Revered San Diego (mostly) instrumental psych-rock band Earthless had a big year. They released a stellar new album, Black Heaven, and served as the Artist in Residence at the Netherland's heralded Roadburn festival, where they played three full sets with array of guests. Drummer Mario Rubalcaba (above, center) and his bandmates made their mark on 2018, and 2018 made an impression on him, too. We asked Rubalcaba to share some of the highlights of his year. Below is what he offered up.
I was playing a show with Rocket From the Crypt at Psycho Las Vegas and when I found out the Hellacopters were playing the last day, so I extended my stay to accommodate the ROCK. I've seen them a few times back in the early/mid-2000s and have always been a fan but I don't know ... seeing them this time really confirmed how much I had missed them and also how sorely lacking rock & roll is right now in the high-energy mode and style. I hope they record some new stuff and continue to play when it feels right for them.
Being a skateboarder myself and still technically competing professionally during this era, this movie had me very intrigued to see if it would really be accurate in any form. Throughout time, any movie that has tried to capture what skateboarding is has failed miserably in its presentation to the masses. Always a stupid exaggeration of what the public thinks it is all about. Enter Mid90s and I was pleasantly surprised at how true to form it all was shown here. It really took me back to that period of life and what my life was like at that time.
What a time warp. I think this movie is still totally entertaining for someone that wasn't there or is a skater as well, which is another reason I thought it was so good. Check it out if ya can!
Earthless was fortunate to be the Artist in Residence at the legendary Roadburn festival in Holland. While every show we played was special and unique (we did three total), the one that really sliced my mind to bits was getting to collaborate with one of my all-time favorite singers — Damo Suzuki from Krautrock legends CAN. I had always dreamed of this, even more so after he played San Diego 10 years ago with a random pickup band that did not know how to improvise or really jam, so getting to share the stage with him and also hang out and know what a sweet human he is was indeed special. Much love, Damo!
I got to meet Linnéa Olsson earlier this year through my buddies and tour mates in Comet Control. While I was a big fan of the band Beastmilk, I didn't know that she had joined briefly (towards the end) and had not yet heard Grave Pleasures, either.
Later on, I checked out her own project Maggot Heart. I was floored. It's amazing to hear someone take their own path and do what is really "them" as opposed to just playing in someone else's band, which I'm sure was great, but here you can really get the true expression and ideas. The City Girls EP is solid gold toughness and brings razor slices to these ears. Very much in a place of its own — fast forward to this year and the full-length is released. A fantastic progression that takes off and goes to even odder territories. Some call it post-punk, but I think that is still too narrow a scope to trap it in. It has those elements, but also a vibe of more say the attitude of the Stooges or Motörhead, but able to incorporate tasteful and melodic structures and still groove plenty, as well. Highly recommend this one to those who wanna rock and move.
Yep, the place is called that. At first, I wrote this place off as not authentic because of the name. Boy, was I wrong! They are located off the path by a gas station and close to a hospital. It's so not hip. Damn their tacos and their Cali Burro are always on my mind after a long tour away from home, and since it's about one freeway exit away from my house, I usually stop there much more than I should. So, when in San Diego, look up "California Burritos" and tell them the drummer from Earthless sent ya — I'm trying to stack up my points for a freebie haha.