The Top 100 Neo-Psychedelic Albums
The Top 100 Neo-Psychedelic Albums
Before the criticisms begin, let me state that this list is a work in progress. It has to be done this way because neo-psych albums are released all the time, and it’s simply impossible to listen to and assess every single one. Additionally, many neo-psych albums have already been released but haven’t yet found their way to my ears. As such, this list intends to provide an overview of the best albums of the genre and a starting point for those wishing to explore it. It’s not intended to be the be-all, end-all, and I reserve the right to update it at any time.
It’s necessary to define the term. What exactly qualifies as a “neo-psychedelic” album?
Most people know the Golden Age of psychedelic rock was in the late 60s. Remarkably, that explosive era occurred within just four years (1966-1970) and then all but disappeared. By the mid-70s, the genre was horribly out of fashion.
At the tail end of the 70s, however, there were signs that psychedelic rock was making a comeback. English acts like Echo and the
Neo-psychedelic artists often use electronic instrumentation and production techniques that didn’t exist in the 60s to achieve a psychedelic effect.
Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes, and The Soft Boys, as well as Australian band, The Church, incorporated some subtle psychedelia into their sound. Soon after, the Paisley Underground appeared with bands like Rain Parade and Green on Red tapping into psychedelia.
So, neo-psychedelic rock is influenced by the psychedelic sounds of the 60s and sometimes by psychedelic drugs. Neo-psychedelic artists often use electronic instrumentation and production techniques that didn’t exist in the 60s to achieve a psychedelic effect. The albums included on this list are from 1980 forward.
I should note here that the albums on this list are all considered neo-psychedelic rock. Although some excellent electronic albums are considered psychedelic, I did not include them on this list.
In putting the list together, I found a couple of quandries. For example, do I consider albums by Twink, the only artist who has been making psychedelic music consistently since the 60s? Would his newer music be classic psych or neo-psych? Ultimately, I decided not to include any of his albums on this list. I encourage you, however, to check out our review of his latest album: Think Pink V by Twink: Album Review as well as my interview with Twink.
Another dilemma was whether to include The Dukes of Stratosphear’s 25 O’Clock. The record bursts with the essence of psychedelia, but clocks in at less than 27 minutes, which means it’s an EP, not a full album, and therefore doesn’t qualify. If it had been slightly longer, I would have included it very close to the top of this list. However, Psonic Psunspot, the sole full-length studio release by The Dukes of Stratosphear, is included on this list.
In a few cases, I included albums not reviewed on AllMusic, simply placing them on the list where I saw fit.
The Rating System
So how did I choose which albums made the list and where they ranked? My primary resource for this project is/was AllMusic.com, which offers two rankings using a five-star scale. One ranking is provided by an AllMusic critic, while the other is
Some albums sound more psychedelic to some listeners on certain days—depending on mood, ability to focus, and state of consciousness.
based on user feedback. I listened to each of the albums considered (over 180) and provided a third ranking: psychedelic quotient. In other words, I quantified the degree to which the album is psychedelic and ranked it on a five-scale. I then added up each album’s three scores and divided them by three.
Of course, this is not a perfect system. What sounds psychedelic to me may not sound psychedelic to you, and vice versa. Additionally, some albums sound more psychedelic to some listeners on certain days—depending on mood, ability to focus, and state of consciousness. So, while I reserve the right to adjust the list, I stand by it—for now—and I welcome input from you, the readers.
|98||Cheval Sombre||Cheval Sombre|
|95||A Dream in Sound||Elf Power|
|94||Back to Land||Wooden Shjips|
|93||Datura||Lorelle Meets the Obsolete|
|92||Dead Meadow||Dead Meadow|
|91||High Visceral pt. 1||Psychedelic Porn Crumpets|
|90||Water for the Frogs||Hooveriii|
|89||Aufheben||The Brian Jonestown Massacre|
|88||Pink Felt Trip||The Chemistry Set|
|87||Nonagon Infinity||King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard|
|86||Fun Trick Noisemaker||The Apples in Stereo|
|85||Mutilator Defeated at Last||Thee Oh Sees|
|83||Radiator||Super Furry Animals|
|82||Sixteen Tambourines||The Three O’Clock|
|81||Spanish Dance Troupe||Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci|
|80||Eccsame the Photon Band||Lilys|
|79||Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?||of Montreal|
|78||Inner Marshalnd||The Bevis Frond|
|77||The Sunlandic Twins||of Montreal|
|76||Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia||Dandy Warhols|
|75||666||Sugar Candy Mountain|
|73||Join the Dots||TOY|
|72||Passover||The Black Angels|
|71||Warble Womb||Dead Meadow|
|70||Pop||Tones on Tail|
|68||Earth, Sun, Moon||Love and Rockets|
|65||Lazer Guided Melodies||Spiritualized|
|63||War of the Wakening Phantoms||The High Dials|
|62||We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic||Foxygen|
|61||Joy of the 4th||Bhopal’s Flowers|
|60||Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots||Flaming Lips|
|59||A Storm in Heaven||The Verve|
|58||Bon Voyage||Melody’s Echo Chamber|
|57||In the Village of the Apple Sun||Anton Barbeau|
|56||Green Imagination||The Sunshine Fix|
|53||The Shining Realm||Shining Realm|
|51||Midnight Sun||Ghost of a Sabre-Toothed Tiger|
|50||Other Way Out||Sun Dial|
|48||Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms, and Lava||King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard|
|47||Age of the Sun||The Sunshine Fix|
|45||Sun Goes Out||Communicant|
|43||The Universe Inside||The Dream Syndicate|
|42||Phase Zero||Morgan Delt|
|41||Masana Temples||Kikagaku Moyo|
|39||Space and Time: a Compendium of the Orange Alabaster Mushroom||Orange Alabaster Mushroom|
|38||Strung Behind the Sun||Green Pajamas|
|36||Element of Light||Robyn Hitchcock|
|34||Ladies and Gentlemen…We Are Floating in Space||Spiritualized|
|32||Playing with Fire||Spacemen 3|
|31||Ta Det Lugdt||Dungen|
|30||The Gay Parade||of Montreal|
|29||The Phoenix Album||The Warlocks|
|28||Beard, Wives, Denim||Pond|
|27||Black Foliage||Olivia Tremor Control|
|26||Crushed Velvet Apocolypse||The Legendary Pink Dots|
|25||Psonic Psunspot||The Dukes of Stratosphear|
|24||South of Reality||The Claypool Lennon Delirium|
|23||Directions to See a Ghost||The Black Angels|
|22||Chambers||Lorelle Meets the Obsolete|
|21||Monolith of Phobos||The Claypool-Lennon Delirium|
|20||Before Today||Ariel Pink’s Haunted Grafitti|
|19||The Wilderness of Mirrors||The Black Angels|
|18||Teen Dream||Beach House|
|17||Clouds Taste Metallic||Flaming Lips|
|14||Satanic Panic||of Montreal|
|12||Yerself Is Steam||Mercury Rev|
|11||Their Satanic Majesties Second Request||The Brian Jonestown Massacre|
|10||Emergency Third Rail Power Trip||Rain Parade|
|9||Butterfly 3000||King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard|
|6||Her Wallpaper Reverie||The Apples in Stereo|
|5||Dusk at Cubist Castle||Olivia Tremor Control|
|4||The Maria Dimension||The Legendary Pink Dots|
|3||Shivering King and Others||Dead Meadow|
|2||The Soft Bulletin||Flaming Lips|
|1||Transmissions from the Satellite Heart||Flaming Lips|