Tag Archives: Psychobilly

The Rip-Roaring Sound of Psychobilly Around the World


Illustration by Thomas Slater

The world of psychobilly is as macabre as it is over-the-top. The genre—although it’s probably more accurate to call it a subculture—fuses rockabilly, surf, early rock ’n’ roll, punk, and hardcore. The lyrics, as well as the general aesthetics, draw on ‘50s sci-fi, fast cars, pinup models, and old slasher films. All of these spring from the genres earliest days: Influenced by bands like the Cramps, psychobilly became something of a movement in early ‘80s London. It was, on some level, a contrarian reaction to the hyper-political ethos of Thatcher-era punk. “London was incredibly tense,” Nate Katz wrote for Perfect Sound Forever in 2012. “Fans of psychobilly wanted none of this … By establishing an unwritten rule that the music was to be apolitical, psychobilly music became a method of escape from the real world.”

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