San Diego’s Earthless threw me for a loop with 2013’s From the Ages. Two of the albums four tracks clock in at over 14 minutes, while the closer is almost 31 minutes in length. The level of musicianship is impressive – these guys aren’t your stereotypical stoner slackers, these guys are kicking furious rock and roll ass. Guitarist Isaiah Mitchell essentially plays leads over the duration of the album, an impressive feat itself because the dude can really play, but the magic lies in the rhythm duo of Mario Rubalcaba (drums) and Mike Eginton (bass). The fact that they can lay foundations interesting enough to make what’s essentially an album of guitar solos entrancing is masterful.
So it’d only be fitting that a band capable of writing enormous jams does a full LP side split (out today on some of the coolest looking wax ever via Tee Pee) with fellow San Diegans Harsh Toke. Together, the bands are an ideal match for a split, and both bring serious quality slabs of heavy psych. Stereogum has the premiere for the split, and it’s definitely worth
a few 35 minutes of your time if just looking at that didn’t have you opening your wallet.
“Acid Crusher,” has Earthless finding their groove somewhere between Jimi Hendrix and Sweden’s Graveyard – sans vocals. There’s some hand drumming and organ features throughout that almost give this an early-Beastie Boys instrumental vibe (“Sabrosa” immediately comes to mind) which is totally unexpected and completely welcome. That being said, guitarist Isaiah Mitchell still brings some heat, just not quite as intensely as their previous release.
Harsh Toke, a band I’m less familiar with, steal the show for me. “Mount Swan” brings a heavier, albeit equally as jammy, Sabbathy blues sort of feel. There’s definitely some very “Planet Caravan” styled vocals in the opening, but the rest of the track is an instrumental bass-driven heavy psych trip that floats through various movements and tempos. I dig the way the guitars sit a little lower in the mix, drawing your ears in on the trade-off leads while letting the bass and drums guide you through the track.