Psychedelic music bands and groups

Psychedelic music, a genre that blossomed in the mid-1960s, has continuously evolved, influencing countless artists and bands across the globe. Characterized by its experimental sounds, use of new recording techniques, and often surreal lyrics, psychedelic music aims to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. From the pioneering days of the 1960s, with bands like The Beatles and Pink Floyd transforming the auditory landscape, to the modern resurgence with groups such as Tame Impala and MGMT, psychedelic music has been a staple of cultural expression.

In this article, we dive deep into the vibrant world of psychedelic music bands and groups, spanning from the foundational years of the 1950s to the diverse scene of today. Instead of a narrative exploration, we provide an extensive list of influential bands and artists from various eras. Each entry highlights their significant albums and tracks, offering both newcomers and aficionados a gateway into the psychedelic soundscape. Join us on this auditory journey through time, as we explore the waves of psychedelic music that have captivated listeners for over half a century.

Early pioneers (Late 1950s – 1960s)

The genesis of psychedelic music can be traced back to the late 1950s and 1960s, a period marked by experimental approaches to rock music and a cultural movement that embraced new, expansive ways of thinking. Here are some of the most influential bands and artists from this era, whose pioneering work laid the groundwork for what psychedelic music would become:


  • The Beatles
    • Albums: “Revolver” (1966), “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (1967)
    • Notable songs: “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, “Tomorrow Never Knows”
    • Impact: The Beatles’ exploration into the psychedelic genre transformed pop music’s landscape, with complex recordings and innovative studio techniques.
  • Pink Floyd
    • Albums: “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” (1967), “A Saucerful of Secrets” (1968)
    • Notable songs: “Interstellar Overdrive”, “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”
    • Impact: Pink Floyd’s early works are quintessential psychedelic, combining space rock themes with experimental soundscapes.
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience
    • Albums: “Are You Experienced” (1967)
    • Notable songs: “Purple Haze”, “The Wind Cries Mary”
    • Impact: Hendrix’s innovative guitar techniques and psychedelic compositions redefined the possibilities of rock music and guitar play.
  • The Doors
    • Albums: “The Doors” (1967), “Strange Days” (1967)
    • Notable songs: “Light My Fire”, “People Are Strange”
    • Impact: With Jim Morrison’s poetic lyrics and Ray Manzarek’s swirling keyboards, The Doors brought a darker, more theatrical element to psychedelic music.
  • Jefferson Airplane
    • Albums: “Surrealistic Pillow” (1967)
    • Notable songs: “White Rabbit”, “Somebody to Love”
    • Impact: Known for their profound lyrical content and electric performances, Jefferson Airplane became synonymous with the psychedelic sound and ideology of the 1960s San Francisco scene.
  • The Grateful Dead
    • Albums: “Anthem of the Sun” (1968), “Aoxomoxoa” (1969)
    • Notable songs: “Dark Star”, “St. Stephen”
    • Impact: The Grateful Dead were at the heart of the psychedelic movement, known for their eclectic style, expansive improvisations, and a dedicated fan base known as “Deadheads.”
  • 13th Floor Elevators
    • Albums: “The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators” (1966)
    • Notable songs: “You’re Gonna Miss Me”, “Roller Coaster”
    • Impact: Pioneers in integrating psychedelic elements into rock, they are often credited with coining the term “psychedelic rock.”

Psychedelic rock and its evolution (1970s)

As psychedelic music moved into the 1970s, the genre expanded and morphed, embracing heavier sounds, complex compositions, and new thematic explorations. The following bands and artists continued to innovate within the psychedelic genre, introducing elements that would influence progressive rock, glam, and beyond:

  • Led Zeppelin
    • Albums: “Led Zeppelin IV” (1971)
    • Notable songs: “Stairway to Heaven”, “When the Levee Breaks”
    • Impact: Although primarily known for their hard rock and blues roots, Led Zeppelin incorporated mystical lyrics and experimental recording techniques that had a profound psychedelic influence.
  • Grateful Dead
    • Albums: “American Beauty” (1970)
    • Notable songs: “Truckin'”, “Ripple”
    • Impact: Continuing from their 60s roots, the Grateful Dead’s work in the 70s refined their sound, blending folk rock and psychedelic rock with a sense of Americana.
  • David Bowie
    • Albums: “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” (1972)
    • Notable songs: “Starman”, “Ziggy Stardust”
    • Impact: Bowie’s alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, became a cultural icon, blending glam rock with psychedelic influences and creating a theatrical and otherworldly musical experience.
  • Pink Floyd
    • Albums: “The Dark Side of the Moon” (1973), “Wish You Were Here” (1975)
    • Notable songs: “Comfortably Numb”, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”
    • Impact: Pink Floyd’s mid-70s work saw them achieving unprecedented commercial and critical success, with their sound becoming more sophisticated and conceptually driven.
  • Hawkwind
    • Albums: “Space Ritual” (1973)
    • Notable songs: “Silver Machine”, “Space Is Deep”
    • Impact: Known for their space rock sound, Hawkwind combined science fiction themes with psychedelic rock, complete with electronic experimentation.
  • T. Rex
    • Albums: “Electric Warrior” (1971)
    • Notable songs: “Get It On”, “Jeepster”
    • Impact: Marc Bolan’s T. Rex injected a glam rock sparkle into the psychedelic genre, blending straightforward rock with fantasy themes and a bohemian flair.
  • George Harrison
    • Albums: “All Things Must Pass” (1970)
    • Notable songs: “My Sweet Lord”, “What Is Life”
    • Impact: Post-Beatles, Harrison’s solo work continued to explore spiritual and psychedelic themes, with lush, multi-layered production.

