In A Dutch Haze
Outer Battery Records
Earthless is an instrumental psychedelic rock band – but the Earthless here is actually just the rhythm section (drummer Mario Rubalcaba, bassist Mike Eginton). Heavy Blanket is one of the many musical aliases J. Mascis nearly hides under; I say nearly because you can always tell his tone – or if he’s back on the drums, as is sometimes the case, you can tell that too.
I loved Heavy Blanket’s self-titled album from a couple of years back. It was like the music of Blue Cheer being spat out through a paintball gun. It was wonderful. J in his Heavy Blanket role just enjoys the chance to wail, to shred – and so here he’s doing that. Well it’s him and fellow Witch band-chum Graham Clise. If you’ve listened to J play for more than one record you should spot most of his parts – but there’s an incredible blend going on, this is real finish-each-others-sentences playing. Well, that’s when it’s not talk-at-the-same-time playing. You see this soundboard recording from a 2012 meeting is actually just a giant clusterfuck jam; one hour-long track – Paradise In A Purple Sky – that’s been edited to create four quarter-hour long songs, quick fade ins and outs barely interrupting the flow. It’s the hard-rock/stoner-rock version of Metal Machine Music maybe. Except this isn’t some punk-ish statement. Unless you’re sure it is. This has so much heart about it – where MMM has none. So this is a bit like if Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain met up with the multiple freaks from the movie The Warriors and got downright supercharged! What it is, actually, is fucking relentless. It’s something that could so easily have been a train wreck too; that’s where you’ll be all agape at this goddamn fucking rhythm section. Man, they kill. They absolutely nail this – J and Clise wouldn’t mean a thing if they didn’t have this particular swing.
It takes seven or eight minutes for these musicians to hit the downhill run; they feel each other out for the opening, slightly spacey, kinda psych-rock intro. It’s a bit like a chairlift to the summit ultimately. And then it’s full throttle and all hurtle the whole way down. No stops. Just bruising.
It’s your full lifetime’s quota of garden-shed shred and robust riff ripostes in one un-easy listen.
It’ll either be the worst thing you ever hear, something you dare not tolerate, can’t bother making it all the way through – or it’ll be your new best friend. Some strange, hypnotic journey. But there’s some King Kong boogie going on with the drums and bass and toward the very end you might hear traces of riffs you know from elsewhere – Page, Iommi – you might hear classic rock being devoured and regurgitated, stomped on. You might love that.
Well I’m hooked – as you might (easily) have guessed. I love the audacity. I love the energy. I revel in the absurdity. Perhaps I always have, or at least often will. But fuck – wow! – this is incredible.