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Desert Skies

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Before their 2000 self-titled debut album, Beachwood Sparks, as a sextet, recorded an album’s worth of material in a converted one-car garage known as the Space Shed. These are those recordings. Only the title track and the joyful “Make It Together” were released (as a single for the legendary Bomp! label). The remaining songs went unreleased for more than 15 years. They reveal a looser California group with serious debts owed to the Paisley Underground scene and bands like Rain Parade and The Dream Syndicate. Though it was the late '90s, Beachwood Sparks captured the feel of an early-'80s indie rock group aiming for a lazy, late-'60s psychedelic vibe. Country-rock elements are also in the mix and the imagery, but the overall effect is far more expansive and experimental. “Midsummer Daydream” even finds room for a drum solo! The inexperienced harmonies of “Watery Moonlight” show an excitement that can’t be rehearsed. The shimmering guitars riding “Sweet Julie Ann” are fully realized, while the alternate takes of several tracks are worth their excavating.

Biography

Formed: 1998 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Los Angeles-based cosmic country-pop combo Beachwood Sparks were formed in mid-1998 by onetime Strictly Ballroom singer/guitarist Chris Gunst, slide guitarist/keyboardist Dave Scher, ex-Further bassist Brent Rademaker, and Lilys drummer Aaron Sperske. Inspired by the pioneering country-rock efforts of West Coast legends like the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and Buffalo Springfield, the group issued acclaimed singles for Bomp! ("Desert Skies") and Sub Pop ("Midsummer Daydream") prior to the...
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