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5 Modern Psychedelic Rock Albums to Listen to While High

December 4, 2017
(PeopleImages/iStock)
Psychedelic rock was born out of 1960s psychedelia culture that embraced mind-altering hallucinogens in an increasingly globalized world. The resulting music was eclectic, experimental, and mentally stimulating—the kind of music that is candy for the mind.

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Today, these influences continue to thrive in the music of modern psychedelic rock musicians, who often incorporate other genres such as world, jazz, electronic, and pop for a fresher feel. Enjoy the following psychedelic rock albums with a loaded pipe in hand and get lost in a groovy mind-altering experience.

Space Is Still the Place by The Bright Light Social Hour

(Courtesy of The Bright Light Social Hour)

Strain Pairing Recommendation: Headband

Space Is Still the Place, released in 2015, is The Bright Light Social Hour’s latest album and an excellent illustration of their modern psychedelic sound. Hailing from Austin, Texas, the band features bass, guitar, synth, drums, and two vocalists: Together, they create a landscape of tight beats and instrumentation that veers into the otherworldly. The album invites you to explore different dimensions with a touch of grunge, a little grime, and lots of spacey, psychedelic mind-melting sounds.

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Sketches of Brunswick East by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

(Courtesy of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard)

Strain Pairing Recommendation: Cherry Pie

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard is an eclectic psychedelic rock band with a wide range of sounds and genres represented in their extensive catalogue of music (in 2017 alone, the band released four distinct concept albums). Of those, Sketches of Brunswick East stands out for its jazzy space themes. The vocals are light and airy, and whispered harmonies flow into each other, creating a musical journey that grabs the listener and pulls them swiftly along a river of psychedelic tunes. If there’s one album from the King Gizzard collection to give a listen, Sketches of Brunswick East is it.

Harsh Toke by Earthless

(Courtesy of Earthless)

Strain Pairing Recommendation: Kushberry

Harsh Toke features only two songs, but combined they present listeners with a half hour of mostly instrumental psychedelic rock. The first track, “Acid Crusher,” starts off slow—the melodic tune takes its time to build and bend. Its trance-like vibes encourage a surrendering to the music; close your eyes and you’ll feel as if you’re drifting away. The second track, “Mount Swan,” picks up a heavier rock feel and vocals before plunging into an eclectic space and then back into trance-like homeostasis. In its journey through the soundscape, Harsh Toke is sure to delight all the senses.

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The Desaturating Seven by Primus

(Courtesy of Primus)

Strain Pairing Recommendation: Sour Alien

Primus’s 2017 album The Desaturating Seven hits hard with Les Claypool’s famous brand of psychedelic rock. The album features Claypool’s distinctive bass and vocals at its epicenter, snatching the listener up before pulling them down the rabbit hole like Alice on her way to Wonderland. The tight grooves encourage movement and emotional release that is unique to bands creating a heavier rock tone. Claypool once described Primus as “psychedelic polka,” and The Desaturating Seven is a keen example of this description, as well as an example of Primus’s unique niche in the musical world.

Painting With by Animal Collective

(Courtesy of Animal Collective)

Strain Pairing Recommendation: Mother’s Helper

Painting With, released in 2016, is the latest album by Animal Collective. As per their unique style, Painting With is a distinctive representation of psychedelic rock, featuring elements of pop, indie, and experimental music combined for an eclectic listening experience. Working with a wide array of instruments from synthesizers to drums, the band creates an intensely rich sound that listeners can practically swim in. Rising above the wildly intricate instrumentation are shifting harmonies by all four band members, their voices as bubbly, playful, and trippy as their music. Overall, Painting With provides a soundscape that takes the listener on an experimental journey worth the ride.

Rae Lland's Bio Image

Rae Lland

Rae Lland is a freelance writer, journalist, and former editor for Weedist and The Leaf Online. With a focus on culture, music, health, and wellness, in addition to her work for Leafly, she has also been featured in numerous online cannabis publications as well as print editions of Cannabis Now Magazine. Follow her on Instagram @rae.lland

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  • Turner Kayston

    Spaceslug is another great band that I found fairly recently, it’s psychedelic & stoner / rock / metal type music I would say.

    Albums: Lemanis, Time Travel Dilemma, Mountains & Reminiscence

  • The Resistance

    And in the pop category, I would recommend, surprisingly, either of Lorde’s studio albums.

    • Mark Stonebraker

      Try also, Shura. Amazing.

  • Mark Stonebraker

    I still enjoy the vintage music of Pink Floyd et al, but rock n roll has come a LONG way since then. Musicians like Lusine, Boards of Canada, Tame Impala and Babble have evolved the genre and made it even better. The internet has made it all possible. We live in incredibly amazing times.

    • Tom R

      ah no music has NOT come all long way
      its gone from the 70’s
      Floyd zepp, Joplin and so many others…now that was music!

    • Pelu Maad

      Who…?????

    • Eric

      Love Tame Impala. I will have to check out the rest.

