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Psychedelic Rock dominated 1960’s culture to an obscene extreme. To the stage where most Rock music today arguably contains some Psychedelia. Turn on an Indie Rock music station/playlist and you’ll no doubt hear fuzz, sitar, wah effects, complex time signatures, a solid keyboard presence, among other elements.
Oh yeah, and drugs. That was pretty important.
Once the 60’s ended, most of these Psychedelic bands developed new sounds, mainly pushing into the boundaries of ROCK and Progressive Rock.
In the 1980’s, bands that were heavily influenced by Psychedelic Rock were deemed Neo-Psychedelic. This was due to the fact they put their own spin on the medium, otherwise they might have already been cover bands showcasing oldies but goodies.
Neo-Psychedelic music is actually any band following the 60’s/70’s that produced a Psychedelic sound. As a result of modernization and multitude of new styles, these bands never produced true Psychedelia. They were Neo.
Here is a list of my personal Top 10 10 favorite Neo-Psychedelic bands of the 1980’s:
10. THE DUKES OF STRATOSPHEAR:
A lot of people know the members of the band beneath the moniker XTC. XTC wished to release a handful of records to pay homage to Psychedelia, nonetheless it wouldn’t jive making use of their electro disco grooves. Cue The Dukes of Stratosphear. They were a blip on the screen, releasing a mini-album (“25 O’Clock”) in 1985 and a complete length (“Psonic Psunspot”) in 1987. One little cute artifact: in the credits of XTC’s “Skylarking” album, the band thanked The Dukes for loaning them their guitars.
***Suggested songs: “What In The World?”, “Your Gold Dress”
9. PSILOCYBE CUBENSIS B+ till salu -lived band, active between 1981 and 1988 (but additionally recently reformed in 2012), The Rain Parade arrived of the Paisley Underground scene in LA. Jangly guitars dominate the spectrum, harking to early Pink Floyd, The Who, and mid-career Beatles. A little more toned down, yet great inspirational music. Inspiration for what? You function as judge.
***Suggested songs: “I Look Around”, “Look Both Ways”
8. THE GLOVE
Mainly notable for the teaming of The Cure’s Robert Smith and Siouxsie and the Banshees’ Steven Severin, that is New Wave Psychedelia. Named following the flying glove in The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” movie, The Glove put out only one album, “Blue Sunshine”, named after the horror movie of the same name in which people take a form of LSD called “Blue Sunshine” and embark on a murder spree.
***Suggested songs: “Orgy”, “Punish Me With Kisses”
7. THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS
One of the weirdest in this bunch. LPD are an Anglo-Dutch band originally from London, moved to Amsterdam. They’ve released 40 albums, all just about out of your mainstream. However, they do have a following and tour regularly. Their 80’s output is primarily synthpop based Psychedelia. Perfect 80’s/60’s crossover.
***Suggested songs: “Sleezo”, “Wall Purges Night”
6. THE DREAM SYNDICATE
Another Paisley Underground band and led by Steve Winn, the Syndicate was an 80’s version of The Velvet Underground. Loud, raw guitars on top of smooth bass and reverbed drums, Steve Winn rocked out with his sock out, meeting instant success in L.A. However, they apparently started having problems with commercial success pretty soon into the gig. They opened for R.E.M and U2, aswell. Alas, the major label didn’t like a demo of theirs, “Slide Away”, plus they left A&M Records. Apt title.
***Suggested songs: “Loving The Sinner Hating the Sin”, “Never Ending Rain”
5. SPACEMEN 3
These Englishmen were a bit antagonistic, they elected to play “anti performances”. Peter Kember and Jason Pierce would play their guitars seated, facing from the audience. They apparently “disenfranchised anyone who had discovered them”. They wanted to ensure it is known that people were there because they got the band and their music. Their audience wanted to be there.
***Suggested songs: “2:35”, “Walkin’ With Jesus”
4. THE SOFT BOYS
Technically more of a 70’s band, but within our 80’s guidelines here because of them rising to the general public eye in 1980 making use of their release of “Underwater Moonlight”. Post-punk infused Psychedelia that was like a lovechild between your Clash and late Beatles. One of the rawest of the list, it’s too bad these guys were just a blip on the scene.
***Suggested songs: “I Wanna Destroy You”, “I Got the Hots”
3. SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES
Led by Siouxsie Sioux out of London, the girl and the Banshees, as cited by The Times, were “the most audacious and uncompromising musical adventurers of the post-punk era.” Especially on their third album, “Kaleidoscope”, they explored Psychedelic Gothic New Wave, bringing synths and sitars as well as drum machines to create a dark disassociative trip that, ironically, you intend to repeat again and again.
***Suggested songs: “Desert Kisses”, “Skin”
2. THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN
Brothers Jim and William Reid started this guitar based noise termed Shoegaze in 1983. Take The Velvet Underground, add droney distorted guitars up the wazoo, and violent stage shows, and you have TJAMC. Bands like The Brian Jonestown Massacre had nothing on these guys. These people had something to state, a pain formulated amongst frustrated noise, indistinguishable but operating in the back of listener’s minds, metastasizing into pleasureable understanding.
***Suggested songs: “EXACTLY LIKE Honey”, “Gimme Hell”
1. MY BLOODY VALENTINE
Here comes the noise, and the noise may be the drug. Hailed because the loudest band on the planet, they actually hand earplugs out to audiences before a show. Their “magnum opus” “Loveless” was released in 1991, considered by many to be among the finest albums of the 90’s, but MBV released a string of records between 1985 and 1989, most notably “Isn’t Anything”. This can be the dark side of Psychedelia, a precursor to the awesome output of the 90’s angst and rage in mainstream music. A dark trip, but one which you don’t want to drop from.