The Evolution of Psychedelic Dance Rock

Jagwar Ma

This post is part of our Psych 101 program, an in-depth, 14-part series that looks at the impact of psychedelia on modern music. Want to sign up to receive the other installments in your inbox? Go here. Already signed up and enjoying it? Help us get the word out by sharing it on Facebook, Twitter or just sending your friends this link. They’ll thank you. We thank you.

The idea of psychedelic dance rock can be traced back to the late ’80s and early ’90s. This is when three bands in particular—Primal Scream, The Stone Roses, and the wildly eccentric Happy Mondays—started combining the neo-psychedelic jangle and reverb-stained textures of indie and New Wave with the euphorically funky grooves and ecstatic hedonism of the United Kingdom’s anarchic rave scene. Crafting a sound that both guitar freaks and club rats can appreciate, this trio of bands can be credited with setting the stage for a much larger marriage between rock and dance music that would wash over pop culture by the 21st century.

In addition to featuring cuts from each of these pioneers, our playlist delivers a crash course in those artists who have proven gifted in submerging alt-rock and electronic-based dance music in trippy flavors and kaleidoscopic colors. Heavy on remixes accentuating groove, our mix includes prime cuts from Jagwar Ma, Caribou, Inspiral Carpets, Animal Collective, and LCD Soundsystem. We’ve even tossed in a few far-leftfield picks from exotic dreamers Peaking Lights and Golden Teacher, an absolutely killer project out of Glasgow that specializes in a brand of psychoactive tribalism that sounds as if it were recorded on Mars. Simply pressing play is sure to get you dosed.