Neo-psychedelia and revival (1980s – 1990s)

The 1980s and 1990s witnessed a resurgence of interest in psychedelic music, leading to the emergence of neo-psychedelia. This revival was characterized by a blend of past psychedelic elements with new wave, punk, and electronic influences, offering a fresh take on the trippy sounds of the earlier decades.

  • The Cure
    • Albums: “Disintegration” (1989)
    • Notable songs: “Lullaby”, “Fascination Street”
    • Impact: The Cure’s incorporation of ethereal soundscapes and moody aesthetics into rock music had a lasting influence on the development of gothic rock and alternative rock, showing traces of psychedelic undertones.
  • Primal Scream
    • Albums: “Screamadelica” (1991)
    • Notable songs: “Loaded”, “Come Together”
    • Impact: Merging acid house, rock, and psychedelia, Primal Scream’s “Screamadelica” was a landmark album that captured the ecstasy and chaos of the acid house movement with a distinctly psychedelic flavor.
  • My Bloody Valentine
    • Albums: “Loveless” (1991)
    • Notable songs: “Only Shallow”, “When You Sleep”
    • Impact: Known for their pioneering “shoegaze” sound, My Bloody Valentine used mesmerizing guitar effects and whispered vocals to create an immersive, dreamlike state that drew heavily on psychedelic principles.
  • The Stone Roses
    • Albums: “The Stone Roses” (1989)
    • Notable songs: “I Wanna Be Adored”, “She Bangs the Drums”
    • Impact: The Stone Roses combined jangle pop with dance rhythms and swirling psychedelic guitar riffs, epitomizing the sound of the British indie music scene of the late ’80s.
  • The Flaming Lips
    • Albums: “The Soft Bulletin” (1999)
    • Notable songs: “Race for the Prize”, “Waiting for a Superman”
    • Impact: Known for their lush, electronic-tinged soundscapes and experimental edge, The Flaming Lips revitalized and redefined psychedelia for a new generation.
  • Spacemen 3
    • Albums: “Playing with Fire” (1989)
    • Notable songs: “Revolution”, “Lord Can You Hear Me?”
    • Impact: Spacemen 3’s music focused on minimalist drones and repetitive rhythms, combining elements of garage rock and electronic music with a psychedelic spiritualism.
  • The Brian Jonestown Massacre
    • Albums: “Take It from the Man!” (1996)
    • Notable songs: “Anemone”, “Vacuum Boots”
    • Impact: With their retro style and prolific output, The Brian Jonestown Massacre channeled the ’60s psychedelic sound with modern twists, influencing many contemporary psychedelic and indie bands.

This era saw the psychedelic ethos not only revived but also reinterpreted, integrating modern musical techniques and influences to create a vibrant tapestry of sounds that pushed the boundaries of traditional psychedelic music.

Modern psychedelic music (2000s – Today)

The resurgence of interest in psychedelic sounds has only grown in the new millennium, with modern bands adopting and redefining the trippy aesthetics of their predecessors. This contemporary wave blends traditional psychedelic elements with modern genres like indie, pop, and electronic, showcasing the genre’s versatility and enduring appeal.

