What does psychedelic rock mean to you? Is psychedelic rock the culmination of swirling soundscapes created by just the right amount of delay layered over a tight groove? Is psychedelic rock defined by its particular flavor of ambience that could only be understood through the music itself? For me, psychedelic rock is a combination of what happens when our waking life meets our subconscious and creates a sonically driven lovechild. As a genre, psychedelic rock extends much further than the confines of our imagination.
In this article I will share with you 10 bands from all over the world that I consider to be unique, up and coming, psych rock bands. It is up to you to decide just how far you would like to explore the depths of your mind. Will you welcome the psychedelic experience with open arms? Or will you tune out and choose a different path? The ball’s in your court…
Slift – Toulouse, France – Fuzz/Garage/Psych/Prog
Slift is a 3 piece rock band hailing from the great country of France. With their eclectic sound its hard to classify them into any one genre. There’s moments where they create dense soundscapes that are easy to drift off to. Then, with such ease they pick up the pace and deliver an experience that’s sure to get your body moving. Between the release of their first full length EP in 2017, to their most recent LP released early 2020; they’re style has remained true but has transcended from your common garage psych to something much larger. With the momentum these guys are showing its extremely exciting to think of whats to come next.
Los Bitchos – London, England – Psych/Latin/Sunshine Cumbia
Next up is an incredible band based out of London, England who’s sound does not represent that one bit. Los Bitchos is a psych groove band consisting of 5 incredibly bad ass women. With tantalizing guitar tones mixed with an impenetrable groove these ladies are not to be skipped over. Combining Latin medley’s with Caribbean Cumbia, twisted into their own unique blend, it’s safe to say these women are honing in on some seriously fun sounds! Though they have not released an album yet, they have an incredible live performance on KEXP that will be linked below.
Frankie and the Witch Fingers – Los Angelos, California – Psych/Rock n’ Roll/Fuzz Funk
Frankie and the Witch Fingers is a high powered 4 piece rock band from Los Angelos. Infusing a rockabilly sound with modern garage psych, these gentlemen have harnessed this incredible fusion that gets the blood pumping. Their animated lyrics match their music very well, creating obscure and playful imagery with each word sung. For Frankie and the Witch Fingers, it seems as if there is no true boundaries in their creative approach. From their first release in 2013, through out their entire catalogue containing 4 full length albums, you can hear their consistency while also noticing their undeniable growth and diversity. In turn, leaving us as listeners with an assorted collection of content while always wanting more.
ORB – Victoria, Australia – Psych/Fuzz/ Stoner
Deriving from Australia, the current hot spot for psychedelic rock is a 4 piece outfit named ORB. ORB is one of the many talented bands that is signed to King GIzzard and the Lizard Wizards record label “Flightless Records”. Their sound could be described as dark but playful, with crunchy guitars and powerful bass lines that aren’t only heavy but also funky. Their subtle use of synthesizers pays homage to the prog legends of the 70’s but with a pinch of new school thrown on top. ORB is currently sitting on two full length LP’s, each holding true to a specific sound with just enough diversity throughout to keep things fresh. Besides ORB being a prolific studio band, they’re live performance is also exceptional. So with the culmination of their mind bending song writing and powerful stage presence ORB is a band not to be slept on.
Naxatras – Thessaloniki, Greece – Hard Psych/Stoner/Fuzz
Coming from one of my personal favorite regions for psychedelic rock is an exceptional 3 piece group from Greece. Each track written by these guys is truly a unique psychedelic experience. Somehow, they’re able to create these beautiful guitar melodies that could at any minute be left in a smoke screen of delay and distorted guitar tones. Craftily devising their way through each track, they continuously build and build giving the listener the opportunity to truly get lost in a world created by sound. It’s no doubt that this band’s influences stretch beyond recognition. Their ability to maintain this dark and ominous sound while creating this unique brand of funk is truly mind-bending. Having three studio released LP’s and a live album at the listeners disposal there is a little something tucked in there for every one.
