What is Neo-Psychedelic Rock?

A brief explanation of what Neo-Psychedelic Rock is, its origins, and where it’s headed.

Origins of Neo-Psychedelic Rock

The neo-psychedelic movement began in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a revival of the psychedelic rock sound of the 1960s and 1970s. The style is typified by its use of electronic effects and by elements drawn from a wide range of genres, including drone music, krautrock, acid house, and ambient music.

Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock, sometimes referred to as garage rock, is a style of popular music that attempts to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. The genre emerged during the mid-1960s among folk rock and blues rock bands in the United States and the United Kingdom. It reached its peak in popularity between 1967 and 1969, with notable exponents including the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Janis Joplin.

Psychedelic rock blended elements of jazz and R&B into what became known as acid rock for its use of feedback distortion and extended guitar solos often tuned to create new sounds. The earliest proponents of the style were from the British counterculture movement, including such bands as Alex Harvey’s Teenbeats and Mighty Baby. In Britain, psychedelic music was alsoBeginning in 1967–68 influenced by the introduction of American soul music by groups such as Traffic. Psychedelic soul would go on to have a significant impact on subsequent generations of R&B artists.

The genre’s popularity waned in the early 1970s with changes in fashion and drug culture; however it has undergone a revival since the 1990s with bands such as The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Spacemen 3, Monster Magnet, The Flaming Lips, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Pyschedelic Folk

Psychedelic folk (sometimes acid folk) is a subgenre of psychedelic rock that developed in the late 1960s. It is typified by a preoccupation with Indian culture and Eastern religions,Topics addressed in psychedelic folk include love, politics, and the nature of reality.

Psychedelic folk often incorporates elements of Indian music and instrumentation, as well as traditional folk instrumentation. Instruments commonly used include sitars, tablas, electric guitars, and doumbeks. The Electric Prunes, Kaleidoscope, and Love were among the first psychedelic folk groups to gain prominence.

Key Characteristics of Neo-Psychedelic Rock

Neo-psychedelic rock is a subgenre of psychedelic rock that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The music is characterized by its use of electronic effects, unusual sound textures, and often atypical instrumentation. The lyrics often deal with counterculture, globalism, and social issues.


One of the key characteristics of neo-psychedelic rock is that it is experimental. This means that the genre is not afraid to experiment with different sounds, styles, and techniques. This can be seen in the use of traditional instruments like guitars and drums, as well as the use of synthesizers and other electronic sounds. Neo-psychedelic rock bands often make use of unusual time signatures and song structures, which can make their music sound very different from traditional rock music.

Diverse influences

Neo-psychedelic rock is a subgenre of rock music that became popular in the late 1960s and drew influence from psychedelic pop, garage rock, acid rock, and electronic music. While its roots may be traced back to the British Invasion of the mid 1960s, neo-psychedelia developed in different countries at different times.

In the United Kingdom, the subgenre was incubated by groups such as The Moody Blues and Pink Floyd, who abandoned traditional pop structures in favor of extended improvisation and experimental soundscapes. In the United States, it was The Grateful Dead and their jam band ethos that helped to foster an environment where neo-psychedelia could flourish.

In Canada, bands like CAN and The Guess Who mixed psychedelia with more conventional pop song structures to create a sound that would come to be known as “ sunshine pop.” Psychedelic soul, funk, and even country also had an impact on the development of neo-psychedelia. By the early 1970s, groups like Roxy Music and Television were blending elements of all these genres to create a new musical landscape.

Neo-psychedelia is typified by its use of distorted guitars, extended improvisation, and disregard for traditional verse/chorus song structure. Lyrics are often surreal or existentialist in nature.

Eclectic instrumentation

Neo-psychedelic rock is a subgenre of psychedelic rock that developed in the 1970s as a reaction against thepbland and formulaic music of the psychedelic pop genre. Musicians who were interested in exploring more experimental and far-out sounds began to incorporating elements of other genres, such as funk, krautrock, and dub. This led to a more eclectic approach to instrumentation, with bands often utilizing sitars, Mellotrons, Moogs, and various types of percussion.

Neo-Psychedelic Rock in the 21st Century

For a long time, Psychedelic Rock music was considered to be a thing of the past. However, in the 21st century, there has been a resurgence of the genre, with a new generation of bands taking influence from the Psychedelic Rock of the past. This new subgenre of Psychedelic Rock is known as Neo-Psychedelic Rock, and it is becoming increasingly popular.

The revival of Psychedelic Rock

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, a new wave of bands began to emerge that were influenced by the original psychedelic rock bands of the 1960s and 1970s. These new bands, often referred to as neo-psychedelic or revivalist psychedelic bands, blended the sounds of their predecessors with modern pop and rock sensibilities.

Some of the most popular neo-psychedelic bands include The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Dandy Warhols, Tame Impala, andMGMT. These bands typically make use of sonic experimentation, extended jams, and imaginative lyrics to create an otherworldly sound that is both nostalgic and modern.

While neo-psychedelic rock is not as commercially successful as it was in its heyday, the 21st century has seen a renewed interest in the genre. In 2010, Rolling Stone magazine even declared Tame Impala’s album Innerspeaker to be the best neo-psychedelic album of all time. If you’re looking to explore the genre further, be sure to check out some of the recommended albums below.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Take It From The Man! (1996)
The Dandy Warhols – Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia (2000)
Tame Impala – Innerspeaker (2010)
MGMT – Oracular Spectacular (2007)

The influence of Neo-Psychedelic Rock

In the 21st century, neo-psychedelic rock has continued to enjoy a popular revival. Bands such as Tame Impala, MGMT, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre have blended Classic Rock, Psychedelic Rock, and Electronic Dance Music to create a unique sound that has appealed to a new generation of music fans.

Neo-psychedelic rock bands often make use of extended jam sessions, elaborate stage shows, and Electronic Dance Music-inspired production techniques. These elements have helped to create a more immersive and engaging live experience for concertgoers.

Many neo-psychedelic rock bands have been influenced by the original psychedelic rock bands of the 1960s and 1970s. In particular, Tame Impala has cited Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and The Beach Boys as major influences on their sound. Similarly, MGMT has listed Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, The Velvet Underground, and Talking Heads as major influences.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre is one of the most well-known neo-psychedelic rock bands of the 21st century. The band was formed in 1990 by Anton Newcombe and has released thirteen studio albums. The band is known for its experimental approach to music making and Newcombe’s often erratic behavior.

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