To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.
2000 – #2. Beachwood Sparks – self titled
This was just the coolest record in the world when it came out. Sometimes it feels like they’ve totally been forgotten.It was space cowboy indie country. Nowadays it sounds like MGMT done with slide guitars. That blissful holiday feel and colourful vibe – for a second there, everyone was ripping Beachwood Sparks off.
I exaggerate, of course. I think very few people actually heard this record, and those who did only knew it from alt-country circles. Oh my god, someone was using slide guitar? I’m buying it. It was also the first Sub Pop album I bought in many years.
What can be said about this record? The band name, with it’s reference to the 60s band the Zombies, rocks. The cover is great.
But I don’t know if there’s much I can say that isn’t better summed up by listening to Sister Rose, or Desert Skies. Those high harmonies, and pedal steel everywhere. It took all that stuff from the 60s east coast – Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and all. But I just keep coming back to it – they just seemed so much cooler. You wanted to jump in the combie vans and hang out with these guys.
Pity the guys in the band didn’t feel that way. After such an assured debut record, they failed to take it to the next step with the next, second and final album, Once We Were Trees. One little EP later and the band called it a day, splintering off into several respected side projects (making them the alt-country At the Drive In).
Nice thing is at the Sub Pop 20th anniversary gig, the band got back together. Hopefully more people will go back and hear this band. And did I mention how cool they were? In 2000, if I could join any band, it would have been this one.
Thanks, after all these years, to Danny Allen who told me to listen to this album in the first place. Great call.