Psychedelic Surf Rock Bands You Need to Know About

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The Psychedelic Surf Rock genre is one that is often overlooked. However, there are some great bands out there making some amazing music. In this blog post, we will highlight some of the best Psychedelic Surf Rock bands that you need to know about!

The Growlers

The Growlers are a psychedelic surf rock band from Orange County, California. The band was formed in 2006 by singer/guitarist Brooks Nielsen and lead guitarist Matt Caughthran. The Growlers have released six studio albums, with their latest being 2019’s Natural Affair. The band is known for their unique blend of surf rock, garage rock, and psychedelic rock.

Their sound

Growlers have a very distinct and easily recognizable sound. They use a lot of reverb and delay on their guitars to create a very ‘wet’ sound, which is then paired with often complex or unusual chord progressions. This gives their music a very atmospheric and sometimes ethereal feeling. Vocalist Brooks Nielsen’s voice is also essential to their sound; he has a very deep, gravelly voice which fits perfectly with the band’s moody, surf-inspired aesthetic.

Their story

The Growlers are a band from Orange County, California, who formed in 2006. The band currently consists of singer/guitarist Brooks Nielsen, lead guitarist Matt Taylor, keyboardist/guitarist Kyle Straka, bassist Anthony Braun Perry and drummer Scott Montoya.

The Growlers self-released their first album, Are You In or Out?, in 2009. The album was recorded in a converted chicken coop that the band had turned into a studio, and it received positive reviews from critics.

In 2012, the band released their second album, Hung at Heart. The album was recorded in a proper studio this time around, and it helped the band gain more exposure. They toured extensively in support of the album, and they even appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

The Growlers’ third album, Chinese Fountain, was released in 2014. The album was once again well-received by critics, and it solidified the band’s status as one of the best psychedelic surf rock bands around.

The Growlers are currently working on their fourth album, which is set to be released sometime in 2016. In the meantime, you can catch them live on their world tour, which kicks off in April.

The Allah-Las

Allah-Las are a psychedelic surf rock band from Los Angeles, California. The band consists of Miles Michaud (vocals, guitar), Pedrum Siadatian (guitar), Spencer Dunham (bass), and Matthew Correia (drums). The band’s name is derived from the 1960s Las Vegas lounge act, The Allah-La’s.

Their sound

Since forming in 2008, the Allah-Las have been lauded for their hazy, guitar-driven sound that would fit just as easily at a ‘60s beach party as it would in a modern-day surf film. The quartet — guitarist/singer Miles Michaud, bassist Spencer Dunham, guitarist Pedrum Siadatian and drummer Matthew Correia — trade in vintage instruments and wardrobe, and try to replicate the sounds of classic psychedelic pop and rock & roll.

While their musical peers might be content to make references to ‘60s pop culture, the Allah-Las are actually attempting to recreate it. On their 2012 self-titled debut album, they nailed the era’s hazy, reverb-drenched sound; songs like “Catamaran” and “Busman’s Holiday” evoke a bygone era of beachside pleasures and summer love. It’s no small feat for a band that formed in the middle of Los Angeles — far from any coastline.

Their story

The Allah-Las are a psychedelic surf rock band from Los Angeles, California. The band was formed in 2008 by Pedrum Siadatian (guitar, vocals), Miles Michaud (vocals, guitar), Spencer Dunham (bass, vocals), and Matthew Correia (drums). The band’s self-titled debut album was released in 2012 to critical acclaim.

The band has been described as “a charming throwback to the sounds of early-’60s garage and surf rock.” Their music has been featured in several films and TV shows, including the 2013 film The Bling Ring and the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black.

The Allah-Las released their latest album, Calico Review, in 2016. The album was recorded at Sunset Sound in Hollywood and was produced by Nick Waterhouse.

The Black Angels

The Black Angels are an American psychedelic rock band from Austin, Texas. The band was formed in 2004 by Alex Maas, Christian Bland, and Jennifer Raines. The Black Angels have released five studio albums, the most recent being Death Song in 2017. The band is known for their dark and atmospheric sound, which is heavily influenced by the 60s psychedelic rock scene.

Their sound

Characterized by a mix of ’60s garage rock and surf music with ethereal, psychedelic leanings, the vintage sound of The Black Angels has been described as “a modern take on classic psychedelia”. Though they have been praised for their commitment to creating “authentic” psychedelic rock, the band has stated that they do not try to sound like any specific band from the past and that their work is more influenced by movies, books, and visual art.

Their story

The Black Angels are a psychedelic rock band from Austin, Texas. Formed in 2004, the band is composed of Alex Maas (vocals, keyboards), Christian Bland (guitar, keyboards), Kyle Hunt (guitar), and Stephanie Bailey (drums). The Black Angels have released five studio albums, the most recent of which is Death Song (2017).

The band’s name comes from the Velvet Underground song “The Black Angel’s Death Song”. The Black Angels were inspired by the late-’60s psychedelic rock of the Velvet Underground and 13th Floor Elevators. The band has said that their music is “psychedelic not just in sound but also in feeling … an attempt to make music that would evoke a physiological reaction as well as a psychological one”.

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