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Sparklehorse

Although its name suggests the presence of a full band, Sparklehorse was essentially the work of singer/songwriter Mark Linkous, an alumnus of the mid-'80s indie band the Dancing Hoods. A tenure in the Johnson Family (later known as Salt Chuck Mary) followed, as did stints sweeping chimneys and painting houses. He began working as Sparklehorse in 1995, honing his spooky, lo-fi roots pop in the studio located on his farm in Bremo Bluff, VA. After a demo made its way to the offices of Capitol Records, Linkous signed to the label and issued Sparklehorse's acclaimed debut, Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot, scoring an alternative radio hit with the single "Someday I Will Treat You Good."

In early 1996, after a Sparklehorse concert in London, Linkous nearly died when he passed out after mixing Valium with prescription antidepressants. He spent 14 hours unconscious on his hotel's bathroom floor, his legs pinned under the rest of his body, and the prolonged loss of blood circulation nearly left him crippled. Many months and countless surgeries later, he was quite literally back on his feet, and his recovery provided inspiration for 1998's Good Morning Spider. Linkous then collaborated with PJ Harvey and the Cardigans' Nina Persson on 2001's radiant It's a Wonderful Life. In between that album and 2006's Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain (which featured contributions from Tom Waits and Danger Mouse), Linkous contributed songs to the soundtrack of the film Laurel Canyon and produced Daniel Johnston's 2003 album, Fear Yourself.

The next Sparklehorse project was truly an ambitious one: a multimedia sound and art gallery done in conjunction with Danger Mouse and filmmaker David Lynch called Dark Night of the Soul. The project featured several singers, including James Mercer, Gruff Rhys, Jason Lytle, Julian Casablancas, Frank Black, Iggy Pop, Nina Persson, Suzanne Vega, Vic Chesnutt, Scott Spillane, and David Lynch, whose photographs made up the 100-page accompanying book. Although slated to appear on the Capitol label in 2009, Dark Night of the Soul ended up dry docked by a legal dispute between EMI and Danger Mouse (most likely stemming from the producer's brilliant -- but decidedly unlicensed -- Jay-Z/Beatles 2004 mash-up The Grey Album, which creatively combined the White Album with The Black Album and jump-started his career). Dark Night of the Soul was left marooned as an adjunct hostage in a complicated legal entanglement. Copies leaked out in different configurations, but it became apparent that Dark Night of the Soul's legitimate release was in serious jeopardy. Cutting his losses, Linkous instead turned his attention to a collaborative project with laptop artist Christian Fennesz. The two had previously recorded music together in 2007, and excerpts from those sessions were packaged together, forming the 2009 release In the Fishtank.

As of early 2010, Linkous had moved to Hayesville, NC, and was reportedly nearing completion of a new Sparklehorse album. On March 6 of that year he was visiting friends in Knoxville, TN, when he committed suicide at age 47 by shooting himself in the chest with a rifle. Condolences poured in from a number of major artists in the music world, including Patti Smith, Steve Albini, and Steven Drozd of the Flaming Lips, a group with whom Linkous had collaborated on Discovered Covered, a Daniel Johnston tribute album. An official release of Dark Night of the Soul arrived that July. ~ Jason Ankeny & Steve Leggett
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain

