Only one genre seems to befit the mindfuck caused by a trippy pandemic year: psychedelic. The genre has expanded within the last few years as artists explore different forms of psychedelic sounds within trap, trance, drill and more. This musical evolution continues as independent artists embrace the “new wave” by drawing influence from different sounds and styles.
Here are four Texas psychedelic artists worth checking out.
Fort Worth artist Raython Carter, aka SunRay, has a hypnotic, neo-psychedelic nature that shines in his free-flow rap delivery. His melodic voice, repetitive hypnotic hooks and hallucinogenic visuals come together into one mesmerizing element.
“I can say my music comes from pain and a place of hurt," the artist says. "A lot of deaths in my life and a lot of drugs.”
SunRay’s tracks “2 Fast” and “TESLA” lay the foundation for what’s to come next for the artist. The singles explore his past substance abuse, conflicted relationships and sadness.
MF Doom, Playboi Carti and Lil Wayne serve as SunRay’s main influences, and he says these references allow him to explore his particular psychedelic rap style.
“I want to expand the psychedelic genre. It just doesn’t have to be something chill or have a chill vibe, nor do you have to take psychedelics to understand the music," he says. "Whether you listen and you feel happiness, sadness, crying, anger, mourning … we are human and these are emotions we need to feel, but sometimes don’t have a way to deal with them or explain or talk about it. I want my music to be an outlet for that.”
SunRay is set to release a single, "Pray For Me,” and its music video in May.
“I hope my music gives my audience a sense of peace," he says. "There is enough violence and hatred in this world, and I know it’s a longshot, but maybe my music can make a difference.”
Psychic Love Child
Neo-psychedelia rock band Psychic Love Child integrates various elements of rock into their hyper-aggressive performances. While exploring elements such as alternative, surf and psychedelic rock, the Dallas group creates a familiar cluster of psychedelic sound. The band claims on its Bandcamp bio that they “set out to create ethereal, hypnotic soundscapes to capture the human mind and give you a truly psychedelic experience.”
Psychedelic Love Child consists of Parker Hernandez (vocals, guitar, and keys), Marcos Mateus (vocals, bass, and keys) and Matthew Posey (drums, percussion, and keys). The band lies somewhere between a cross-hybrid of Texas psychedelic sounds of Austin’s own 13th Floor Elevators and The Black Angels with a hint of Pink Floyd and The Doors.
Their latest single “When There’s Nothing” creates a cyber psychedelic realm within an intergalactic, futuristic soundscape style accompanied by long crying echoes of voices and fuzzy guitar riffs.
The modern, dark neo-psychedelic band Geranium Drive remains a dominant force in their hometown of Austin. By interconnecting elements of garage rock and R&B, Geranium Drive delivers a new wave pulse that new and traditionalist psychedelic rock listeners can enjoy.
“We’re the forerunners of psychedelic music and songs like ‘One Step Beyond’ is definitely one of the songs that psychedelic music is all about, allowing people to think ‘beyond’ the boundaries,” says lead vocalist and guitarist Autumn Furtak of their self-titled EP.
The band members, John Crowe (bass), Tom Cox (drums), and Jeremy Brandelik (vocals and guitar) have been key factors to tethering and meshing the sounds that Geranium Drive reaches in its music.
“What we’re trying to do is connect the dots between all different time periods and all different genres of psychedelic music, " Furtak says. "Having psychedelic music as a center point helps with knowing what works and making sure it is psychedelic.”
Different aspects of psychedelia have contributed to their style, which was inspired by acts Pink Floyd, Acid Dad and Tame Impala.
“There’s the Jonestown style of psychedelic, then more garage rock psychedelic, and spooky psychedelic," Crowe says. "We’re tying all the psychedelic thoughts in a way.”
Geranium Drive's next single, “Wet Cement,” is due in late May, and speaks on Roky Erickson’s imprisonment in a Texas mental hospital in the '60s.
Austin dream-pop psych group Psychic Shark uses lo-fi production to enhance their surfy ambiance. Led by lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Anna Noel, the band includes members Austin Baker (drums), Jack (bass) and multi-instrumentalist Tom Cox (guitar).
Psychic Shark's page bio says they want to “guide you through a cavernous silo of colorful echoes and psychedelic expression emblematic of the central Texas music wonderland.” From their colorful, dreamy alternative psychedelic track “I Don’t Mind” to their latest, the semi-spooky, hypnotic “Tape Sessions,” Psychic Shark continues to ride the neo-psychedelic wave they capture so well in their surf sound.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.