Vinyl Review: Earthless – Under A Cosmic Sky (Outer Battery Clear Vinyl Edition)
I can be a pretty obsessive collector at times, especially when someone flashes the words “limited edition” in front of me. The second you tell me I might not be able to have it, I want it. Especially if the limited edition in question is a special color or comes in a special package. To me, these are the best kinds of limited editions. They have that aura of exclusivity and rarity that collectors like me salivate over, but they’re not keeping extra songs away from fans who may not have the luck, or economic means, to score the hard-to-find items.
Outer Battery Records, a small label that deals mostly in metal and punk, get this. So when they scored the rights to release a limited edition of Rhythms from a Cosmic Sky, the sophomore album by San Diego psychedelic rockers Earthless, they did it right: it’s identical to the original in every way, the only difference being that it’s on crystal clear translucent vinyl.
Oh, and they also made if fucking RARE.
When I got the email alert for this bad boy, Outer Records was hyping it as extremely limited, mind-numbingly limited, “we only have one box of these and when they’re gone, they’re gone forever” limited. How big the boxes are at Outer Battery remains a mystery, but it’s probably a safe bet to assume that meant they only had about 100 of these for sale, give or take.
As you can imagine, they sold out almost immediately. But if you were like me and you were lucky enough to snag one, then you sure got a treat; this album is incredible. And this pressing by Outer Battery simply sounds amazing.
A bit about the music itself, since Earthless really isn’t a household name. As I mentioned before, they’re a psych-rock band based out of San Diego. They’ve released three proper albums to date, two studio records and one live LP. All of their songs top out at around 20 minutes, as that’s as much as you can fit on one side of an LP. And while the prospect of a 20-minute, wordless, structureless psychedelic freak-out might give you pause, don’t worry, Earthless aren’t some hippy dippy jam band more concerned with entertaining themselves than writing quality music. These guys are a rare breed, a jam band whose jams are actually entertaining even if you aren’t under the aide of questionably-prescribed medication (although I assume that would make them sound even better).
Throughout the entirety of Rhythms From a Cosmic Sky’s 41-minutes, Earthless remains tight and focused. Each of the 20+ minute jams never wander into self-reflective wankery, at no time do the trio sound like they’ve lost their direction, they never sound like they’ve stumbled into an improv with no way out. They’re always on point, always pounding away with a ferocious intensity with unending energy and enthusiasm.
It’s pretty fucking awesome.
An album this powerful and intense deserves a quality physical release, and thankfully the limited edition clear vinyl sounds as good as it looks. I detected just a single pop during my playthrough, with no hiss, hum or any other surface noise to be heard (although with as loud as the album is, it would be hard to hear any). The only real fault I can find with this release is that no download code is included, however, if you’re the kind of person who wants something like this, you probably don’t care about a download code all that much.
Much like my review of the V&A limited Edition Heathen LP from earlier this year, this review is kind of a tease since the album is already out of print and impossible to find. However, more affordable and more easily available editions of it are currently in print and can be bought at Amazon and a variety of other websites. So if you are into psychedelic rock and you missed this release the first time around, then I suggest you pick up one of those copies. You won’t be disappointed.