I first discovered Psychic TV at an outdoor rave in rural Wisconsin. The event was a campout called Little Further, and there was so much acid floating around that you could find tabs sitting on the grass as if the shit just grew there. Needless to say, it was a fun-filled weekend of naked men sifting through the dirt for "lost glasses," spray-painted pentagrams, and gigantic bunny suits.

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The last day of the campout was Sunday, and by this point people were downright demented. So this guy, "the Rat" (real name unknown), decided to play some old industrial records to liven up the scene. The first thing he played was Psychic TV's 1988 album Jack the Tab. It instantly cleared the floor. I thought the Rat was trying to piss people off, so I stuck through 10 minutes of Timothy Leary samples just to spite him. He rewarded my patience by playing "Meet Every Situation Head On," a dance track that sounded like short-attention-span Chicago house. There was no groove whatsoever; the bass line changed every 10 seconds. Yet it was oddly catchy...

I later discovered that most of Jack the Tab, including "Meet Every Situation...," was done by Psychic TV mastermind Genesis P-Orridge, along with producer Richard Norris. The story went that Genesis heard some early examples of Chicago acid house and decided to cook up a UK version of the scene. So he and Norris created a series of tracks using fake aliases, hoping to trigger a bandwagon effect. It worked, sort of. Nerds still quibble over Psychic TV's actual role in instigating the 1988 UK "summer of love."

Jack the Tab is just one of the styles Psychic TV dabbled in, though. The band's massive discography covers a million bases, making it completely daunting for most newcomers. However, a good place to start is 1982's Force the Hand of Chance, a huge influence on noisy neofolk. There's also the jangly psychedelia of the band's best single, "Godstar," which has a wonderfully bizarre video to accompany it. Not to be discounted is the industrial folk on 2007's Hell Is Invisible... Heaven Is Her/e, if only for the Nick Zinner guest appearance.

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So far, the intellectual spectacle of Genesis's "pandrogeny" is one path I've yet to traverse. I've taken the slightly dumber, music-only route. But I figure the Rat would've wanted it that way.

Psychic TV play Wed Aug 22 at Neumo's.