We need to talk about Earthless

Before I delve back into the Flaming Lips led misunderstood reconstruction of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, I’m gonna tell you that I have been obsessed by Earthless.  There have been a few times where I’m been consumed by music to a point where genuinely obsessive behaviour comes into play, but I can honestly say it’s been a few years since there was any of those sorts of shenanigans.

You know the shenanigans I’m talking about.  The looking in record stores in the hope that there’s a nice copy of that album you’re after sitting there.  Fitting in as many stores as you can.  Looking through the racks and crates a few times just to be sure you didn’t miss it.  If you live in Glasgow and the chances of finding a specific title are slim, you end up looking at retailers online.  Indie stores with an online presence.   Or discogs.   Flicking through every listing of the desired album.  Calculating costs.  Weighing up VG+ against NM and how much that means in monetary terms.  A sense of urgency around the buying, too.  That’s where I’m at with Earthless.

Y’see, Earthless take me somewhere else.  I connect with the flowing rhythms… the explosions and the shifts.  The guitar scorching and lighting up the skies like a solar flare – aurora borealis (or aurora australis), in more reflective moments.  I know that some have already said it, but it’s true that it’s like Hendrix jamming with Sabbath and Cream at times.

And the Hendrix here is Isaiah Mitchell.  He’s now one of my favourite guitar men.  His playing is intricate and full of controlled power.  Like Ryu’s fists.  Or even that Scarlet Witch, lass.  Man, it genuinely blows my mind.

I was chatting with a pal recently who is a big Rocket From The Crypt fan and I asked if he was into Earthless, cause, if he was, I couldn’t understand why he didn’t tell me about them.  Nope.  He wasn’t.

D: “Who are they? Why’d you ask?”
J: “Well, cause yir drummer guy is there”.
D: “Mario?  Is he?  I’ll need to check that out…  What are they like?”
J: “Holy scorched Earth, buddy!  They are incredible!!”

And he agreed and also mentioned how bloody awesome they guitaring is.  And, y’know, the musicianship from all the players is on a whole other level.  Lifting… powerful… intense… dynamic.  They play with confidence and a sun bleached swagger.  This, my friends, is psychedelic pyro-dynamic splendour.

The first album released in the time I’d call myself a fan was Black Heaven and I had that sucker pre-ordered.  It got it’s hooks into me quickly and is easily up there as my favourite of the year so far.  Mitchell’s vocals, which I heard on their take of the Groundhog’s Cherry Red, are fitting and not out of place.  They only add to that classic vibe.  However, as much as I like the album, I can’t stop listening to From The Ages and Rhythms From A Cosmic Sky.  I’d listened to them digitally (streaming) after reviews by two of my favourite pushers (yeah, you know who I’m looking at), but, after two years and then some months, I hadn’t gotten to buying anything yet.  Not until Black Heaven.  Then the floodgates opened.  New release enthusiasm.  Genuine obsessive behaviour took hold.  I got obsessive about every note on the albums I’d been listening to on and off and decided I was buying them.  Right now.  Or at least tried to.

From The Ages was easy to get a hold of.  The vinyl colour isn’t the easiest on the eye and there’s something about the contrast with the label that bugs me.  The colours just don’t work together.  But that’s not important… right?  Look at it, though?  It’s just a bit odd, eh?  Is it just me?  I’ll not say any more about it, but I do wish it was black vinyl.  The music, though?  Holy scorched Earth, peoples!!  Don’t just take my word for it, one of my favourite pushers gave it all the praise.

Rhythms of a Cosmic Sky, which I became familiar with after lego guy threw it on my radar thanks to his write up, has been a bit of a sucker to get my hands on.  Mostly cause I tried to find a copy at a reasonable price and, well, the streaming meant that I was managing to get a fix when I needed it.  Besides, I always found a way to pick up something else.  As the Earthless obsessed chap, I could have laughed with hysteria.

Anyhoo, I only just added it to the collection.  First of all, back in March when I ordered From The Ages, Amazon didn’t have it in stock, but I found it cheap on eBay.  4 weeks later and no LP, I contacted the seller and they said it’s likely been lost.  Money back.  Use that and add a few quid and order another via Discogs.  Only UK shop on there with it listed.  Again, a good price, so I was quite chuffed.  Later that day I get a message of apology, but the LP is no longer available and they hadn’t updated the inventory.  Gah.  Another listing on eBay.  Cheap.  Details suggest it’s the LP, but it has the CD track listing.  I enquire whether it’s CD or vinyl… the answer… we don’t know.  Huh?  But what’s this?  Another reasonably priced copy on Discogs… near mint… from Germany.  Why not?  I do all this in a matter of days.

