Psychedelic Rock is arguably the most important genre in Rock history. Bred from a 1960’s counterculture centered on taking psychedelic drugs in order to experience a heightened sense of reality through distortions, vibration, vivid colorizations and lucid dreaming, the culture tried to replicate LSD effects through vibrant pictures and sounds.
Psychedelic Rock is characterized by heavily effected instrumentation. Reverb echoes incessantly, tremolo takes the place of standard lead guitar lines, while distortion buzzes throughout. Lyrics attempted to relay visions and feelings produced during these cosmic inner journeys.
Requirements was pioneered by The Beatles, and taken up by such bands since the Yardbirds, Cream, Pink Floyd and The Jimi Hendrix Experience. The band primarily attributed to inventing the term Psychedelic Rock is the Austin, TX based The 13th Floor Elevators.
The particular movement hit its peak with The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request, Red Floyd’s The Piper at the Entrance of Dawn, all eventually ejaculating in 1969 at Woodstock, exactly where psychedelic acts such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Santana performed.
A number of events contributed to the drop in popularity of Psychedelic Rock. LSD had been declared illegal, the link between Sharon Tate’s murder simply by Charles Manson and The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” led to a “hippie backlash”. “Acid casualties”, or people adversely affected by hallucinogens and drugs generally, became posters for avoiding psychedelic experiences: Syd Barrett’s insanity, the particular deaths of Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin led to a more raw “back to basics” trend in Rock.
However , because of the appeal of Psychedelic Rock, new genres were being formed, including Modern Rock and Heavy Metal. Musicians who grew up listening to Psychedelia still wanted to take elements from the movement, plus included their favorite aspects into their respective sounds.
In the late 1970’s, groups primarily in the Post-Punk scene worked to revive Psychedelia, blending the distortions, reverb and phaser (et al) with the upbeat dance beats of New Wave. Bands such as Siouxsie and the Banshees, Echo and the Bunnymen, The particular Soft Boys, and The Church used the 60’s nuances to complete 80’s effect. Hence, Neo-Psychedelia came to be.
The popularity of these bands bled in to the 90’s, with the Shoegaze of Our Bloody Valentine and The Jesus associated with Mary Chain carrying over through the 80’s, the emergence of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Dandy Warhols, and the Electric 6 Collective including The Apples in Stereo, of Montreal, and Neutral Milk Hotel.
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Neo-Psychedelia can basically be summed as any form of music incorporating Psychedelic elements within its songs.
True Psychedelic Rock is untouchable, getting ended with the decline of the counterculture. If one were to write first songs in the Psychedelic Rock style those songs would be Neo-Psychedelic.
Psychedelic Music was so powerful in its statement, primarily through its promise of experiencing heightened art, it continues to dominate our musical styles to this day. And I’m willing to wager that it will never fizzle out completely.