Yes, Psychedelic Rock is Still Relevant Today

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


In a world where genres are continuously being blended, it’s important to remember the classics. Psychedelic rock is one of those classics that has withstood the test of time.

Psychedelic Rock’s Origins

Psychedelic rock, also referred to as “psychedelia”, is a music genre that emerged in the mid-1960s. The style is based on earlier genres such as rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and folk music, and is characterized by distorted guitars, trippy sound effects, and drug-inspired lyrics. The genre was most popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but it has experienced a resurgence in recent years.

The Beatles and their influence

Psychedelic rock, often shortened to psytrance or psyched, is a subgenre of rock that developed in the late 1960s following the Acid Tests conducted by Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters. The style is distinguished by swirling textures and kaleidoscopic effects that evoke the EE Gee feelings of psychedelic experience. Psychedelic rock reached its commercial peak in the mid-1960s with records such as Pink Floyd’s The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow; however, it was largely abandoned by mainstream audiences in favour of more concise guitar-based pop music.

Psychedelic rock gave birth to or influenced other genres such as acid jazz, krautrock and jam band. It has also been occasionally been used as a label for some forms of electronic dance music, especially Goa trance and psychedelic trance.

The Grateful Dead and their influence

The Grateful Dead were an American rock band formed in 1965 in San Francisco. The band is known for its eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, country, jazz, bluegrass, and blues, and for its live performances of long musical improvisation. The Grateful Dead developed a devoted fan base known as “Deadheads”, who followed the band from concert to concert for years. The band was ranked 57th by Rolling Stone magazine in its The Greatest Artists of All Time issue. The Grateful Dead have sold more than 35 million albums worldwide.

The Grateful Dead were the house band at Ken Kesey’s famous Acid Tests. These parties were held to celebrate the new LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) that had become available on the black market. These parties would last days and sometimes featured live music and other entertainment. Kesey and the Merry Pranksters used multiple audio and visual techniques to enhance their guests’ experience of the acid trips, including strobe lights, Guinness being poured into a water gun and sprayed onto the audience, and sitting in a room painted with day-glo colors while listening to feedback-laden music blasted through amplified speakers. The Acid Tests were a major influence on the development of psychedelic rock.

The term “psychedelic” (coined by psychiatrist Humphry Osmond in 1956) means “mind manifesting”. Psychedelic drugs such as LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline (from peyote), DMT (dimethyltryptamine), and ketamine are believed to work by temporarily disrupting communication between different areas of the brain. This disruption creates changes in perception, mood, and thought that can be experienced as radically different from everyday reality. Psychedelic experiences are often described as dreamlike or mystical experiences that can induce states of altered consciousness such as euphoria, spiritual insights, hallucinations, and synesthesia (a condition where senses are crossed so that tastes produce colors or sounds produce tastes).

Psychedelic music is intended to replicate and enhance these psychedelic experiences. It sometimes uses new studio techniques such as backward tapes, panning (placing sounds at different places in the stereo field), phasing (a technique first used by Miles Davis on his album Bitches Brew), sitars, distortion guitar, extended drum solos, and improvised jams. Psychedelic rock reached its peak of popularity in the late 1960s with bands such as Pink Floyd, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jefferson Airplane ,and The Grateful Dead.

The Resurgence of Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock, once the music of a counterculture, is now enjoying a renaissance. Newer bands are exploring the genre and bringing it to a new generation of fans. These bands are keeping the spirit of psychedelic rock alive while also putting their own spin on it.

Tame Impala and their influence

Tame Impala is an Australian psychedelic rock band founded in 2007. The group is led byKevin Parker, who writes, records, produces, and mixes the music. As a recording artist, Tame Impala has released three studio albums: Innerspeaker (2010), Lonerism (2012), and Currents (2015). The band’s fourth album, The Slow Rush, was released on February 14th, 2020.

Psychedelic rock, also referred to as “psychedelia”, is a diverse style of rock music inspired, influenced, or representative of psychedelic culture, which is centered around perception-altering hallucinogenic drugs. The music is intended to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs such as LSD. Psychedelic rock began in the mid 1960s with the first wave of British bands such asThe Beatles and The Rolling Stones experimenting with LSD and other drugs.

The Black Keys and their influence

The Black Keys are an American rock duo formed in Akron, Ohio, in 2001. The group consists of Dan Auerbach (lead vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards) and Patrick Carney (drums, percussion). Their raw blues rock sound draws heavily from Auerbach’s blues and R&B influences and Carney’s punk rock background. The Black Keys have won multiple Grammy Awards and have been nominated for six. They released their eighth album, Turn Blue, in May 2014. In 2016, they co-produced and performed the theme song for the Netflix series Stranger Things.

The Black Keys’ sound has been described as “a blend of garage rock and psychedelic rock.” The duo has also been credited with reviving the “rock & roll” sound in the 2010s. Psychedelic rock is a style of rock music that emerged in the mid-1960s with the goal of expanding consciousness and creating an experience of visual, auditory or other sensory hallucinations. Psychedelic rock attempted to replicate the mind-altering experiences brought on by LSD and other psychedelic drugs.

The Future of Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock first came to prominence in the 1960s with bands like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and The Grateful Dead experimenting with mind-altering substances and incorporating them into their music. The genre has continued to evolve in the decades since, with artists like Tame Impala, The Flaming Lips, and MGMT carrying the torch for psychedelic rock in the 21st century. But does the genre still have a place in today’s music landscape?

The new generation of psychedelic rock bands

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in psychedelic rock music, with a new generation of bands taking influence from the classic sounds of the genre.

Psychedelic rock was originally pioneered in the 1960s by bands such as The Beatles, The Doors and Pink Floyd. These bands exploreed themes of mind expansion and self-discovery through the use of extended improvisation, experimental instrumentation and innovative recording techniques.

In the 21st century, there is a new wave of psychedelic bands carrying on this musical tradition. These contemporary groups are influenced by the sounds of classic psychedelic rock, but they also bring their own unique spin to the genre.

Some of the most notable new psychedelic rock bands include Tame Impala, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Pond and Temples. These bands are helping to keep psychedelic rock relevant in today’s music scene.

Psychedelic rock, also known as psyrock or garage rock, is a style of popular music that first became popular in the mid-1960s. The style is typified by a heavy use of electric guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards, as well as a strong emphasis on improvisation and extended solos. Psychedelic rock reached its peak of popularity in the late 1960s and early 1970s with bands such as the Doors, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jefferson Airplane, and Pink Floyd. The style’s popularity waned in the late 1970s but experienced a resurgence in the 1990s with bands such as Smashing Pumpkins, Mushroomhead, and Tool.

Despite its decline in popularity, psychedelic rock still exerts a significant influence on popular culture. Psychedelic rock was one of the first genres of music to be associated with drug use, particularly LSD. The genre’s use of extended solos and improvisation laid the groundwork for many subsequent styles of music such as jazz-fusion and jam band. The heavy emphasis on electric guitars and keyboard instruments also helped to pioneer new sound effects and production techniques that would be adopted by many other genres of music.

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