List: Top 15 Modern Day Psych Bands You Should Be Listening To



tameimpala

Looking for a taste of modern psychedelic rock? Here are some bands you should check out.

1. Tame Impala

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It only felt right to put Kevin Parker’s Tame Impala (pictured above) at number one on this list. While he’s trying to make his music a more communal experience with July’s Currents. Innerspeaker and Lonersim happen to be some of my favorite headphone albums of the past five years. Tame Impala started out as a solo project that was never meant to see the light of day. Be thankful that it did.

2. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

As Tame Impala is Australian, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard just so happen to be too. I’m In Your Mind Fuzz was one of the most important psychedelic albums of 2014 with a flow that was unmatched. Having released Quarters about a month ago, King Gizzard shows that they’re bold as well, writing four tracks that all time out at 10:10. Their sound is important and is easily shaping the psychedelic landscape of today.

3. Wand

Having come out of nowhere in 2014, Wand has already has release two impressive albums. While Ganglion Reef has a more whimsical approach, the 2015 follow up Golem takes the group into unexpected darker territories. Golem even gets sludgy at some points, which is an easy surprise to like netting Wand number three.

4. The Black Angels

If The Black Angels first album Passover doesn’t make you think of the war-torn, LSD soaked images of Apocalypse Now, then you’re listening to it wrong. One of the most impressive psychedelic debuts in the last nine years, Passover delivered unique homages to the artists of yesteryear without sounding recycled. It also helps that their name is taken from Velvet Underground song “The Black Angels Death Song.”

5. White Fence

What started out as a project recorded on low-cost equipment is now helping to define the Californian psych scene. White Fence has to be here at number five. I’ll let “Like That” do the talking.

6. Deerhunter

One of the best things about song “He Would Have Laughed” is that it pays an affecting elegy to late, great garage rocker Jay Retard. While it’s not the most rockin’ of songs, Deerhunter have taken psychedelics to some new wide-open spaces.

7. Thee Oh Sees

Another favorite out of the California scene, Thee Oh Sees’ prolific and sonic nature earn them a number seven spot. While including heavy garage elements into their sound, the Sees’ catalog adds many psychedelic elements that easily make them a captivating, druggy, yet energetic listen.

8. Pond

Sharing members with Tame Impala, Pond could be considered the jesters of psych rock. Taking a lot of cues from The Flaming Lips. Pond also manages to get progressive at times with nod to King Crimson and Pink Floyd. These space psych-ers are always ready for blast off — especially with an album entitled Hobo Rocket.

9. Woods

Yet another artist from the Cali sun soaked psych scene, Woods brings three very impressive points to their sound — a lo-fi folk pop sound, their back porch, weird American vibe, and frontman Jeremy Earl’s impressive brand of nonchalant, cutesy cursing. There’s nothing like hearing a high-pitched “fuck” out of nowhere.

10. Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger

The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger (AKA the GOASTT) consists of Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl. Their sound is Tame Impala meets The Flaming Lips. Plus, being John Lennon’s son also allows form some cred.

11. Unknown Mortal Orchestra

While UMO’s most recent album Multi-Love is a bit of a pivot, their self-titled debut and II easily got their hooks into me with their kooky hooks and trippy licks. Plus, II had one of the strongest three-song openings in 2013.

12. Temples

Kettering, England’s Temples are always good for a straight-ahead shot of neo-psychedelic freak beat fuzz. The band likes to cling to its British Invasion influences, and that’s by no means a bad thing.

13. Electric Eye

Born in Norway, Electric Eye builds an expansive sonic landscape of kraut-inspired space, rock, blues, and little bits of Indian music. What makes Electric Eye’s debut so electrifying? Well I’ve praised bands like Holy Wave, Morningbell, Rose Windows, and Tame Impala in the past for keeping their influences close all while keeping the listener engaged. It’s that same strategy that makes Electric Eye work.

14. Lab Partners

Originaly formed in 1998 by Mike Smith, Amy Smith, and Matt Schultz, Lab Partners have come along way. Their last effort, 2014’s Seven Seas, netted them a Fire Note top 50 release. It also featured Breeders and Guided By Voices drummer Jim MacPherson. While their main category could be shoegaze, their slow-rocking burn can have a psychedelic feel.

15. Rose Windows

The key to Rose Windows is their familiar sound palettes applied in epic, grand, and beautiful ways — a dash of Doors-like organ patterns here, some Sabbath-style riffs there, thrown in with the cultural/musical influences of Native Americans, Persians, and Eastern Europeans. With its great production dynamics, honed focuses on mood and atmosphere, and narcotic heavy grooves, Chris Cheveyo’s Rose Windows have coaxed a distinct newness out of old classics. Sadly they are no longer with us as they broke up after their May 2015 self-titled release, the follow up to their debut The Sun Dogs.

Photo credit: By Allapologies v (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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One comment on “List: Top 15 Modern Day Psych Bands You Should Be Listening To
  1. Pingback: Song of the Day: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – “I’m Not In Your Mind / Cellophane” | Rocknuts

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