  • Tame Impala
    • Albums: “Currents” (2015), “Lonerism” (2012)
    • Notable songs: “Let It Happen”, “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”
    • Impact: Kevin Parker’s project has brought psychedelic music to a broader audience, blending lush synths with introspective lyrics and dense, dreamy production.
  • MGMT
    • Albums: “Oracular Spectacular” (2007)
    • Notable songs: “Electric Feel”, “Kids”
    • Impact: With their catchy hooks and vivid, surreal aesthetic, MGMT revitalized psychedelic pop for the digital age, earning widespread acclaim.
  • The Flaming Lips
    • Albums: “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” (2002)
    • Notable songs: “Do You Realize??”, “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1”
    • Impact: Continuously innovative, The Flaming Lips have embraced a variety of electronic and rock elements to maintain their distinctive, experimental edge in modern psychedelia.
  • Animal Collective
    • Albums: “Merriweather Post Pavilion” (2009)
    • Notable songs: “My Girls”, “Summertime Clothes”
    • Impact: Known for their experimental music that combines psychedelia with pop structures, Animal Collective has been a significant influence on the evolution of avant-garde and psychedelic pop.
  • King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
    • Albums: “Nonagon Infinity” (2016), “Flying Microtonal Banana” (2017)
    • Notable songs: “Gamma Knife”, “Rattlesnake”
    • Impact: This Australian band is known for their prolific output and eclectic approach, exploring everything from surf rock to heavy metal, all underlined by a psychedelic flair.
  • Pond
    • Albums: “The Weather” (2017)
    • Notable songs: “Paint Me Silver”, “Sweep Me Off My Feet”
    • Impact: Featuring several members of Tame Impala’s touring group, Pond experiments with glam rock and psychedelic pop, offering a fresher take on the genre’s classics.
  • Unknown Mortal Orchestra
    • Albums: “Multi-Love” (2015)
    • Notable songs: “Multi-Love”, “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”
    • Impact: UMO’s music features a unique blend of psychedelic rock and R&B with lo-fi production techniques, creating catchy, soulful, and swirling sounds.
  • Temples
    • Albums: “Sun Structures” (2014)
    • Notable songs: “Shelter Song”, “Keep in the Dark”
    • Impact: British band Temples have revived the jangly psychedelia of the 60s with a modern twist, characterized by their crisp production and melodic sensibilities.
  • Thee Oh Sees
    • Albums: “A Weird Exits” (2016)
    • Notable songs: “The Axis”, “Gelatinous Cube”
    • Impact: Known for their energetic performances and prolific output, Thee Oh Sees blend psychedelic rock with garage punk, creating intense, high-energy music.
  • Foxygen
    • Albums: “We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic” (2013)
    • Notable songs: “San Francisco”, “Shuggie”
    • Impact: Foxygen mixes a wide range of vintage influences into their music, from folk-rock to psychedelic pop, capturing the spirit of the 60s with a contemporary edge.
  • Melody’s Echo Chamber
    • Albums: “Melody’s Echo Chamber” (2012)
    • Notable songs: “I Follow You”, “Crystallized”
    • Impact: The French musician Melody Prochet crafts dreamy, swirling soundscapes that blend pop sensibilities with psychedelic textures, showcasing her distinct voice and intricate production.
  • Mac DeMarco
    • Albums: “Salad Days” (2014)
    • Notable songs: “Chamber of Reflection”, “Salad Days”
    • Impact: DeMarco’s laid-back style and off-kilter pop have made significant inroads into the indie scene, with a subtly psychedelic twist in his guitar work and lo-fi aesthetic.
  • Psychedelic Porn Crumpets
    • Albums: “High Visceral, Pt. 1” (2016)
    • Notable songs: “Cornflake”, “Found God in a Tomato”
    • Impact: This Australian band is known for their heavy, energetic psychedelic rock that combines complex arrangements with explosive energy
  • Goat
    • Albums: “World Music” (2012)
    • Notable songs: “Run to Your Mama”, “Goatman”
    • Impact: Hailing from Sweden, Goat is known for their fusion of global musical traditions with a robust psychedelic rock foundation, creating a mystic, highly rhythmic sound.
  • The Black Angels
    • Albums: “Phosphene Dream” (2010)
    • Notable songs: “Young Men Dead”, “Haunting at 1300 McKinley”
    • Impact: With their droning guitars and dark, reverberating sound, The Black Angels draw heavily on the psychedelic music of the 1960s, while injecting a modern garage rock energy.
  • Dungen
    • Albums: “Ta det lugnt” (2004)
    • Notable songs: “Festival”, “Du e för fin för mig”
    • Impact: The Swedish band Dungen revitalizes the spirit of psychedelic rock with lush, jazz-infused compositions and meticulous attention to vintage sound.
  • Khruangbin
    • Albums: “The Universe Smiles Upon You” (2015)
    • Notable songs: “White Gloves”, “Mr White”
    • Impact: This Texas-based trio is known for their seductive blend of funk, dub, and psychedelia, heavily inspired by 60s and 70s music from around the world.
  • Neon Indian
    • Albums: “Psychic Chasms” (2009)
    • Notable songs: “Polish Girl”, “Deadbeat Summer”
    • Impact: Neon Indian plays a critical role in the chillwave movement, blending electronic music with psychedelic pop in a way that feels both nostalgic and fresh.
  • Allah-Las
    • Albums: “Allah-Las” (2012)
    • Notable songs: “Catamaran”, “Tell Me (What’s On Your Mind)”
    • Impact: Their music captures the essence of 1960s surf rock and garage with a psychedelic twist, marked by laid-back melodies and jangly guitars.
  • Connan Mockasin
    • Albums: “Forever Dolphin Love” (2011)
    • Notable songs: “Forever Dolphin Love”, “I’m the Man, That Will Find You”
    • Impact: Mockasin’s music is an eccentric blend of jazz, lounge, funk, and psychedelia, creating surreal, dream-like soundscapes that defy conventional categorization.
  • The Holydrug Couple
    • Albums: “Noctuary” (2013)
    • Notable songs: “It’s Dawning”, “Follow Your Way”
    • Impact: This Chilean duo blends dreamy psychedelia with elements of space rock and ambient music, creating lush, immersive soundscapes.
  • Wooden Shjips
    • Albums: “Back to Land” (2013)
    • Notable songs: “Back to Land”, “Ruins”
    • Impact: Known for their minimalist, repetitive rock structures, Wooden Shjips uses psychedelic guitar effects and organ drones to create a hypnotic, meditative listening experience.


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