coming up later this year. Viva la Horseshit!