Pioneered by The Beatles, The Byrds and the Yardbirds, psychedelia has been hugely influential on music across the world. Over the past few years we have seen a surge in psych bands, as well as an increase in psychedelic festivals showcasing both new and old talent from across the world. There’s a strong sense of global community around psychedelic culture at this moment.
The ideals and creativity of psychedelia are seen in pockets of activity in every country that connects globally through the web, allowing the culture to grow and evolve without barriers or constraints. More and more, we are seeing bands creating music that’s ambitious, exploratory and increasingly intelligent.
Here at Subculture, we’ve compiled a small list of some of the best current psych acts from across the globe.
From Leeds, England, Hookworms’ sound pulls elements of neo-psych, post-punk and space rock together to create their ferocious and uncompromising sound. Hailed as one of the most expansive bands of the new psychedelic-rock movement by various media outlets, their latest album The Hum has proved to be just that. With loud, brooding guitar manipulations and fuzz-swirled freak-outs, Hookworms’ album is joyously anthemic. Listen to their single, 'The Impasse':
Hailing from Calgary, Canada, Viet Cong produce the ultimate cold-climate psych-rock. Their widely acclaimed self-titled album brings you low-fi, haunting and chaotic tracks with subversive melodies and jerky rhythms. VC’s single 'Continental Shelf' displays a 60s style vocal pop drum beat, backed with wailing guitars, supported by uneasy vocals and neutralized with heavenly harmonies. Listen to it here:
Night Beats are an American Psychedelic, Garage and Soul group based out of Seattle, Washington. Named as homage to Sam Cooke’s Magnum Opus, Night Beats specialize in reverb-blasted garage rock that openly pays reverence to the psych and soul learning’s of The Zombies. Their touring history is pretty impressive, having shared the stage with influential groups such as The Black Angels, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Roky Erickson of The 13th Floor Elevators.
Leeds-based band, Menace Beach, walk the line between ‘90s indie and shoegaze, with echoes of Britpop and fuzzed-out US alt-rock. Their impressive lineup consists of joint-singers Liza Violet and Komakino’s Ryan Needham as well as Leeds luminaries Matt “MJ” Johnson of Hookworms, Rob Lee of Pulled Apart By Horses on guitar, Nestor Matthews of Sky Larkin on drums and Matt Spalding of You Animals on bass. Whether this is a new band or just a project/supergroup, we’re not sure. Either way, their acclaimed debut album, Ratworld is a head swirling rush of fuzzed out melodies and heavy, supercharged pop. You can catch Menace Beach at this year’s Dot to Dot Festival 22-24th May.
Fever the Ghost
In their very brief existence, Fever The Ghost have already made quite an impression with their spectacular live performances, quickly becoming the one band on the tip of everyone’s tongues within L.A’s Silverlake and Echo Park scene. Their mish-mash of 70s glam and forward thinking psych-pop has certainly turned heads over recent months. Signed to the ever-reliable Heavenly, their EP Crab In Honey takes us back to the halcyon days with the helping hands of Bob Ludwig, (master of little-known David Bowie, Nirvana and Radiohead) and grows more complex and deep with each successive listen. Enjoy their trippy animation vid for 'SOURCE'.
L.A. Witch is Sade Sanchez, Irita Pai and Ellie English. Together they make dirty, dark, distorted, reverb-soaked rock straight from Echo Park, L.A. Their fiery, slow burning jams on their latest self-titled EP are fueled by 60s garage influences, loaded with ghostly lo-fi vocals and backed with reverb-heavy guitars. With plans to release a 7” in Spring, we’re keeping tabs on this witch’s cauldron. Listen to ‘Heart of Darkness’:
Arguably quite an established artist these days, Ty Segall is a one-man dynamo born in the surf of Laguna Beach, California. He sings, plays drums and plays guitar, and is one of the greatest hard-rocking garage punks currently on the scene. There’s no way to define Segall within a specific genre; his patented mix of free-ranging psychedelia and torrents of British Invasion inspired melodies lead to new musical expressions that relentlessly surprise and excite. Listen to 'Manipulator' here:
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
King Gizzard are a band of seven multi-instrumentalists from Melbourne, Australia who specialize in eccentric and unpredictable psychedelic music. Their path takes you down an acid-soaked trip of flute-toting, wah-guitars and tape manipulations. Despite the chaos, their fifth album, I’m In Your Mind, Fuzz is a well crafted concept piece and an experience to say the least. Listen to their single, 'Cellophane' here:
Holy Wave are a band of multi-instrumentalists from Austin, Texas who generate sun-baked psychedelia with a surf-rock vibe. They’ve got the far-off, dreamy vocal wash of shoegazers but their guitars and hooks are anything but subtle. Their latest full-length, “Relax” expands on their previous EP’s lo-fi sounds, with added clunky guitar manipulations and droning riffs that haunt and harmonize. You can stream the album in its entirety here:
Tim Presley is White Fence. A multi-instrumentalist from California whose extensive career has seen him in a number of hardcore and psychedelic bands, including - quite randomly - joining The Fall as a touring guitarist in 2006. Since 2010, Presley has recorded under the name White Fence, whereby he has released six studio albums and a collab, Hair, with Ty Segall. His restless writing and recording has traversed into a range of psychedelia that is hard to define, but nevertheless, still divine.