Contemporary Psychedelic Rock: The Best of Both Worlds

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


If you’re a fan of both psychedelic rock and contemporary music, then you’ll love this blog post! We’ve compiled a list of the best contemporary psychedelic rock bands that are fusing the two genres together to create something truly unique and exciting.

Psychedelic Rock Basics

Psychedelic rock emerged in the 1960s and is characterized by distorted guitars, trippy lyrics, and mind-bending sound effects. The genre is a fusion of rock and roll with psychedelic and mind-altering drugs such as LSD. The Beatles and The Rolling Stones are two of the most famous psychedelic rock bands.

Defining Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock is a style of rock music that is inspired or influenced by psychedelic culture and attempts to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. The music is intended to replicate and enhance the experience of psychedelics, often using louder volumes, feedback, distorted guitars, chords, lyrics about drug use and social commentary.

The Origins of Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock, also referred to as garage rock, is a genre of popular music that originated in the United States and United Kingdom in the mid-1960s. The genre is characterized by a distorted, electric guitar-driven sound, penetrating lyrics about love and other mind-altering experiences, and often drug-related themes. Psychedelic rock reached its peak of popularity in the late 1960s with landmark albums such as The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Pink Floyd’s The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Are You Experienced?

The genre is often seen as a merge of garage rock and psychedelic pop, with early bands such as The Byrds and Love being influential in both scenes. Psychedelic rock was also highly influential on subsequent genres such as punk rock, glam rock, and hard rock.

The Sound of Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock is a genre that takes the best of both worlds, the classic sound of rock and the mind-bending experience of psychedelics. It’s a sound that’s both familiar and otherworldly, and it’s a sound that never gets old. Let’s take a look at some of the best psychedelic rock bands of all time.

The Key Elements of Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock is a style of rock music that emerged in the late 1960s. The term is typically used to describe songs that incorporate elements of psychedelic music, such as extended instrumental sections, acid rock-influenced riffs, and mind-altering lyrical themes.

Psychedelic rock began to fall out of favor in the early 1970s as the market for mind-altering drugs began to wane, but the style has seen something of a resurgence in recent years with the rise of contemporary acts like Tame Impala,MGMT, and Temples.

Despite its name, psychedelic rock doesn’t necessarily have to sound “trippy” or “out there.” At its core, it’s just good old-fashioned rock music that incorporates some or all of the following elements:

-Extended instrumental sections: Many psychedelic rock songs are known for their lengthy jams, which often make use of feedback, reverb, and other sonic effects to create a swirling, trippy soundscape.

-Acid rock-influenced riffs: Psychedelic rock is often indebted to the early pioneers of acid rock like Jimi Hendrix and Jefferson Airplane. Many psychedelic songs make use of distorted, feedback-laden guitar riffs reminiscent of Hendrix’s best work.

-Mind-altering lyrical themes: Psychedelic lyrics often deal with topics like drug use, extraterrestrial life, and expanded consciousness.

The Influence of Psychedelic Rock

Though its origins are often traced back to the mid-’60s, psychedelic rock didn’t reach its commercial and cultural peak until the following decade. The genre’s explosion in popularity was due in part to the flower power movement of the late ’60s, as well as the growing popularity of mind-altering drugs like LSD. Psychedelic rock was also informed by Eastern religions and philosophies, which helped to give the music a more spiritual edge.

In terms of its sound, psychedelic rock was characterized by extended song structures, unusual instrumentation, and trippy sound effects. These elements were designed to create an immersive experience that would take listeners on a “trip.” Many psychedelic rock bands also made use of light shows and other visuals during their live performances in order to enhance the audience’s experience.

While it would eventually fall out of favor with mainstream audiences, psychedelic rock would go on to exert a significant influence on subsequent genres like punk rock, new wave, and metal. Some of the genre’s most popular and influential bands include The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, and The Grateful Dead.

The Best Psychedelic Rock Bands

While the Psychedelic Rock genre may have lost some of its luster in recent years, there are still a few bands out there keeping the sound alive. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best Psychedelic Rock bands currently making music. So if you’re a fan of the genre, or are just looking to discover some new music, this list is for you.

The Beatles

The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. With members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they became widely regarded as the foremost and most influential music band of the 20th century. Rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock and roll, the Beatles later utilised several genres, ranging from pop ballads to psychedelic rock, often incorporating classical elements and unconventional recording techniques in innovative ways. In 1963, their enormous popularity first emerged as “Beatlemania”; as the group’s music grew in sophistication following their succession of hit singles, so did their experimentation. After their break-up in 1970, they each enjoyed successful musical careers of varying lengths. McCartney and Starr remain musically active.

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones are one of the most important and influential bands of all time. They’ve been at the forefront of rock and roll for over 50 years, and their impact is still being felt today. When it comes to psychedelic rock, the Stones were one of the first bands to experiment with the genre, and they’ve continued to push boundaries throughout their career. From their early hits like “Paint It Black” and “Ruby Tuesday” to more recent tracks like “Doom and Gloom” and “Hate To See You Go”, the Stones have always had a flair for the unusual and the experimental. If you’re a fan of psychedelic rock, then you need to check out the Rolling Stones.

The Doors

The Doors were an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore. They were unique and among the most controversial and influential rock acts of the 1960s, mostly because of Morrison’s lyrics and charismatic but unpredictable stage persona. After the band’s first album, The Doors (1967), they released 13 more studio albums, before Morrison’s death at age 27 in 1971.

The surviving trio returned to touring over the next several years but struggled to replace Morrison’s star power and creative insignificance; after Krieger and Densmore reconnected creatively on an album called Other Voices (1971), ManzarekConcluding that working as “The Doors” without Morrison was futile, the group broke up in 1973. Eight years later, they reformed with new guitarist Roy Rogers for a final album, An American Prayer (1978), featuring previously unreleased lyrics by Morrison.

The Future of Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock is a genre of rock music that is inspired, or influenced by, psychedelic culture and attempts to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. It often uses new recording techniques and effects, and sometimes incorporates elements of other genres, such as funk, electronica, jazz, and folk.

The Legacy of Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock is a subgenre of rock music that emerged in the 1960s. It is characterized by a distorted sonic palette, extended guitar solos, and lyrics that often explore themes of drug use and social injustice. Though it faded from the mainstream in the 1970s, psychedelic rock has exerted a lasting influence on subsequent generations of musicians. In the 1990s and 2000s, a new wave of psychedelic bands emerged, blending the sounds of classic psychedelia with contemporary indie rock and shoegaze. These “psychedelic revivalists” have been credited with revitalizing the genre and introducing it to a new generation of listeners.

The Resurgence of Psychedelic Rock

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in psychedelic rock, a genre that was popular in the 1960s and 1970s. There are a number of factors that have contributed to this resurgenc

One factor is the increased availability of mind-altering substances such as LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, and DMT. These substances are often used by people who are looking for new and unusual experiences, and psychedelic rock provides them with a soundtrack for their trips.

Another factor is the popularity of retro culture. In an era where everything old is new again, it’s no surprise that people are rediscovering the sounds of Psychedelic Rock. The music is seen as an antidote to the highly-produced and sanitized pop music that dominates the charts.

Finally, there is the appeal of rebellion. Psychedelic rock has always been associated with countercultural movements, and in an age of political turmoil, its messages of peace and love are more relevant than ever.

If you’re interested in exploring this genre, there are a few contemporary artists who are keeping the Psychedelic Rock flame alive. Here are some of our favorites:

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