The LP arrived today and, well, it’s not near mint as stated.  I can live with the few dinks on the sleeve, but the vinyl itself isn’t in the best shape.  The only thing missing is cobwebs.  Worry and internal dialogue.  “Lots of dust and suchlike and it looks like it’s groove deep, too.  Gah”.  I worry about that.  “I guess I clean it up, though”.  I worry.  “What if I don’t find one?” A search online and copies are more expensive.  Some beads of worry persperation trickle from my forehead.  Worry becomes frustration.  “Hopefully it plays fine, cause I can’t be fucked finding another copy.”

When I got home I took a nice clean cloth to it.  Looks like it cleaned up well… even got the shine back.

And yeah, there’s some of that comforting surface noise… but the cosmic noise is much preferred.

And I drift away.

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55 Comments Add yours

  1. mikeladano says:

    This sounds like the kind of band that somebody from Sausagefest is probably already into. I’ll be curious to find out.

    Sounds good though, I mean Hendrix jamming with Sabbath and Cream done right can be pretty cool.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. J. says:

      Man, they’re so good. I liked them when I learned of them, but I currently love them… like top 5 favourite bands type love for them. I am now eyeing up copies of Sonic Prayer and Roadburn.

      Also, Hendrix jamming with Sabbath and Cream done right would sound like Earthless. So good, man. So good. You would dig them. I’m sure you would.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. boppinsblog says:

    I have heard about you people obsessed with finding every piece of music a band has.
    Then following around and seeing them perform and asking them to sign your stuff.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. J. says:

      *hands up* Yup… that’s me, alright.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. boppinsblog says:

        So you obsess over Ottawan?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. J. says:

        Doesn’t everyone?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. boppinsblog says:

        I have all of their Japanese pressings

        Liked by 1 person

      4. J. says:

        Bonus tracks?

        Liked by 1 person

    2. boppinsblog says:

      Yes. A Japanese repress with covers of Achy Breaky Heart and Macarena.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. J. says:

        Very nice! That’s worth the extra Canadialander dollar pennies.

        Like

  3. boppinsblog says:

    I bought a “Mint” album on Discogs that arrived opened and played. I always graded mint as sealed.
    Anyway, it sucks when an album is not as nice as you thought it would be.
    Glad you finally got them. Now off to Discogs in search of more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. J. says:

      Yeah, it’s a tricky one, cause I appreciate that grading is subjective (I have loads of LPs that I would grade as NM, cause I take good care of them, but I’d likely list them as VG+ with a note saying that they’re pretty much as they were new). As you know, rarely is a slice of vinyl mint.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. boppinsblog says:

        Yeah. Probably even saying a sealed album is Mint is just guessing that the disc inside is awesome
        I have a ton that I have opened to get the band to sign the cover or the insert but have never played them. Still unplayed but since they are open I grade them NM.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. J. says:

        Unplayed vinyl!?! You need to sort that out!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. boppinsblog says:

        The big issue with Discogs is grading is who pays the return shipping if the grading is wrong.
        On Amazon, shipping is free or dirt cheap and if any issues it can be returned and money refunded.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. J. says:

        Yeah – I don’t look forward to the day that I’m properly stung (it’s bound to happen).

        Most of my new vinyl comes from Amazon as the return and exchange shenanigans are simple.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. boppinsblog says:

        So much vinyl. So little time.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. J. says:

        I know that problem!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. boppinsblog says:

        Not yet. I had plans to see them so figured I would buy there.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. J. says:

        Man, it’s very very good. Gig should be great also. Report back!

        Like

    2. boppinsblog says:

      Pethaps I may snag some more if I can make it to the Wooden Shjips show tonight.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. J. says:

        Now you’re talking! You had a chance to dig into V?

        Like

      2. boppinsblog says:

        (See comment above)

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Jay says:

    I don’t know if I have it in me to obsess about music the way I did as a kid but it’s still great when a song punches you in the face with awesomeness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. J. says:

      Probably the only time it’s acceptable to get punched in the face!!

