Having grown up in a very musical family, 60s-70s rock music has always been a big part of my life, especially the late 60s Woodstock/Vietnam era psychedelic sounds such as Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, and Cream as well as Sgt Pepper-era Beatles. Since starting uni I have been progressively into more modern variants of Psychedelic rock which has turned into a fantastic subversive genre which is amongst one of the most interesting modern music genres in my opinion with a wealth of non-British or American artists to delve into.
Whilst these artists are only skimming the surface of great modern psychedelic bands they show that the genre has much potential and enjoyment to be found
One of the biggest names in the modern Psychedelic sound is, without doubt, Tame Impala, the brainchild of Australian multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Kevin Parker, all 3 of Tame Impala’s albums from 2010’s Innerspeaker, through to 2015’s Currents have received universal acclaim and made him one of the most interesting artists working today. The evolution of sound across the three records is incredible to hear, whilst all 3 clearly come from the same artist, each has its own unique sonic vibrancy and energy.
Innerspeaker starts off with the more melodic and thoughtful it is not meant to be and continues with a bristling energy to its close, highlights including “Alter ego”, “solitude is bliss” and one my personal favourites “I don’t really mind”. Lonerism is my personal favourite album by Tame impala, sounding like Sgt Pepper era Beatles dialled up to 11 and boasting several of the groups biggest singles including “Elephant” and “feels like we only go backwards”, there is not a single poor track on the record and it is a truly great modern record, Currents is perhaps Parker’s most mainstream effort, however, is still immensely enjoyable, if perhaps a bit too reliant on its increasingly electronic sound. Hopefully, if rumours are to be believed record 4 is on its way this year.
New Zealand’s Unknown Mortal Orchestra are sure to be a favourite of fans of Kevin Parker’s work, with a stretch of superb albums and singles to choose from and having just dropped new LP, Sex & Food, there is constant energy and groove to be found in tracks like “Multi Love”, “so good at being in trouble” and “necessary evil”, I also have a fondness for “ I can’t keeping checking my phone”. Sex and food, from what I have heard thus far from “American Guilt” appear to represent a heavier approach, showing that the group is adding more strings to its bow and will be an important group going forward and it is a shame they have perhaps gone under the mainstream radar thus far.
Animal Collective is a very experimental group, who I have not had much interaction with, however, they are an important part of the modern Psychedelic scene tracks such as “My Girls”, and “Summertime Clothes” being, very upbeat and showcasing their harmonies. Melody’s echo chamber is another very exciting artist, who has in the past collaborated with Kevin Parker, tracks such as “I follow you” and “Quand vas tu rentrer” are exciting reminders of Psychedelic music’s roots and its importance , whilst she has released just the one album it is one of the best recent Psychedelic records and has generated high hopes for its follow-up.
Some of the other modern Psychedelic bands to have on your radar are Temples, from Kettering, who are clearly influenced by English bands of the 1960s such as the Kinks, however, have developed their own unique sound from this. Their 2014 debut Sun Structures, received largely positive reviews. Whilst these artists are only skimming the surface of great modern psychedelic bands they show that the genre has much potential and enjoyment to be found, hopefully, there are more great bands out there to discover.