Black Midi – London, England – Black Midi/Math/Prog/Psych
You could say Black Midi is the wild card selection of this segment. Named after the Japanese genre black midi, we have the band Black Midi that focus’s on the black midi genre.. I know, very meta of them.. Considering most of us have no clue what the genre of black midi is, I will do my best to explain it. As a genre, black midi is a mass number of notes that are essentially layered onto of one another, therefore blacking out the staves on sheet music. Now, Black Midi as a band falls along these lines with their obscure playing that seems to blend in ways almost unrecognizable to the average mind. Though, I would classify them more as an experimental math/ prog group more than anything. Between their hardly recognizable lyrics, whirlwind of constant changing time signatures and polyrhythmic approach to their song writing, each song is truly an experience beyond words. With their debut release in 2019 they’ve gained major success and I imagine there will be plenty more strange tunes to come from these guys.
Elder – Boston, MA – Heavy Psych/Space Rock/Stoner/Prog
Bringing things back to the United States is a well ingrained band with in the Stoner/Psych rock scene, Elder. Elder is a 4 piece project that values themselves for their diverse and ever evolving sound. Blending elements of traditional psych rock, stoner rock and prog we get this fusion of sound that seems to melt time within its stratospheric serenity. This does not take away from the musics ability to make you wanna get out of your seat start head banging. They are no strangers to writing truly epic tracks. With most of their songs being 10 minutes plus, they welcome you into a jam vehicle heading straight toward the moon with no stops Intended. Over the last decade Elder has released 5 LP’s and a Live album. You can hear the maturity of the band throughout their discography. They’ve managed to stick to their roots through out their musical evolution while always making each new album feel a little tighter and fresh for the listeners ears.
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – Perth, Australia – Psych/Alt Rock/Garage Psych
Once again welcoming an extremely talented band from Australia, I introduce Psychedelic Porn Crumpets. This 5 piece collective was spawned from their Acid Kool-Aid styled house parties. They would get together and play music until the sun started showing its face through the cracks of the barn they we’re playing in. With their funky upbeat style, their sound motivates the listener to want to shake their body while getting lost in their visceral soundscapes. Fusing their reverb drenched vocals with their use of heavy delayed guitars, we get this atmospheric ambiance that with ease sucks us in and spits us out with each track. Having released 3 LP’s since 2016, they have solidified their spot in contemporary psych rock. So, whether you’re into straight space rock or if you like to twist things up with some heavier tunes, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets have a little something for everybody.
Aunt Cynthia’s Cabin – San Diego, CA – Hard Rock/Psych/Stoner
Aunt Cynthia’s Cabin is a three piece rock band out of California. Their sound paints the perfect image of wandering through the desert on a headful. With their use of distorted and droning guitar sections, matched by bass lines inducing hypnosis, the listener is presented with a sound of pure psychedelia. Through the saturated soundscapes they also harness the ability to lay down absolutely ridiculous lead guitar sections. Releasing their first full length LP early 2020, they have proved that they are moving forward full steam ahead.
Somali Yacht Club – Lviv, Ukraine – Psych/Stoner/Post Metal/Prog
Somali Yacht Club in my opinion is the epitome of this list. With their unforgiving ability to create tracks that are built of pure psychedelic fuel, we encounter what its like to truly get caught in an ever growing experience of melodic ecstasy. Traveling through flawless peaks and valleys, they take us on a ride encouraging patience of the mind. Devising a sound that’s comprised of introspective space rock mixed with melodic tones of post rock we’re left with a sound that’s sure to leave the listener in awe. Over the past few years Somali Yacht Club has produced two full length albums, both creating a unique and mind bending ride through out. For those willing to set sail on a psychedelic voyage, I highly recommend letting Somali Yacht Club take the wheel.
I hope everyone who took the time to read this article enjoy’s at least one band on this list. It was a pleasure to be able to share musical knowledge that I’ve obtained over the years. Keep rocking on and stay psychedelic!