Locals: Psychedelic Horseshit

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

You think you've got Psychedelic Horseshit pegged as a bong-charred lo-fi pop band with a smartass frontman. Then you hear "Laced," the album they'll release on FatCat Records next week, and realize your preconceptions require revision.

Matt Whitehurst, the smartass in question, went back to the drawing board himself while crafting his first album for the label that launched Sigur Ros, Animal Collective and Black Dice.

Discombobulated by the death of his father and bored with the trappings of traditional rock 'n' roll, Whitehurst spliced together a surrealist dreamscape racked by mental pollution. His drug-addled snarl still leads the charge, but there are few brittle guitar jams and no confrontational screeds a la "New Wave Hippies" or "Bad Vibrations."

"I didn't really feel like I had a whole lot of pointed things to say that weren't a rehash or repeating of myself (and I think repeating yourself equals creative death; gotta keep moving), so the record took a bit of a turn towards abstraction and a fascination with dreams and escaping the reality of life and not recognizing the guy you see in the mirror when you wake," Whitehurst wrote in an email between UK tour dates.

If Whitehurst hadn't long proclaimed his love for My Bloody Valentine, this album would do it for him. You can trace a skewed line from "Laced" back to "Loveless," indie rock's ground zero for all things ethereal.

Yet "Laced" is completely singular, a fractured composite of thumping 808s, free-jazz freakouts and angelic synth wash tumbling through Whitehurst's subconscious. Times New Viking's Beth Murphy shows up for "Dead on Arrival," an honest-to-God pretty duet. "Another Side" coyly recreates Bob Dylan in Whitehurst's image, harmonica and all.

To bring the landmark sounds to life, Whitehurst recruited longtime collaborator Ryan Jewell, his only permanent band mate now that original drummer Rich Johnston traded his cardboard kick drum for a career in comedy. They've got loads of tour dates in the works, though Whitehurst hopes to begin the next album as soon as possible.

"I think it's gonna definitely connect with far more people than we ever have before, which is something that I've been wanting to do for a while," Whitehurst wrote. "Just gotta do it without sacrificing my vision or indivi(duality)."

Buy it:


Out May 10 on FatCat Records

Go deeper:

Read more of Matt Whitehurst's interview on the Sensory Overload blog at columbusalive.com.