Sun Dial (occasionally spelled Sundial) is a British psychedelic rock band formed in 1990 by Gary Ramon. The band's line up tends to change from album to album. Noted for releasing limited-edition albums and singles on independent labels, the discs are often vinyl only.
The precursor to Sun Dial was Ramon's Modern Art, formed in the mid-'80s with a loose lineup that never played gigs but did see the release of two studio albums. Ramon disbanded the group out of a desire "to make a more live-sounding group that could go out and play".
Sun Dial gained prominence after the release of their first album, Other Way Out, which quickly sold out its initial run through word of mouth alone. The album was near-universally praised in the independent music press, winning several awards and accolades. However, the album saw little popularity among mainstream critics and radio stations as their authentic '60s psychedelic sound was out of fashion at the time. Other Way Out remains popular to this day in the psychedelic and prog rock communities, and has gone through eight reissues since its original release.
Subsequent albums have explored many branches of psychedelia, including space rock, acid rock, stoner rock, neo-psychedelia, and psych pop. Their music has been compared to, influenced, or praised by prominent artists such as Monster Magnet, Nirvana, Spiritualized, and Spacemen 3. Sun Dial in turn were influenced by the '60s and '70s psychedelia and hard rock of Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, the Open Mind, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin, as well as the drug-influenced "Madchester" sound of the Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets, and Happy Mondays.
After the 1996 live album Live Drug, Ramon took Sun Dial on an extended hiatus and devoted his time to producing records by other bands, including Hypnosis, Chemical, and Fantasyy Factoryy. Many of these records were released on Ramon's own Acme label. During this time Ramon also released Quad, a solo project exploring ambient electronica and kraut rock. Sun Dial reconvened for a live performance in December 2002 and released their next album, Zen For Sale, a few months thereafter.
2010 saw the release of a 20th anniversary two-CD anthology, Processed For DNA, via Shrunken Head, their own imprint with Cherry Red, before returning with a new eponymous studio album, musically much heavier than before, and more influenced by early 1990s Seattle than late 1960s psychedelia.