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The Australian Psych-Rock Scene: Is There Such a Thing?

It is undeniable that there’s a strong Psych-Rock production being done In Australia. It can be dated back to the 70’s, but this new wave of Psych-Rock is more recent than that. For sure it is more noticeable now with the wide-spreading of some band’s music, like Tame impala’s or King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s, but the layers of this genre in Australia are thicker than what they seem, with influences ranging from Pop to Metal.

Some might not agree with this statement, considering that current top-tier acts have interchangeable band members. It is true that these bands share their musicians, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that all of them produce the same kind of content, or that there aren’t new Psych-Rock acts emerging by the minute. One example of this is Methyl Ethel, a mix of Dream Pop with psychedelic sounds with huge growth since the release of Oh Inhuman Spectacle back in 2016. They were one of the latest bands to come out of the Aussie Psych scene with a growing worldwide audience.

Likewise, there are also some “older” bands that aren’t exactly recognized as Australian. Some coming out almost at the same time as those aforementioned pioneers were becoming a bigger deal, but not exploding like them. Despite that, there’s an ever-growing level of attention gravitating towards these acts:

SUNBEAM SOUND MACHINE

Nick Sowersby’s dreamy creation, even though not exactly new, is one of the fastest growing Psych acts coming from down under. It’s the most chilled out Psych-Rock that you can listen to in order to travel through dimensions and gaze into space.

MOSES GUNN COLLECTIVE

Same as Sunbeam Sound Machine, Moses Gunn Collective is also another band that is not commonly known for being Aussie. Since the release of their first EP Morning Shakes, they became fairly popular within their country’s limits, but after their debut album Mercy Mountain, their appeal turned from local to worldwide.

Apart from these previously mentioned bands, there’s a wave of recent rising acts making a mark as well:

PSYCHEDELIC PORN CRUMPETS

They formed in 2015 but it didn’t take them long to become one of the most interesting bands in current times. Their debut album High Visceral Pt.1 received attention from all over the world, due to its smooth shift from garage-rock influences to sweet, melodic riffs. Both albums released so far are a journey within everything that current Psych-Rock can be, offering layers of dynamism – It can range from fuzz to strings straight out of an orchestra, and it all just makes perfect sense as a whole.

THE BABE RAINBOW

The sunniest of the bunch. Their first EP came out in 2015 almost as an introduction to what would be their self-titled full length album released 2 years later. A continuation of their exploration with poppy and groovy sounds, bringing nostalgia to those who fell in love with 60’s music.

ORB

Another band that came out with an EP in 2015, which led to their steady growth up the Psych scene scale. This time, we’re talking about heavier sounding riffs and a strong Black Sabbath influence.

This just goes to show the range of this Psych movement in Australia, giving anyone who wants to explore a diverse array of options to choose from, according to their personal preference (even though we believe it would be easy to fall in love with all of them).

If it isn’t for these already established acts, there’s always some new ones to look out for, like Gunns (who released their first EP She’s a Rainbow in 2016), or Baked Beans (with only a demo on SoundCloud and a single released in 2017 called Plans, but that already sounds extremely promising).

The question that remains is: Why is there such a strong psychedelic presence in modern Australian music production? Maybe it’s because “the grass is greener on the other side”, and therefore most of Australia’s backyards look identical. Maybe it’s the geographical location that makes them pay more attention to what’s being produced in their own country. Maybe it’s growing up listening to the same bands that might influence them to make the same kind of music. Maybe it’s the weather and the scenery that inspires them. Either way, we are thankful that there’s such thing as an Aussie Psych-Rock movement because it for sure has brought us some great music for a long time, with a lot more always on the verge of blowing up.

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