New Weird America describes a psychedelic musical movement started in the mid 2000s. The term is generally believed to have been coined by David Keenan in the August 2003 issue of The Wire, following the Brattleboro Free Folk Festival organized by Matt Valentine and Ron Schneiderman. It is a play on Greil Marcus's phrase "Old Weird America" as used in his book Invisible Republic, which deals with the lineage connecting the pre-war folk performers on Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music to Bob Dylan and his milieu. The musical style described as New Weird America is mainly derived from psychedelic rock and folk groups of the 1960s and 1970s, including American performers Holy Modal Rounders and English group The Pentangle and other psychedelic groups, but it also finds inspiration in such disparate sources as metal, free jazz, electronic music, noise music, tropicalia, and early and mid-20th century American folk music. Another primary inspiration is outsider music, often played by technically naïve (and often socially estranged) musicians, such as The Shaggs, Roky Erickson, and Jandek.
Other genre classifications of similar period and aesthetics are psychedelic rock, acid folk, psychedelic folk, free folk, freak folk and freakbeat.
Many works of the genre are issued in small editions and distributed independently. The music has been covered extensively by L.A.-based Arthur, which ran in-depth pieces on Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom, CocoRosie, Animal Collective, and Six Organs of Admittance, released the definitive New Weird America compilation The Golden Apples of the Sun, and curated the ArthurFest (2005) and ArthurBall (2006) and events, featuring a variety of artists from the movement.
Although many artists record and/or perform with multiple bands, New Weird America is not a unified movement; the associated artists are often classified as such by journalists and the press. .