2021: The Year of Psychedelic Music

Josh Smith discusses the genre he thinks will rise to the mainstream this year.

Josh Smith
8th February 2021
Image credit: PIxabay
The 21st century has hinted at a psychedelic revival, with release after release of quality albums.

Psychedelic, like most genres, is unexplainable, yet once you hear it, it clicks. There is a hypnotic quality like Erik Satie and something powerfully rhythmic like electronic. The early 2000s brought artists such as Ariel Pink, mixing modern pop with psychedelic and ‘80s synth sounds. This, alongside innumerable other sounds, bled into the indie and alternative scenes, bringing the underground to the dancefloor. Experimental bands and pop bands gravitated toward a common nucleus and formed a scene which hints at becoming a silver age of psychedelic music if we hear a few more good albums this year.

Tame Impala’s Currents (2015) is one of the most commercially successful albums within the scene, with catchy basslines, smooth textures and danceable beats. MGMT’s Little Dark Age (2018) gave the genre a further injection of songs perfect for both pop radio and pretentious clubs. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are still releasing albums at a mind-blowing rate, adding momentum to the genre. Bands like Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Black Moth Super Rainbow and Khruangbin are all achieving major success, yet flying in vastly different directions, creating sub-genres and exploring new sounds.

Only time will tell whether the final pushes will come from a new release from these giants or an unknown band in an obscure city. Regardless, it seems likely that something must happen eventually, fingers crossed. Who knows — maybe flares and tie-dye will accompany it.

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