For most of us it's the defining point at which we become fully fledged adolescents; the instant when one or both of your parents screams "Do you call that music?" down the hall, in doing so unwittingly erecting a permanent generational barrier. For me it was the dulcet tones of Morrissey – yodeling his way disconsolately through "The Headmaster Ritual" that finally caused my father's patience to snap, prompting him to mercilessly ridicule the Mancunian's vocal idiosyncrasies, all with the futile purpose of embarrassing me into embracing an alternative musical role model.
The cycle is, of course, never ending. Take the current micro-scene centered around DIY punk featured in the New Musical Express' forward looking Radar section in April, it's loosely composed of a number of largely unaffiliated bands – Times New Viking, Pink Reason, TV Ghost – but the one with arguably the most profile is Psychedelic Horseshit.
Matt (vocals,guitars) and Rich (Drums, shoes) from Columbus, Ohio are "The Shit", a duo who apparently have spent much of their formative years listening to the art-rock of early Sonic Youth and coveting the dishevelment of Beck. With the breathless arrogance of intense self belief, they've even labeled the scene around them as "Shitgaze". They're also creating a furious debate in the blogsphere, the kind of diametrically opposed points of view where either they're the epitome of redux no wave cool or talentless anti music dark matter. The creation of opinions as polarized as this tells you intuitively that something big is about to happen – if the progenitors want it to.
When a copy of the duo's single "New Wave Hippies" came across my desk I decided that whatever side of the debate I came out on, it was a chance to test whether or not I'd subconsciously slipped across the divide towards musical self disenfranchisement. An EP of sorts with five tracks, it would be easy for the casual listener to dismiss "New Wave Hippies" as a joke – it opens with a mercifully brief cod-reggae jam (Dub Gaze) and closes with a demo quality krautrock montage ("Magick Defends Itself Pt. 3") – whilst in between there are squalls of misdirected feedback and song writing so brittle a twelve year old wouldn't waste it on their MySpace. And yet in amongst the kind of shambolic torpor and lack of musical proficiency which makes Dinosaur Jr. seem like Aerosmith, there is a seed of trash genius. The title track has an indisputable resonance, sounding vaguely like a roughed up Suicide and containing the magical lyric "Occasional psychos, but mainly just nice folks" whilst having a weird hummability that will lodge in your subconscious for weeks.
Perhaps my indecision this means that I haven't quite crossed over to the other side yet. All you can do is take the Psychedelic Horseshit test yourself.
Psychedelic Horseshit's new single "New Wave Hippies" is released in the UK on July 21st.
Their album Magic Flowers Drone is available now on Siltbreeze records.Powered by Sidelines