As El Nino rolled into Southern California in the summer of 1997 it pushed two friends, Brent Rademaker and Chris Gunst, to escape Los Angeles. Frequent trips to Joshua Tree were coupled with crashes at Gunst’s parents home to float in their pool and stare at the desert’s night skies. In the midst of this extreme climate change, a mixtape of ‘West Coast country rock’ was being passed around amongst friends inspiring Rademaker to transform his indie rock group, Further, into a new psychedelic country and western outfit – Beachwood Sparks. Loose jam sessions took place, and as the summer slid into autumn the group adopted a vibe that was reminiscent of Crazy Horse – part soulful country, part reckless rock ‘n’ roll, all with a tinge of mid-90′s Glasgow indie rock.
As the jam sessions gave away to recording in a cramped shed, they laid to tape Desert Skies – their recently released ‘lost’ first album. What sets this album apart from their 2000 Sub Pop debut, is that it presents a perfect portrait of the group in its infancy, finding their feet in light of the dissolution and influence of their previous incarnation. Recorded prior to the full spit and shine of the lush Laurel Canyon aesthetic they would soon become known for, cuts like “Canyon Ride” and “Desert Skies” pack an extra, unexpected, punch.