Surfy Psychedelic Rock: The Sound of the Summer

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Surfy psychedelic rock is the perfect soundtrack to your summer. Learn about the history of this genre and find out which artists are keeping it alive today.

The History of Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock, often referred to as simply psyrock or psygarage, is a subgenre of rock music that originated in the 1960s. It is characterized by distorted guitars, mind-altering lyrics, and extended improvisation sessions. The genre’s popularity peaked in the mid- to late-1960s, but it continues to influence the music of today.

Psychedelic Rock Origins

Psychedelic rock, also called psychedelic pop, acid rock, or hippie music, style of rock music popular in the late 1960s that was largely inspired by hallucinogens, such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and attempts to replicate the experience of taking the drug. The style often made heavy use of extended improvisation; distorted electric guitars, feedback, and extreme droning were common elements. The music was intended to induce a Trance state or dreamlike state similar to that experienced during intoxication with drugs such as marijuana and LSD.

Psychedelic rock developed out of two main musical currents in the early to mid-1960s: British rhythm and blues (R&B) and American garage rock. In 1964–65 the Beatles popularized British R&B with a series of hits that incorporated elements of the new style, including “I Feel Fine” (1964), “She’s a Woman” (1964), “Ticket to Ride” (1965), and “Day Tripper” (1965). At about the same time in the United States, young bands such as the Lovin’ Spoonful, the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels began to blend R&B with folk-rock—a softer version of electric rock that relied on acoustic guitars and traditional pop melodies—and other influences. The result was a more polished version of garage rock that retained some of its raw energy while adding greater melodic sophistication and structural complexity.

The British Invasion

Psychedelic rock, often referred to simply as psychedelia, is a style of rock music that was inspired by psychedelic culture and seeked to reflect the effects of hallucinogenic drugs. The genre developed in the mid-1960s with the British band The Beatles being at the forefront, and soon spread to other countries, including the United States. Psychedelic rock reached its peak popularity in the late 1960s and early 1970s with bands such as Pink Floyd, The Doors, and Led Zeppelin. However, the genre fell out of favor in the late 1970s and was largely replaced by punk rock.

The Sound of Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock, often called simply psy rock or psychedelia, is a style of rock music that emerged in the mid-1960s. Psychedelic rock is characterized by distorted guitars, mind-altering lyrics, and trippy sound effects. The sound of psychedelic rock often brings to mind the Summer of Love and the hippie movement of the 1960s.

The Electric Guitar

The electric guitar is a key instrument in psychedelic rock music. It is typically played with a lot of distortion and reverb to create an otherworldly sound. Effects pedals such as wah-wah and fuzz are often used to further distort the sound of the guitar. The Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix were both known for their use of the electric guitar in psychedelic rock music.

The Bass Guitar

The electric bass guitar is the foundation of rock and roll. Its thunderous, low-end sound drives the rhythm and propels the beat. The best bass lines are catchy and memorable, but they also lay down a solid groove that keeps the music moving forward.

Psychedelic rock bands often featured extended jams where the bass player would take center stage and showcase their skills. In this type of improvising, the bass player would try to create interesting and unusual sounds by playing around with the various effects pedals at their feet. This style of playing helped to create the distinctive sound of psychedelic rock.

Today, psychedelic rock bands are still drawing inspiration from the past and creating new sounds for the future. If you’re looking for a dose of nostalgia or just want to hear some killer bass playing, be sure to check out some of these surfy psychedelic rock bands.

The Drums

The drums are the foundation of any good psychedelic rock song, and they should be able to hold their own against the rest of the instruments. The most important thing to remember is that the drums should be tight and in time with the rest of the band. If they are too loose, the whole song will sound sloppy.

The other important factor to consider is the type of drum sound you want. Psychedelic rock songs often have a very “live” drum sound, which means that the drums were recorded in a room with other instruments and people. This gives the drums a natural reverb and makes them sound like they’re in the same space as the rest of the band.

Another option is to use electronic drums, which can give your song a more modern sound. However, it’s important to make sure that the electronic drums don’t overpower the rest of the instruments.

The Legacy of Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock, also referred to as “acid rock”, is a style of popular music that emerged in the 1960s. The genre is characterized by electric guitars, often played through electronic effects, and by the use of psychedelic drugs. The style was pioneered by American and British bands such as the Beach Boys, the Byrds, Cream, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and the Rolling Stones.

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 in history. Rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock and roll, the Beatles later experimented with several musical styles, ranging from pop ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard 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, led by primary songwriters Lennon and McCartney, the band came to be perceived as the embodiment of progressive ideals compared to the pop mainstream of the time.

The Beatles built their reputation performing live shows throughout the UK during 1962–1964. From 1965 onwards, they produced what many critics consider to be some of the finest pop music ever recorded. Their songs, such as “Yesterday”, “Hey Jude” and “Let It Be”, have become timeless classics.

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones are often cited as one of the seminal psychedelic rock bands. While the band did not fully embrace the psychedelic sound, their music was nonetheless informed by the countercultural zeitgeist of the 1960s. The Stones’ 1967 album Their Satanic Majesties Request is widely regarded as their most overtly psychedelic work, with its use of distorted guitars, sitar, and other effects. The album’s single “She’s a Rainbow” is a prime example of the band’s forays into psychedelic territory.

Jimi Hendrix

Few guitarists have inspired as much awe and reverence as Jimi Hendrix. A self-taught virtuoso, he wowed audiences with his ability to coax a wide range of sounds and textures from his instrument, pushing the limits of what was possible on the electric guitar. His innovative style paved the way for generations of rock guitarists who would come after him, and his band The Jimi Hendrix Experience would leave a lasting mark on the sound of psychedelic rock.

The Future of Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock is a genre that is often misunderstood. It is not just a bunch of hippies jamming out on guitars and singing about love and peace. Psychedelic rock is a complex and nuanced genre that has a rich history and a bright future. In this article, we will explore the origins of psychedelic rock and its evolution over the years.

The New Psychedelic Rockers

Psychedelic rockers are a new breed of musician that is surfacing in the music industry. They are combining the sounds of classic psychedelic rock with modern pop and indie sensibilities. This new genre has been catching on with many young people who are looking for something different in their music.Psychedelic rockers have a fresh sound that is both exciting and nostalgic. It is the perfect blend of old and new, and it is sure to be the sound of the summer.

The New Sound of Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock is a style of rock music that is inspired, influenced, or representative of psychedelic culture, and attempts to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. It often uses new recording techniques and effects and draws on non-Western sources such as the ragas and drones of Indian music.

Psychedelic rock reached its peak in the late 1960s with bands such as the Grateful Dead, Santana, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, and The Doors. By the early 1970s, the scene had fragmentation due to disagreements over aesthetics and drug use; new stars such as David Bowie, Roxy Music, and Alice Cooper emerged; while punk rock developed a sneering attitude towards everything associated with psychedelic culture.

In the 1980s and 1990s there was a revival of interest in psychedelic rock led by bands such as Spacemen 3, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, My Bloody Valentine, The Black Angels, and The Warlocks. In the 2000s and 2010s there has been a further resurgence with bands such as Tame Impala, FlyLo (Flying Lotus), STU (Space Taco University), Allah-Las, Psychic Ills & others leading what has been termed a “psychedelic renaissance” or “third wave” of the genre.

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