5 Good Modern Psychedelic Rock Bands You Need to Know

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Psychedelic rock is making a comeback in a big way. Here are five modern psychedelic rock bands you need to know about.

The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips are an American rock band formed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in 1983. Fronted by Wayne Coyne on lead vocals and guitar, the band also includes Michael Ivins on bass, Steven Drozd on drums and keyboards, and Derek Brown on guitar. The Flaming Lips are one of the most well-known and respected names in modern psychedelic rock, thanks to their history of critically acclaimed albums and innovative live shows.

The band’s debut album, Hear It Is (1986), was a commercial failure, but their next release, Oh My Gawd!!!…The Flaming Lips (1987), was much more successful, both commercially and critically. From there, the band released a string of highly acclaimed albums throughout the 1990s and 2000s, including Hit to Death in the Future Head (1992), Transmissions from the Satellite Heart (1993), The Soft Bulletin (1999), Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002), At War with the Mystics (2006), Embryonic (2009) ,and The Terror (2013). In addition to their studio work, the Flaming Lips are also known for their elaborate live shows, which often feature theatrical elements such as balloons, costumes, puppets, giant hands, confetti cannons, video projections, and frontman Wayne Coyne’s trademark human-sized plastic bubble.

While the Flaming Lips may not be as prolific as they once were, they remain one of the most important names in psychedelic rock. If you’re looking to get into this mind-bending genre of music, there’s no better place to start than with the Flaming Lips.

Tame Impala

Formed in 2007 in Perth, Australia, Tame Impala is a psychedelic rock band led by Kevin Parker. The band has released three studio albums, Innerspeaker (2010), Lonerism (2012) and Currents (2015). All three albums have been critically acclaimed and have experienced commercial success, with Innerspeaker and Currents both reaching platinum status in Australia.

The band’s sound is often compared to that of 1960s and 1970s psychedelic rock bands such as Pink Floyd and The Beatles. Tame Impala’s music emphasizes trippy sound effects, reverbed guitars and Mellotron-esque keyboards. The band is also known for their extensive use of effects pedals.

In 2016, Tame Impala was nominated for Best International Group at the BRIT Awards.


MGMT is an American rock band formed in 2002 by Benjamin Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden. After the release of their first album, the members of MGMT began to gain popularity in the music world.

The band’s second album, Congratulations, was released in 2010 to critical and commercial success. The album’s single, “Flash Delirium,” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.

MGMT has toured extensively throughout their career, performing at festivals such as Coachella and Lollapalooza. In 2013, the band was inducted into the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame.

The Black Keys

The Black Keys are an American rock band formed in Akron, Ohio, in 2001. The group consists of Dan Auerbach (lead vocals, guitar, bass) and Patrick Carney (drums). Their raw blues rock sound draws heavily from Auerbach’s blues influences, while Carney’s jazz background gives the music a distinctive groove. The Black Keys have released eight studio albums, the most recent being Turn Blue (2014).

The band’s commercial breakthrough came with their 2010 album Brothers, which peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 and went platinum. Their 2012 follow-up El Camino received critical acclaim and hit number two on the Billboard 200, receiving gold certification. Both Brothers and El Camino won Grammy Awards for Best Rock Album. The group’s third album, Turn Blue, was released on May 12, 2014 and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart. It was their first album to reach number one in the United States.

The White Stripes

The White Stripes are an American rock duo formed in 1997 in Detroit, Michigan. The group consists of Jack White (lead vocals, guitar, piano, and mandolin) and Meg White (drums and vocals). After releasing several singles and three albums within the Detroit music scene, The White Stripes rose to prominence in 2002 as part of the garage rock revival scene. Their successful and critically acclaimed albums White Blood Cells (2001) and Elephant (2003) drew attention from a national audience within the United States.

The duo’s stripped-down sound draws heavily from classic rock ‘n’ roll and Delta blues while also incorporating elements of punk rock and garage rock. The White Stripes have had a wide-ranging impact on popular culture, appearing as themselves in various films and television programs and being name-checked by artists as diverse as Pearl Jam, Bruno Mars, Neil Young, and Led Zeppelin.

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