    • Tom R

      folks to be fair to all, I WILL check out all these cool bands named
      This ole fart musician aint heard of none of them….
      sounds like a fun project whilst I myself, get psychedelic!!
      🙂

      • Mixx

        Primus is worth a look…the others….not so much

  • Tom R

    ridiculous! I guess this is just for the you ng ones, that never knew
    WHAT A STUPID ARTICLE
    GENESIS
    FLOYD
    ZEPP
    THE WHO
    now were talking…

    • Pelu Maad

      Yo…….no San Francisco?

      • Tom R

        never heard of em.. my friend pelu
        can you point me to them?

        • Rick Pauley

          Pretty sure Pelu is referring to the San Francisco “scene”. Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead etc.

    • Eric

      What part of “modern” didn’t you get? And The Who and Led Zeppelin are not psychedelic.

      • Tom R

        my bad mate…will you ever forgive me? still my bet is most don’t know ANY of those listed…and most of us? will always know
        Music will never be the same since……PERIOD

        • Eric

          You’d be surprised. Classic rock is everywhere. And yes, you are right, music will never be the same as the 60’s and 70’s. Thankfully. As much as I love Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd I wouldn’t want to be listening to bands trying to copy them for the last thirty or so years. Boring! If you like blues oriented rock, I suggest Earthless. Little to no lyrics but pretty good stuff. Also check out Dead Meadow. They are similarly inspired by 60’s psychedelia and 70’s hard rock/metal. You might even like Tame Impala. They are pretty heavily influenced by the 60’s and 70’s.

          Edit: someone above reminded me – check out the Black Angels too. And the Brian Jonestown Massacre (try the song Anemone)

      • Rick Pauley

        I get your point, but the last thing I need is another article extolling the virtues of Dark Side of the Moon in 2017.

  • Al Rodman

    The black angels should be included

    • contel

      Thank you! I couldn’t think of their names and actually pulled this article up in Google while searching for it.

  • Paul Sorensen

    Besides the usual suspects, I listened to a lot of import rock in the 70’s. Bands like: Tear Gas, New Trolls, Omega,
    Brainticket, Kraftwerk, Janne Schaefer, Garibaldi, King Crimson…the list is endless.
    I’ll have to light up and give some of those listed a listen. Maybe you can make an old dog listen to new music.

  • glorpthesmelly

    Quicksilver Messenger Service…….Happy Trails album

    26 minute long version of “Who Do You Love”

    Did 5 hits of orange sunshine and went on a mind- trip through the jungle in 1972
    Listened to it for 26 hours straight with a reel to reel tape player with auto reverse

    Still my all time favorite psychedelic album.

    Wish I could still find some REAL LSD

    • nixnoutz

      Old music- Ten Years After. George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass”. Canned Heat’s “Living the Blues”. Steve Miller Band “Number 5” album.

      • Stuart Baldwin

        Ten Years After. Probably my favorite group in college. I like your Max Headroom avatar.

  • moo m,oo

    Hi ya’ll! I think us old farts like the old stuff cuz we grew up with it. I don’t know any of the bands listed, will check them out. After all, Pink Floyd was brand new and unheard of once upon a time but still takes us all places we’d never been before, so hopefully these new groups can do the same…tho I cant imagine how, haha. Music is so incredible, it keeps evolving and changing, and with only those few notes, how do they do that!

  • nixnoutz

    New music. Listen to some of it. Always searching for good psych music. And the Psychobilly music nowadays. And some of the Industrial music.
    Unfortunately bands don’t seem to specialize in Psych. A few cuts or an album. Heaven’s Gateway Drugs. If you like metal/hard rock and a female lead singer, In this Moment. Infected Rain. The Pretty Reckless.
    A good band of the ’70s that wasn’t real popular, Ten Year’s After.

  • iRaHuman

    Try some ‘psychill’: Captain Marigold, trancetribal, savaas kalt, check it out on Youtube; headphone candy for your flying pleasure…

  • hamdalf

    That Earthless record is actually a split single with a band called Harsh Toke. ‘Acid Crusher’ is by Earthless, ‘Mount Swan’ is by Harsh Toke. it’s a great recommendation, but it would be a lot better if the author had managed to do it accurately.

  • Check Oulu Space Jam Collective on Bandcamp. Also, I prefer Polygondwanaland by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, but Sketches is also great.

    As for the fossil rockers: grow up, try something new

    • nixnoutz

      Oh! I’d already mentioned- Heaven’s Gateway Drugs does a couple psych songs. They’re from Ohio, U.S.A. Also Monster Magnet did 2? albums with spacey music.”Tab” was one. They’re from Red Bank, N.J., U.S.A. After a Bing search and reading a discography discovered they did albums I’d never heard!

  • Tony Gonzo

    Fuzz Hits and Bong Hits!

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    A psychedelic arist that should be added to this list is Fuzz Heady.

    He combines Electronic music and Stoner Rock in a very organic sounding blend that is sure to improve your high and get your mind wondering into that candy land. Find more about him here: https://beat.media/stoner-rock-reviews-presents-fuzz-heady-the-birth-of-the-electronic-stoner-rock-genre

  • Pat

    I always thought this sounded pretty good but then I heard it with a little Blueberry Haze:

    https://majorbummerband.bandcamp.com/album/party-time