• EARTHLESS - Sonic Prayer LP
Stoner rock heroes Earthless are from San Diego. The bandmembers are drummer Mario Rubalcaba from Clikitat Ikatowi and Kawabata Makoto's Hot Snakes, bassist Mike Eginton from Electric Nazarene, and guitarist Isaiah Mitchell from Nebula. The trio plays a brand of slow, prodding, jam-heavy guitar freakout and bass throb echoing everyone in this scene. The difference, however, is that Mitchell can actually play the hell out of his guitar. Droning, thudding space jams are Earthless' trip du jour, and they do it shockingly well.
There are two tracks here, "Flower Travelin' Man" (an obvious tribute to Flower Travelling Band, though they sound nothing like them) and "Lost in the Cold Sun." The first cut reaches deep into riff territory, with Rubalcaba's constant beat-heavy atmospherics providing a leaping-off point for Mitchell, who does his best Hendrixian psych-blues wail. Eginton is the somnambulist laying down a repetitive, hypnotic line for over 20 minutes as the guitar overload carries the day. What's different about "Lost in the Cold Sun" is the obvious Sabbath influence in the riff, but what Mitchell does with it is stellar-- pulling out all the stops, bending notes, squalling them, and pulling the volume knobs off his amp while spiraling down, down, down into the netherword of ecstatic darkness, alternately playing half-speed and triple-timing the rhythm section for 21 minutes. This stuff isn't for everybody, but when it comes to stoner rock, these guys have a niche all their own and this record is one of the very best of the genre.