Another band I discovered this year that have been around for a few years is Earthless. A San Diego three-piece that consists of guitarist Isaiah Mitchell, bassist Mike Eginton, and drummer Mario Rubalcaba and play what most folks call psych rock. Psych rock, space rock, stoner rock…all are things that have been said when speaking of Earthless. All are pretty much bunk. Earthless are a balls-out rock n’ roll three-piece in the spirit of Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience. There’s no gimmicks, no staged psychedelic freakouts, no smoke and mirrors. These San Diegoans(San Diegoites) plug in and melt faces for over an hour on one of 2013s most insanely kick ass records.
In passing a friend sent me an email stating I should check out Earthless. He said I’d dig ’em. He was certainly right. What I’ve found in Earthless’ From The Ages -as well as their previous albums Rhythms from a Cosmic Sky(2007) and Sonic Prayer(2005)- is three guys that love the art of making music. Not just noise and “freaking out”, but the craft of creating a musical journey. The ebb and flow of sonic textures that carry you along effortlessly, as opposed to dragging you kicking a screaming. I will just come right out and say it, Isaiah Mitchell is what we call a guitar god. He’s got speed and dexterity like Hendrix in ’67. He’s got the fluidity of Clapton on Wheels of Fire. He’s got the soul of players like Roy Buchanan and Jeff Beck, but he can also create some amazing apocalyptic noise like Tony Iommi. Mitchell has done his homework, but he’s not copying anybody else’s work. He’s figured things out for himself and making something completely fresh. Rubalcaba is a monster on the drums, and you need to be to keep up on a track like the 30 minute “From The Ages”. I imagine this guy has biceps like Conan the Barbarian. Eginton keeps the low end moving like a freight train on “Uluru Rock” and doesn’t let up. But this band is really the sum of its parts. Without one, there would be no Earthless. These three work together effortlessly. A well-oiled psychedelic rock n’ roll machine.
There are moments of psych bliss on this album. “Equus October” is a slow burn of a track, with trippy delayed wah-wah guitar. And within the three long songs “Violence of the Red Sea”, “Uluru Rock”, and the epic album closer “From The Ages” there are times where the songs flow along on a hazy sea of psych bliss. But overall, this is just a hell of a jam. In interviews with the band Mitchell has been asked if these are just recorded jams and he’s said not really. He said Earthless approach their songs more like improvisations(there is a difference between jams and improvisations, trust me.) They approach these songs more like improvisations that someone like Miles Davis would’ve done on something like A Tribute To Jack Johnson. They find a groove and within that groove take a musical journey. From The Ages is a musical journey you need not pack for. A pair of headphones and an open mind is all that’s needed.
One more thing about these guys that made me instantly like them. In the same interview where they were asked about these “jams”, the interviewer asked them what sort of substances they were on in order to make this music. Here, read for yourself:
How high do you need to be to come up with this music?
As far as, like, drug substances?
Not at all.
Are you kidding me?
I hate to break the myth, but we’re not exciting stoners. We’re weed-less stoner rock. We drink a lot of coffee. There was this coffee shop down the street that did this thing called cold-brew coffee. Man, I’ve never gotten so shaky off of a cup of iced coffee in my life. Maybe it made me play faster, I’m not sure. Call us Coffee Rock.
Earthless, my new musical heroes. And creators of my favorite new musical genre: Coffee Rock.
9.2 out of 10
Spin interview segment courtesy of Spin.com. Written by Spin contributor David Marchese.