      Like

  5. What a saga. Glad the vinyl cleaned up OK. I haven’t ordered anything of Discogs yet… stories like yours are the reason. Also, postage downunder is excruciating.
    Guess I better have a listen now, eh?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. boppinsblog says:

      Postage is huge in Canadianaland too.
      Often I message a fellow Canuck on Discogs and ask where they live. If within a decent drive I pick it up and save postage.
      Just a thought for you Aussies and Scots.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. J. says:

        Yeah, it’s good if that option’s there. There’s a store that’s not too far from me that I’ve bought a whole host of stuff from and I’ve arranged to pop in and pick them up. Saves them the bother as much as me, I guess. And saves them packing LPs up.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. boppinsblog says:

        I usually frequent my local store.
        However, Canadian sometimes do not get certain releases, or they are priced out of reach.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. J. says:

        I’d frequent one of my local stores more if the guy wasn’t such an asshole. The stock is pretty shit, too, actually, so I guess that’s another reason why I don’t go.

        I’d never find an Earthless album anywhere here. Or The Sadies or Neko Case. Which is ridiculous… meaning I have to look online.

        Like

    2. J. says:

      Indeed. Postage is a sucker, Bruce… I don’t order from foreign lands often, as the postage can be ridiculous (sometimes more than the LP!!). I should add that this is only the second time I’ve been unhappy about the condition of an LP (once, I was unhappy with the condition of a sleeve, but that was a new and sealed item and the I even missed the problem when I owned it).

      But aye, I’ve bought quite a few things on there and the hit ratio has generally been good.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. 1537 says:

    You weird obsessive type!

    I’m really pleased these guys are doing it for you good style at the moment.

    Obviously, I’m very sorry for all the bullying etc etc

    Is it wrong that I chuckled again at my ‘no eggs / oeufless’ pun again?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. J. says:

      I’m pleased also. Easily the best band I’ve gotten into since, eh, the last band I got heavily into.

      I think you’re allowed a chuckle or two. It is very good.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. jhubner73 says:

    ‘Rhythms’ is so darn good. Nothing like getting lost in an album side. Something about the power of those three just going at it. Just amazing. ‘From The Ages’…it still blows me away.

    Cheers in obsessing over the good stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. J. says:

      Sonic Prayer is genuinely one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard. Amazing!

      And yeah, From The Ages blows my mind. Violence of the Red Sea is a helluva way to open, huh?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. jhubner73 says:

        Sonic Prayer is incredible! And yes, you can’t really top Violence of the Red Sea as an opener. No sir.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I am getting that way with them. I have been devouring their new album and now I want to start collecting them on vinyl…all of them. Let the saga begin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. J. says:

      You know I’m gonna encourage buying the vinyl… and I wish you all the best in your endeavours to buy them!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Craig Hughes says:

    Aye, they’re awfy guid, them Earthless. Also, your “VG+ or NM” debate made me laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. J. says:

      They should have hype stickers on their albums that say simply “they’re awfy guid”, cause it’s pretty much the opinion of those who have heard them (I reckon).

      And aye, that VG+ / NM thing is real – a very serious business!

      Like

  10. You really like these guys! I can hear why. I like them to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. J. says:

      I’m just listening to them again… I can’t stop myself!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m with ya man! They do get into a groove. I was listening to Creams first record yesterday (a fave). You dropped their name in your take. I like this kind of music.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. J. says:

        Cream were great… best thing Clapton ever produced, I reckon. But yeah, Earthless remind me of them turned up to the max.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Cream were one of the very first bands i ever heard. Kind of set the tone. I think my first take on the CB thing was Cream’s first record. Just listened to it the other day. 750,673 times and counting.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. J. says:

        A great very first band, huh? Sets you on the right path… I first heard them in the mid 90s… and they made an impression. I made my way to them via Jimi Hendrix. That was the start of my second musical awakening.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. My older brother had this fantastic record collection. This was probably the first. Hendrix was in the pile also. It was the first and the biggest influence on my listening habits.He didn’t have to many duds. First musical awakening?

        Liked by 1 person

      6. J. says:

        First musical awakening was getting into the alternative rock of the 90’s. Before that I was into GNR and picked up some Iron Maiden cassettes… best of compilations of INXS and Rolling Stones.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I’m always curious. There’s good music where ever we start. I don’t know what i would have listened to if it wasn’t for my brother. I guess I would have found my style eventually. I love that sax break in that INXS song. Heard it the other day. Tear Us Apart?

        Liked by 1 person

      8. J. says:

        That’s the one, yeah. I love that sax break. Timing is perfect, too. In fact, I covered Kick a while back and have since picked up Listen Like Thieves, which is currently my favourite album of theirs.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. I’ll look through your takes for that. I like that band. ‘Thieves’ is where I came in.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. J. says:

        My INXS gateway was Greatest Hits. Probably around 95. Elegantly Wasted was the first studio album I picked up.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. stephen1001 says:

    You had me at sun bleached swagger!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. J. says:

      Exactly the kind of swagger you need, amaright?

      Liked by 1 person

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