Coming down to Earth
Earth. Picture: Supplied

Following Meat Puppets, Seattle's Earth will be the second band in less than a month to tour Perth in Kurt Cobain's lingering shadow. Earth's Dylan Carlson, however, was less a musical inspiration than a close friend.

In 1990, as housemates in Olympia, Washington, Cobain and Carlson produced a series of noise recordings with drum machines, recently re-released on Earth's A Bureaucratic Desire for Extra-Capsular Extraction compilation.

The two also collaborated on a short-lived post-punk project with Cobain's then-girlfriend, Tobi Vail of Bikini Kill.

But a darker side to the friendship existed. They did drugs together and Carlson is infamously known as the owner of the shotgun Cobain used to commit suicide.

Beyond their collaborative history, the bands they're known for share little musically.

Even in the early 90s, Earth was rarely associated with grunge. Taking their name from an early incarnation of Black Sabbath, 1993 album Earth 2 is regarded as a benchmark in drone metal, while subsequent releases have explored post rock and lengthy folk-rock instrumentals.

Recent albums Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I and II were released separately but recorded at the same time.

"I had had a bout of bad health and wasn't sure if I was able to keep doing Earth," Carlson says down the line from London, where he's completing a solo tour.

"So we recorded both at the same time and released them separately. Then I recovered and we just recorded the new record. It's got a release date of September 2."

The upcoming album Primitive and Deadly features long-time friend Mark Lanegan contributing vocals and will be the focus of their upcoming Perth show.

"(It's) definitely a return to the heavier sound. I don't know if it's a midlife crisis," Carlson laughs.

"We do most of the new record and older songs from various eras (like) Old Black, Ouroboros Is Broken and Coda Maestoso.

"When a show goes well, I find those shows start and the next thing I know I'm done and not quite sure what happened. It seems like I get out of the way and something plays."

The West Australian

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