Rip It Up


10 Adelaide psych rock bands to zone out to

Words by Walter Marsh October 13, 2015

From bands like King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard and Tame Impala carving out huge fanbases to the ubiquity of second hand organs and guitar pedals on Gumtree, there’s never been a better time to be a psych rock band.

Whether it’s 80s acts like The Garden Path or more recent bands like Ride Into The Sun, Adelaide has always had a strong contingent of lysergically inspired acts helping audiences zone out on stages around the city. But with events like Going Steady Fest, Vision Festival and the Adelaide Fringe’s upcoming Tripfest, it’s impossible to ignore the burgeoning scene of psych bands around town.

Here’s a handful of some of the new and more experienced acts bringing weird, kaleidoscopic sounds to Adelaide stages. Expect extended jams, detached vocals and swirling crescendos. Oh, and a liberal-bordering-on-excessive approach to wah pedals.

The Dunes

Originally a Mazzy Star inspired acoustic duo, the addition of a raft of ex-Ride Into The Sun members helped this project veer off into expansive, droning atmospheres like the Cocteau Twins dropped in a desert but the desert is underwater. Just go with it.

Glass Skies

As Glass Skies prove it isn’t all about post-70s stoner rock – 60s stoner pop is also still gear, baby. They combine swirling guitar solos with a solid love of Lennon-McCartney’s razor sharp pop hooks and Sgt. Peppers-era weirdness with some playfully Zappa-esque flourishes.


New arrivals on the scene, this trio apparently appear in different forms around town swapping vocals and songwriting duties. But as their debut track I Lost My Mind Trying To Work Out Yours, they’re also pretty good at delivering incredibly focussed, tight pop tunes sprinkled with some kind of delicious, funk-riddled seasoning. Where do you get that, guys?

Druid Fluids

Don’t let their fresh faces fool you, Druid Fluids manage to tease out some gargantuan solos in their extended jams and freakouts, with warm basslines to knead your eardrums into a higher state. Most impressively, they’re also young enough that their longest songs actually account for a proportionally large chunk of their lives so far.

Velvet Moth

Velvet Moth know the secret to breaking on through to the other side isn’t always about spacey slow jams. With a strong rhythm section and coolly delivered vocals, they’ve got some a well honed classic rock palate to remind us you can’t roll without rock \m/

Vintage Violence

Part of the FRIENDS, Old Mate and Peak Twins gene pool of Adelaide bands past and present, this duo of Ben Quici and Liam Kenny have a bleakly droning sound bristling with squalls of distorted guitar, spun out drum machines and vocals enveloped in indecipherable fuzz.


Originally ones for breezy, post-Vampire Weekend pop, Archers have pursued deep and darker directions with recent releases, embracing math rock rhythms, furious guitar and intensely aloof vocals, if that’s a thing. It should be a thing.


Pushing their eclectic live electronic muse to all sorts of strange new directions, Urtekk’s recent output has included a concept trilogy of singles each accompanied by their own otherworldly visualisations. Their latest is Pockets, a six minute jam which fuses an arpeggiateing synth line with delay-soaked vocal samples.

Wolf & Cub

Currently in ‘hibernation’, these now-elder statesman of Adelaide rock have a decade’s worth of bracingly warped tunes, from enduring classic This Mess to more recent fare like this cut from 2013 record Heavy Weight.

Invisible Mantra

There’s an oft-repeated section in a lot of psych songs when the drums start to drive and the bass barrels down to a pulsating throb as while everything else goes nuts. At the 4.00 minute mark of Liquid Invisible Mantra expertly demonstrate just why that trick always kills. Extra points for a bass sound that’s as crunchy as a… Violet Crumble

More you might like:

Tame Impala get psychedelic on Colbert Late Show
Glass Skies: ‘Fly On, Children’ track by track
Moon Duo headline Adelaide psych fest for Meredith sideshow


Kristy Delaine