1. Don't Take My Sunshine Away

2. Getting It Wrong

3. Shade And Honey

4. See The Light

5. Return To Me

6. Some Sweet Day

7. Ghost In The Sky

8. Mountains

9. Morning Hollow

10. It's Not So Hard

11. Knives Of Summertime

12. Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain

x

Track List: It's A Wonderful Life

1. It's A Wonderful Life

2. Gold Day

3. Piano Fire

4. Sea Of Teeth

5. Apple Bed

6. King Of Nails

7. Eyepennies

8. Dog Door

9. More Yellow Birds

10. Little Fat Baby

11. Devil's New

12. Comfort Me

13. Babies On The Sun

x

Track List: Good Morning Spider

1. Pig

2. Painbirds

3. Saint Mary

4. Good Morning Spider

5. Sick Of Goodbyes

6. Box Of Stars (Part One)

7. Sunshine

8. Chaos Of The Galaxy/Happy Man

9. Hey, Joe

10. Come On In

11. Mary's Little Elbows

12. Cruel Sun

13. All Night Home

14. Ghost Of His Smile

15. Hundreds Of Sparrows

16. Box Of Stars (Part Two)

17. Junebug

x

Track List: Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot

1. Homecoming Queen

2. Weird Sisters

3. 850 Double Pumper Holley

4. Rainmaker

5. Spirit Ditch

6. Tears On Fresh Fruit

7. Saturday

8. Cow

9. Little B**tard Choo Choo

10. Hammering The Cramps

11. Most Beautiful Widow In Town

12. Heart Of Darkness

13. Ballad Of A Cold Lost Marble

14. Someday I Will Treat You Good

15. Sad And Beautiful World

16. Gasoline Horseys

Comments

Report as inappropriate
karaab.dawso n
I live so close to Bremo Bluff and never knew about this guy until RIGHT NOW.
Elliot Smith , Ian Curtis...the list grows
Report as inappropriate
@Gary Lundberg Your 2nd sentence has happened to me time and time again and not only on Pandora. To see the worlds in music created and destroyed breaks my heart. You meant something great to many people, Mark Linkous.
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smoke weed and succeed
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Holy s**t he's gone. A bullet to the heart and it all went away.
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This is my first time hearing them and they've definitely piqued my interest! I'm hooked! Awesome! They're reminiscent of so much awesomeness yet they're all their own.
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It's a sad and beautiful world
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MORNING HOLLOW SLOW SEXY DREARY n i like it. they nailed a real primitive groove
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beneamata
A magical songwriter and a sweet spirit amongst barbaric musik. Or was that a brilliant voice and wild spirit amongst saccharine garbage? Maybe both (and more!) Mark Linkous will be missed.
Report as inappropriate
I am sick. Nothing upsets me more than 'discovering ' a 'new' band on Pandora and falling in love with them, only to find out that they dissolved years ago. To learn that Sparklehorse as well as Mark died with his suicide is even more upsetting. The injustice surrounding Dark Night of the Soul is infuriating. I am grateful to at least enjoy the music legacy Mark left behind to remember him.
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All I want is to be a happy man.
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=(
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meghangantz
i miss sparklehorse
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I will miss all the beautiful metaphors.
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wenberep
yeah, great tunes indeed.
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wenberep
Great tunes eh!?
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Dangermouse and Sparklehorse New Music Report

http://www.x 1 f m . c o m / m u s i c / m u s i c - r e p o r t / D a n g e r m o u s e - a n d - S p a r k l e h o r s e - N e w - M u s i c - R e p o r t /
Report as inappropriate
mlrisner3
Rest in peace, Mark
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<3 you always, Mark.
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monsarrat
Mark Linkous shot himself to death in Knoxville, Tn March 6 2010. Check the Metro Pulse, Knoxville's alternative newspaper for more info about his recent time in Knoxville.
Report as inappropriate
RIP
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bradferrier
goodbye mark linkous.
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add matthew Sweet as similar artist
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kapps2
Very good band, check them out!
Report as inappropriate
I cant stop listening to Sparklehorse albums. 5 stars
Report as inappropriate
I first heard Sparklehorse three years ago when browsing my local Borders. I listened to their '06 album, 'Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain'. As soon as I experienced their music (especially the track 'Knives of Summertime') , I was hooked. Their songs are lyrical and inventive, their sound inspired and quirky yet spiritual. I recommend them, for they indeed sparkle and are very horsey (in a good way).
Report as inappropriate
.
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kzoorockahol i c
An amazing songwriter and musician. Easily in my top 5.
Report as inappropriate
well he's the best.

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