To many fans, the death knell of the golden era of psychedelic rock music was when Jim Morrison of The Doors died in his Paris hotel room in 1971. His death marked the end of a two-year span that had seen legendary movement-pioneers Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix also die at the age of 27.
This period was also an ending for many cultural aspects of the hippy and psychedelic movement. The hopeful ‘Summer of Love’, Hunter S. Thompson’s famous ‘high-watermark’, and the saturation of places like Height-Ashbury. Soon the music moved on too as bands became less psychedelic and more folksy, political or hard rocking. However, since the late 2000s, the genre has seen somewhat of a revival around the world. Spearheaded by young bands from Australia and California, the psychedelic rock revival has produced some global superstars and unique talent. But who are the biggest bands of this new-wave of 60’s inspired beatnik guitar janglers?
Granddads of the psychedelic revival, Perth, Australia founded band Tame Impala are indisputably the most successful psychedelic rock band of the modern era. With several award-winning and platinum-selling albums under their belt, Tame Impala are back in 2019 after a two-year hiatus. But of course, frontman and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Parker has been busy in other projects too. From helping out with fellow Aussie psychonauts Pond, to playing bass for US chart-topping rapper Travis Scott, or collaborating with some of his favourite bands such as The Flaming Lips, Parker has kept himself in work while we all waited for their new album. The first single of their new record, Patience, was a trippy disco inspired number with a gorgeously lush and pulsating bassline. Always keep em guessing we guess, Kev.
Play this band to an old hippy, and they might start scrabbling around their dope-faded memory banks trying to figure out who sang it. Let them guess for a bit, and then tell them that California’s Allah-Las are straight out of the late 2000s – via 1967. Their latest album, out this year, features standout track Raspberry Jam. With a mystical and instrumental surf-rock vibe that waves along like LA palm trees in the late August sun, if you’re a fan of all things psychedelic and guitar you’d be mad to miss this one.
These heavy riffing Iowan bluesy boys are ‘like Led Zeppelin during a heavy-duty acid rehearsal’, according to one YouTube commenter. We can’t say we disagree. Especially their first album, the amazingly titled Brain Cycles, which blares out of your speakers in whisky soaked glory like some sort of highly produced 1970s motorcycle movie soundtrack. Named after the international radio broadcasting network of the former USSR, these ten-tonne heavy yet musically groovy dudes are certainly nothing as austere as their namesake. Oh, and like Tame Impala, they are mostly the product of one mad genius multi-instrumentalist – in this case by the name of Parker Griggs.