I’m still a little groggy from a three-day weekend that was for all intents and purposes a success. A success in that rest was had, art was created, and music and beer was consumed. There were also good foods made and devoured(including some homemade calzones and a plethora of grilled meats that would bring a tear to the eye of even the toughest of vegetarians.) I’m groggy from the allergies I’ve been suffering from for the past couple of weeks. This weekend felt like we hit the plateau, though. Clouds of pine dust whisked through the air like a yellow fog, consuming anything and everything in its path. My dad came for a visit Saturday morning for our usual coffee and chat. By the time he left he had yellow powder covering his Ford truck which blew off in a stream of powdery allergen as he left for home. This stuff is the worst. I’ve never had outdoor allergies. Never. My allergies are tipped off by cats and house dust. But now at 42 years old I’ve developed a nasty allergy in pine dust, which sucks since I’m completely surrounded by pine trees at my house. My wife is even having issues as well. The kids are sneezing here and there, but nothing like the wife and I.
But hey, you win some and you lose some. As soon as we get some rain things will be much better at our place. Just, you know, rain please. Please.
Besides the sneezing I worked in the music studio this weekend. I’ve got two songs well on their way to being finished. Pretty excited about these two. The tunes are both a new direction for me as well as mixing some more pop sensibilities that I’ve worked with in the past. The analog synth is getting some serious use as well.
Another exciting thing was that the Earthless/Harsh Toke split arrived Saturday, giving me three days to spin the hell out of it and man is it a killer split.
“Acid Crusher” opens side A and is Earthless in groovy, slow blues form. Isaiah Mitchell, Tim Egington, and Marco Rubalcaba get down and dirty here with some serious hazy blues grind. It’s almost mantra-like in its repetition with some killer organ and Leslie-speaker infused guitar overdubbed in to give the song a definite late-60s vibe. It’s like early Santana, Band of Gypsies, and some Blue Cheer all rolled into one massive 15 minute jam. I’d love to hear these guys go with this kind of vibe on the next Earthless full-length. Seriously, this one is the perfect summer jam.
“Mount Swan” is Harsh Toke losing their minds to tape. The song opens in a sea of wailing noise that explodes into a melody that’s part Black Sabbath and part Uriah Heep. Affected vocals help open this mind melter before the track ascends into deep space and for the next nearly 20 minutes brains get baked and psyches melt into a puddle of THC and jello. This song is the most doom-laden Harsh Toke has sounded. It’s a pretty stellar bad trip happening here. If this song is any indication the band has taken a few steps forward from their last full-length LP, 2013s Light up and Live.
Even though these two bands are decidedly different in terms of how they approach the long form jam, this split seems like an absolutely inspired pairing. Earthless can crush psyches with the best of them, but their true gift lies in knowing how to hold back and refrain from going all guns blazing all the time. They’re willing to bring things back and let the music simmer a bit. “Acid Crusher” does that to full effect here. Harsh Toke feel more on the fringe than Earthless. They seem more desert cult rock than West Coast cool jam. On “Mount Swan” they start out big, bring it down some, then slowly build things back up to a LSD-laced conclusion.
I’ve only recently begun to appreciate the split. I don’t know why I never got into them any sooner, but this split is definitely proof that I need to reconsider my position when it comes to the split.
Okay, gotta get through the day then there’s another night of sleep waiting for me. And hopefully a good rain.