Monday, 21 November 2011

Made This Robot Cowboy Happy

Those little gaps in Spotify's catalogue can be quite annoying. There are the obvious ones like The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Zep etc, but there are also some that most might not notice but i do, step forward the Drag City catalogue (Jim O'Rourke, Smog etc), Spacemen 3 and others. One of those annoying gaps was (the mighty) Beachwood Sparks, but (hallelujah!) not any more...

Part of a cosmic-rock, psyche-country, retro-scene that developed in Los Angeles in the late 90's (see also Lilys, Further), i first came across them in 2001 when Rough Trade asked me to look after press for their 2nd album, 'Once We Were Trees'. Liked initially, loved later and obsessed over eventually, It ended up being the album that i was most proud of working on as a press officer (and there were some pretty big contenders).

Sometimes a record just exists in a way that imitates perfection. The playing, the singing, the arrangements and perhaps, most importantly, the way it SOUNDS combine to produce something that could never be repeated (see also Big Star's 3rd, Parson's 'Grievous Angel', Exile On Main Street). And all this on an album that was terribly retro. Beautiful Sade cover alert.

I went back and discovered their first record which wasn't as mind-bendingly epic but has some pretty damned fine pop songs.

After the band split/dissolved in 2003 various members made their own records, can i please recommend listening to

Exhibit A: The Tyde: the only LA band (i know of) eulogising about Felt in the mid-00's

Exhibit B: Farmer Dave Scher: reggae meets psyche meets country meets pop meets something stronger than Silk Cut.

Farmer Dave Scher – You Pick Me Up

Exhibit C: All Night Radio: Another Scher project, this song just happened to be one of the best, undiscovered gems of the last 10 years

All Night Radio – Daylight Till Dawn

Magic Alex drummer John Mac did the sound for Beachwood Sparks and also looks after most of their solo things whenever they're in the UK, he tells me their currently back together and making another album. Fingers crossed.


Rin said...

I'd not heard the Sade cover in a while and absolutely love it -- I needed reminding. Gorgeous stuff.

Unknown said...

The whole album is splendico

Rin said...

Been listening again, si!