July 11, 2018 Playlist

"Caress Of Steel" by Rush (1975)
Rush "Caress Of Steel"  1975 (Canada)
Rush is an iconic supergroup, very much progressive and heavy, though their only record which might qualify as "psychedelic" is this week's classic album. I think Rush's first two albums are pretty cool hard rock, definitely under the influence of Led Zeppelin, but then what hard rock band of the early 1970's wasn't? For their third album Caress Of Steel, they got more ambitious, and the result nearly ended their careers as the album sold poorly and the accompanying tour was sparsely attended. Fortunately for them, their next LP 2112 was the hit record that established them in the pantheon of classic rock. So why didn't Caress succeed? Listening to it 40 years later, it's pretty ridiculous and probably sounded kinda cheesy and dated at the time: corny swords and sorcery epics (Neil Peart's worst lyrics?) rendered by Geddy Lee's notoriously shrieky voice, and most of the album consists of two epics "The Fountain Of Lamneth" (20 minutes) and "The Necromancer" (12 minutes). Or as Lee explained in a a documentary of the band "we were really high when we did that one" (huh, I always figured they were more the sporty clean-living types). But as I have often said, goofy dated records of the classic rock era are a big part of what the Kosmik Radiation show is all about! Besides, this might be guitarist Alex Lifeson's best work: he solos his butt off and often achieves Hendrixian majesty. Following a 2015 farewell tour and 2016 documentary film, Rush officially confirmed their retirement in early 2018, fifty years after Lee and Lifeson started the band as teenagers.
And now for something completely different! Lately I have become interested in "J-pop" (Japanese pop music), or more specifically two particular contemporary Japanese artists of note: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has been called "Japan's Lady Gaga", except her sense of aesthetics is much more unified (her songs sound like her videos and costumes), her songs are better (catchiest global pop artist since ABBA?), and she's pretty psychedelic! KPP has articulated an interesting theory of "traumatic cuteness" which explans her bizarre mix of fluffly pink sweetness with disembodied organs, weapons, death, and other references you don't expect from girly bubblegum. Then there's BABYMETAL who are pioneering a new genre called "kawaii metal" (kawaii=cute, which is like an ideology in Japan): three adorable teenage pop idol girls doing choreographed headbanging in front of a real live heavy metal band. There's also something psychedelic about their odd mix of teeny bopper melodies, death metal, EDM, rap, and reggae(!) and they are arguably one of the top heavy bands gloabally right now, selling out massive stadiums in Japan and headlining festivals around the world.
(N) = New Release
Artist Song Album Year Country
Black Oak ArkansasSon Of A GunStreet Party1974USA
BloodrockCheaterBloodrock 21970USA
Blue Oyster CultHarvester Of EyesSecret Treaties1974USA
Judas PriestOne For The RoadRocka Rolla1974UK
Judas Priest NecromancerFirepower (N)2018 (Epic)UK
Sleep Sonic TitanThe Sciences (N)2018 (Third Man)USA
SleepAquarianSleep's Holy Mountain1993USA
Graveyard It Ain't Over YetPeace (N)2018 (Nuclear Blast)Sweden
SlayerCaptor Of SinHaunting The Chapel EP1984USA
Dr. Dog Listening InCritical Equation (N)2018 (We Buy Gold Records)USA
Wooden Shjips Red LineV. (N)2018 (Thrill Jockey)USA
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks KiteSparkle Hard (N)2018 (Matador)USA
Courtney Barnett HopefulessnessTell Me How You Really Feel (N)2018 (Mom & Pop)Australia
Parquet Courts Death Will Bring ChangeWide Awake! (N)2018 (Rough Trade)USA
Van der Graaf GeneratorNecromancerThe Aerosol Grey Machine1969UK
RushBastille DayCaress Of Steel
RushThe NecromancerCaress Of Steel
RushRed BarchettaMoving Pictures1981Canada
Kate BushSat In Your LapThe Dreaming1982UK
Poppy Moshi MoshiPoppy.Computer (N)2017 (I'm Poppy / Mad Decent)USA
Kyary Pamyu PamyuPonPonPonPamyu Pamyu Revolution2012Japan
BABYMETALDoki Doki MorningBABYMETAL2014Japan
Far East Family BandParallel WorldParallel World1976Japan
Jon Hassell Al Kongo UduListening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume One) (N)2018 (Ndeya)USA
Kyary Pamyu PamyuSuper Scooter Happy (Capsule)Nanda Collection2013Japan
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