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.
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
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.
Sketches of Brunswick East by 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
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.
The Desaturating Seven by 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
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.