Psych is a broad term referring to a genre of psychedelic vinyl albums and singles recorded from roughly 1966 to 1969. As psych record collector Patrick Lundborg describes it in his interview at Collectors Weekly, psychedelic music was created by bands that were influenced by psychedelic drugs, from LSD to mushrooms. Both an album’s cover and the music on the vinyl inside reflected these intense influences.

Although the most active sector of today’s market for psych records is in rare and obscure recordings, some of the most famous psych records are by some of the world’s most popular artists, from Jimi Hendrix to Eric Clapton. Album covers such as Revolver (1966) and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) place The Beatles squarely in the psych-records camp. Magical Mystery Tour (1967) is also a link to the world of rock music posters, thanks to its cover by renowned poster artist John Van Hamersveld.

Other highly regarded examples of British psych include Donovan’s Sunshine Superman from 1966. The list from 1967 is exceptionally deep—Pink Floyd’s The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Their Satanic Majesties Request by the Rolling Stones, Cream’s Disraeli Gears, The Who Sell Out by The Who, and Traffic’s Mr. Fantasy are just a few of the trippy English gems from that seminal year.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, a multitude of rock bands released a plethora of psych records in the late 1960s. Moby Grape’s eponymous 1967 debut is a must-have for most psych vinyl collectors, as is the Jefferson Airplane’s 1967 After Bathing at Baxter’s, which was reportedly mixed by the band based on how well the music would sound while the listener was under the influence of LSD.

Country Joe and the Fish made the connection between psychedelic drug culture and their music explicit with their 1967 Electric Music for the Mind and Body. Power trio Blue Cheer released Vincebus Eruptum in 1968, which was the same year one of San Francisco’s most influential acts, Quicksilver Messenger Service, offered up its spacey self-titled debut. Also desirable is the pair of albums by H.P. Lovecraft, a Chicago band that was formed in 1967, relocated to San Francisco in 1968, and then disbanded a year later.

The Grateful Dead was the region’s psychedelic heavyweight. Anthem of the Sun (1968), with its mandala-like cover, combined live tracks with studio work, while the band’s studio follow-up, Aoxomoxoa, featured a gloriously psychedelic cover by Fillmore and Avalon poster artist Rick Griffin.

And then there was the back cover of the band’s 1969 double LP, Live Dead, which featured the word "Dead" in big, blocky letters: It was designed by artist R.D. Thomas so that the top part of "Dead" appeared to spell out the word "Acid" in a not-so-subtle wink to the recreational drug of choice for the Grateful Dead’s audience of Deadheads...

As with Northern Soul, though, the most intense collecting activity in psych vinyl records revolves around the lesser-known, cult-status bands that produced discs in small production runs. Like Northern Soul, scarcity is key.

For example, in 1967, the bands Golden Dawn and 13th Floor Elevators, both from Austin, Texas, released a pair of albums that were not widely distributed at the time but today are considered by many to be classics of the genre. Golden Dawn’s Power Plant is less well known than the Elevators’ Easter Everywhere or The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators, the group’s 1966 debut. But that extra layer of obscurity, it seems, is at least part of what makes Golden Dawn attractive to collectors.

But for sheer scarcity and cult cachet, few psych bands compare to C.A. Quintet, a Minneapolis outfit that produced just one album in its heyday. Trip Through Hell, 1969, sold less than 1,000 copies for a label called Candy Floss. Today, beat-up copies with tequila-sunrise stains on their covers fetch more than a grand on eBay.

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The gospel according to Willie & Leon
mySanAntonio.com, November 23rd

Russell's religion is the church of rock 'n' roll, boogie woogie and raspy delta blues. Neither man is ready to be relegated to mere relic. ... "Tight Rope" sounds more psychedelic than it did 42 years ago. "Delta Lady" still sounds like the template...Read more

The Disruptors: Five Leading Acts Of Boston College's Independent Music Scene
The Heights (subscription), November 23rd

A smooth, often-psychedelic mix of sounds, his performance covered several of his classics, including “Let's Stay Together” and “Satisfaction,” while also introducing some new material. “Rockstar” showed off a more experimental aesthetic for Bolton...Read more

M for Montreal Takes a Psychedelic Turn On Its Fourth and Final Night
Diffuser.fm, November 23rd

Last night (Nov. 22) here at M for Montreal, the fates guided us toward psychedelic rock, and we followed them to the end of the road. Join us on our final dispatch from M for Montreal as we recount our final journey through acid visions and garage crunch...Read more

Native North America Vol 1 review – a goldmine of forgotten fusions
The Guardian, November 23rd

That's Sugluk, authors of three tracks on this two-CD compilation of native North American folk, rock and country. The gnarly Fall Away sounds like a missing gem from the feted Nuggets psych-rock box set, arriving on a drum fill and cresting on a wave...Read more

Avid Dancer: Childhood without pop does not stop EP of psych rock & scuzzy ...
Examiner.com, November 19th

Avid Dancer is the moniker of Jacob Dillan Summers, a current LA-native who for a long time had no access to the pop and rock music that his peers took for granted when growing up. Thus, a true testament to his innate talents is the music that he has...Read more

Tame Impala kickstart the Australian psychedelic explosion
The Guardian, November 13th

Psych rock has long had a foothold in Australia, dating right back to psych pioneers Coloured Balls in the early 1970s and their 15-minute jams. Australian bands have never been as concerned with fashion as their American and British counterparts – the ...Read more

Evening of psych-rock sets off High Noon crowd
Madison.com, October 28th

On the flipside, Perth-based outfit Doctopus brought a bout of heavy psych-punk with a little grit thrown in too. Lead singer Stephen Bellair (who sported a black V guitar) vacillated between rock 'n' roll frontman and informal MC, spouting off...Read more

JD Simo's Psych-Blues Jams Spread Far and Wide
RollingStone.com, October 27th

WHO: J. D. Simo spins soulful psychedelic blues rock with an improvisational bent reminiscent of the Grateful Dead and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Though he's been performing in bands since his teenage years, the 28-year-old has begun to get national attention ...Read more