Beachwood Sparks

Midsummer Daydream/Windows '65

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At the time of this release, there were six musicians in Beachwood Sparks: guitarist/vocalist Chris Gunst, guitarist/vocalist Josh Schwartz, bassist/vocalist Brent Rademaker, keyboardist/lap steel virtuoso Dave Scher ("Farmer Dave"), percussionist Pete "Sleigher" Kinne, and drummer Aaron Sperkse (who had replaced Tom Sanford). He had previously been been back East, playing with Kurt Heasley's Lilys, and, for a time, Beachwood Sparks and Heasley became the 1998-1999 Lilys, touring the U.S. and U.K. Schwartz, who traded lead guitar and vocal duties with Gunst in this early lineup, wrote many of the band's pop-inflected songs, including the B-side to the band's first Bomp! single, the bubblegum-meets-Beach Boys "Make It Together." In April 1999, their second 45 was issued (on purple-marble vinyl) on SubPop's Singles Club imprint. The A-side, Schwartz's "Midsummer Daydream," was a vibrant pop-psych pastiche, with Beatlesque backwards guitars and cool shoegazer vocals, sounding like Ride riffing on the Byrds. The B-side, Rademaker's ultra-hip "Windows 65," was also built on a stoney British Invasion-meets-Byrds riff; it remains one of the band's better earlier efforts. The limited release of 1300 copies was only available via mail order and to members of the Singles Club, and SubPop sold every copy (it's now out of print). Not long after this release, Schwartz and Kinne left the group, who were eventually signed to SubPop as a quartet, making a conscious and natural move back to the more traditional country-rock-meets-space rock sound they'd started with back in 1997. Schwartz, meanwhile, left during the recording of the first Beachwood Sparks album to form his own band, Northern Lights.