TUE, JUL 28, 2009 at 6:11 AM

For the Record #3 - Beachwood Sparks - Once we were Trees


For the Record #3
Beachwood Sparks Once we were Trees
When we told you the first time: 10/9/2001

Hopefully you’ve learned the drill by now, but we’re only on installment 3 of the new subpop.com feature, “For the Record”, so here’s a brief refresher. One of us here in the Sub Pop office will periodically pick a record in our catalog that means a great deal to them, write about why that is, and then temporarily price it at $6 for the CD/LP and $4 for a digital version of the record.

The song writing and creativity on Once We Were Trees is a big leap from their s/t debut (which is also great, BTW). From the onset, the short instrumental, “Germination”, sets the tone for the huge sounding songs “Confusion is Nothing New” and “Sun Surrounds”. From there, the record moves into a more countrified territory and then it slows a bit….. actually, I’ll stop trying to describe the record song by song because of my clumsy descriptors and general inadequacies as a writer. I’ll just say that the record is remarkably well paced and that you’ll end up going on a mini, drug-free, hallucinogenic journey into amazing sonic territories (some of which are governed by guest appearances by J. Mascis and his guitar) and a year-round, California summer day, no matter where you are.

Once we were Trees was my introduction to much of the country music that I would come to love. Before Beachwood Sparks, I didn’t have a sense of why Sweetheart of the Rodeo or Grievous Angel were such revered records, to me they sounded like twangy earaches. It wasn’t an easy sell, in fact, it took a few years following the release of this record to get into a lot of those records, but I attribute OWWT to my love of John Phillips, Graham Parsons, Townes Van Zandt, and The Byrds. They were also an introduction to a family of bands that I’ve come to love quite dearly, including: The Tyde, All Night Radio, Further, Mystic Chords of Memory, and Summer Hits (for more info: http://www.thecalmingseas.com/relbands). I owe a lot to this record.

Pick it up through Thursday, July 30th here for $6 on CD/LP or $4 digitally.

Posted by Sam Sawyer