The Best Psychedelic Rock Albums You’ve Never Heard

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking for some new music to check out? Why not give psychedelic rock a try? Here are some of the best psychedelic rock albums that you’ve probably never heard before.

The Psychedelic Furs-Talk Talk Talk

The Psychedelic Furs’ debut album, Talk Talk Talk, may not have been an immediate success upon its release in 1981, but it has since become regarded as one of the finest examples of post-punk rock. The Furs combined the energy and aggression of punk with the atmospherics and textures of shoegaze and New Wave to create a sound that was both intricately layered and powerfully accessible. The band’s songwriting was also top-notch, with frontman Richard Butler crafting catchy hooks and cleverly oblique lyrics that were rife with enigmatic originality.

The Church-Starfish

The Church-Starfish was released in 1988 and was the fourth album by the Australian psychedelic rock band The Church. It was a commercial and critical success in Australia, reaching number three on the ARIA Albums Chart and becoming the band’s highest charting album in the United States, peaking at number 45 on the Billboard 200. In 1989, the album won the ARIA Award for Best Alternative Album.

The album was recorded in Los Angeles with producer Waddy Wachtel, who had previously worked with The Rolling Stones, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. The band took a more pop-oriented approach on Starfish, while still retaining their distinctive psychedelic sound. The first single “Under the Milky Way” became a worldwide hit, reaching number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US and number two on the UK Singles Chart.

Starfish has been described as “the most perfectly realized example of [the Church’s] fusion of 1960s psychedelia with 1980s pop hooks”. AllMusic’s William Ruhlmann praised the album as “a welcome return to form” after the band’s previous two albums had failed to live up to expectations. In contrast, Trouser Press wrote that while Starfish contains some of the band’s best work, it is ” ultimately frustrating”, due to its inconsistencies.

The Stone Roses-The Stone Roses

The Stone Roses is the debut album by English rock band the Stone Roses, released on Silvertone Records in May 1989. The record was produced by John Leckie at Rockfield Studios in Monmouth and released in the UK on 16 May 1989 by Silvertone Records. It peaked at number one on the UK Albums Chart, becoming one of that decade’s defining releases. Although The Stone Roses was not supported by any singles or widely promoted prior to release, it enjoyed considerable media coverage due to the hype surrounding the band’s much-publicised contract dispute with Silvertone.

The album’s cover art and sleeve design are credited to Bernard Sumner and Peter Saville, respectively. The record has been cited as influential to the subsequent development of indie rock and Britpop music; NME magazine wrote in 2000 that The Stone Roses “didn’t just sound important – they looked important too”. In 2004, Q Magazine placed it at number 8 in its list of the “100 Greatest British Albums Ever”. In 2006, the album was ranked number 72 on Pitchfork Media’s “Top 100 Albums of the 1980s”. Rolling Stone magazine included it in their 2010 list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.

My Bloody Valentine-Loveless

Loveless is the second studio album by English rock band My Bloody Valentine, released on 4 November 1991 by Creation Records. The record was the band’s last before frontman Kevin Shields announced his retirement from the music industry, and is now considered a seminal work of the shoegazing genre. Production on Loveless began in February 1991 at MBV’s personal studio following the poor critical and commercial reaction to their 1988 EP You Made Me Realise. Shields intended the record to be an “Alice in Wonderland-inspired” collage of sounds and textures, incorporating elements of punk rock, noise music, and dream pop.

The album’s musical approach is noted for its innovative use of sampling, reverse reverbing, and tremolo bar effects; as well as for Shields’ extensive use of guitar feedback. Loveless incorporatedJesus and Mary Chain’s use of alternative tunings to create an unusually dense soundscape. My Bloody Valentine recorded 22 songs over a fourteen-month period at several locations around London; however, tensions within the band led to English producer Alan Moulder completing much of the album’s mixing without Shields’ supervision or approval. The record was subsequently mastered at Abbey Road Studios in August 1991 while Shields finalised its packaging—inspired by Roger Dean’s artwork for 1970s progressive rock albums—which incorporated two images per side that were meant to be viewed through 3D glasses included with early vinyl pressings of the album.

Loveless was met with wide acclaim from critics when released in November 1991; although its Creation Records label experienced financial difficulties throughout 1991–1992 that resulted in slow sales of the record worldwide. Retrospectively it is now viewed as MBV’s magnum opus, one of the best albums of all time, and an archetypal work of shoegazing music; In 2007 it was honoured with a place in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.


Ride-Nowhere is the debut album by American psychedelic rock band The Dandy Warhols, released in 1995 on Tim/Kerr Records. The album was recorded over a period of six months in a studio in Portland, Oregon, and was produced by the band’s frontman, Courtney Taylor-Taylor.

Ride-Nowhere is a collection of punk-influenced garage rock songs with hypnotic, psychedelic soundscapes. The lyrics are often cryptic and vague, dealing with themes of alienation, nihilism, and paranoia. The album’s artwork is a collage of newspaper clippings, photographs, and drawings, which reflects the album’s chaotic and disorienting atmosphere.

The Dandy Warhols – Ride-Nowhere (full album)
Ride-Nowhere received mixed reviews from music critics upon its release. Some reviewers praised the album’s ambition and uniqueness, while others criticized its messy production and unfocused songwriting. In retrospect, Ride-Nowhere has been lauded as a influential work of psychedelic rock, and is considered one of the best albums of the 1990s by many critics.


Slowdive’s final album, released in 1995, is the culmination of the band’s laid-back, reverb-drenched sound. Hailed as a masterpiece by many critics, it’s a shame that Pygmalion wasn’t more commercially successful, as it’s one of the most beautiful and transportive albums ever made. If you’re a fan of Slowdive or shoegaze in general, this is an essential album.

The Verve-Urban Hymns

The Verve’s third album, Urban Hymns, was released in September of 1997. The album was an instant success, and “The Drugs Don’t Work” became one of the band’s most popular songs. The album is a perfect example of psychedelic rock, and it is one of the best albums you’ve never heard.

Doves-Lost Sides

Doves’ Lost Sides is a collection of B-sides and rarities by the English rock band Doves, released in 2002. The album peaked at number 22 on the UK Albums Chart and was nominated for the 2002 Mercury Prize.

The album includes the band’s first three singles, “Sea Song”, “Lost Sides” and “Catch the Sun”. It also features a number of B-sides, including “Zombies”, “Crown of Love” and “Reprise”.

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