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Sparklehorse

The project of Mark Linkous, Sparklehorse's noisy rock, pastoral folk, psychedelic pop, and gently devastating ballads were always grounded in empathy. 1995's Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot introduced the singer/songwriter's gift for tapping into timeless folk and country traditions and updating them with heady sounds made with vintage equipment saved from the trash heap. The album also introduced the tug-of-war between hope, wonder, weariness, and despair that Linkous explored later. On 1998's Good Morning Spider, his songs tipped toward darkness; on 2001's It's a Wonderful Life, they leaned into gratitude. Sparklehorse's unconventional confessions made fans out of artists including Radiohead, the Flaming Lips, PJ Harvey, Tom Waits, David Lynch, and Fennesz, many of whom worked on projects like 2010's Dark Night of the Soul, which appeared just months after Linkous' death. More than a decade later, 2023's posthumously completed Bird Machine let fans discover more of Sparklehorse's beautifully strange and moving songs. A Virginia native (and descendent of the famed bluegrass group the Stanley Brothers), Linkous moved to Los Angeles and New York to play with the mid-1980s band the Dancing Hoods. Upon moving back to Richmond in the late '80s, he performed with the local group Salt Chunk Mary before striking out on his own as Sparklehorse a few years later. Playing with musicians including his brother Matt, Linkous drew from the purity of country, folk, and bluegrass, as well as the heartfelt yet experimental approach of Tom Waits, to develop the project's sound. He met and struck up a friendship with Camper van Beethoven and Cracker's David Lowery, who had also recently moved to the area and was setting up his own studio. Lowery lent an eight-track recorder to Linkous, who used it to create what would become the demos for Sparklehorse's debut album. After a demo made its way to the offices of Capitol Records, Linkous signed to the label and issued Sparklehorse's acclaimed debut, August 1995's Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot. Produced by Lowery (under the alias "David Charles") and recorded at his Sound of Music studio, the album was named for a dream of Linkous' and introduced the noisy indie rock, found sounds and samples, and acoustic ruminations that defined the project's sound. Along with earning critical acclaim, Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot reached number 58 on the U.K. Albums Chart, while the single "Someday I Will Treat You Good" hit number 35 on the Alternative Airplay chart in the U.S. While touring Europe with Radiohead in early 1996, Linkous nearly died when he passed out after accidentally 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; the prolonged loss of blood circulation nearly left him unable to walk. As Linkous recovered, learning how to walk and play guitar again, April 1996's Chords I've Known EP appeared, as did a cover of Vic Chesnutt's "West of Rome" for Sweet Relief II: Gravity of the Situation and a version of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" featuring Radiohead's Thom Yorke. By 1997, Linkous was playing live again, and started work on Sparklehorse's second album at the studio inside his farmhouse outside of Richmond. Emphasizing his collection of vintage keyboards and recording gear, July 1998's Good Morning Spider was a more brooding, noisier affair than Sparklehorse's debut, though Linkous recorded a sonically cleaner version of the song "Happy Man" with Eric Drew Feldman for radio airplay. Like its predecessor, Good Morning Spider earned critical praise; the album peaked at number 30 in the U.K., where the single "Sick of Goodbyes" reached 57. February 2000 saw the release of the Distorted Ghost EP, which collected Good Morning Spider B-sides, live performances, and a cover of Daniel Johnston's "My Yoke Is Heavy." That year, Linkous also appeared on a pair of tracks on the Cracker compilation Garage D'Or. For Sparklehorse's third album, Linkous took a more collaborative approach, bringing in well-known artists including PJ Harvey, the Cardigans' Nina Persson, Dave Fridmann, John Parish, and Waits. Some of the project's brightest and most eclectic music, It's a Wonderful Life was first released in the U.K. in June 2001, where it charted at number 49, before it arrived in the U.S. that August. The album became Sparklehorse's most commercially successful release, and the detailed sonics of its songs were captured by videos by Guy Maddin, the Brothers Quay, and other directors and filmmakers. These videos were aired in their entirety on the Sundance Channel show Sonic Cinema that October. Linkous then contributed songs to the soundtrack of the 2002 film Laurel Canyon and produced Johnston's 2003 album, Fear Yourself. He teamed up with the Flaming Lips to cover Johnston's "Go" for the 2004 tribute album The Late Great Daniel Johnston: Discovered Covered. Sparklehorse's next album, September 2006's Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain, was another highly collaborative work with contributions from Waits, Danger Mouse, the Flaming Lips' Steven Drozd, Linkous' brother Matt, and sister-in-law Melissa. A gentler-sounding album than some of Sparklehorse's other work, it included re-recorded versions of previously released songs, among them a track written for the Laurel Canyon soundtrack and a bonus track from It's a Wonderful Life. Dreamt for Light Years ... reached number 60 in the U.K. and number 11 on the Heatseekers chart in the U.S. Two years after the album's release, Sparklehorse contributed a cover of "Jack's Obsession" for Nightmare Revisited, a compilation of covers of the songs from Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. The next Sparklehorse project was truly an ambitious one: a multimedia sound and art gallery created in conjunction with Danger Mouse and filmmaker David Lynch called Dark Night of the Soul. The project's singers included James Mercer, Gruff Rhys, Jason Lytle, Julian Casablancas, Frank Black, Iggy Pop, Nina Persson, Suzanne Vega, Vic Chesnutt, Scott Spillane, and Lynch himself, whose photographs made up the 100-page accompanying book. Although slated to appear on Capitol in 2009, Dark Night of the Soul's official release was delayed by legal issues. In September 2009, Linkous' collaboration with laptop artist Fennesz -- which was recorded in 2007 -- was released as In the Fishtank, Vol. 15. In 2010, Linkous 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 died by suicide at age 47. Condolences poured in from artists including Patti Smith, Steve Albini, and Drozd. An official release of Dark Night of the Soul arrived that July, charting at number 32 in the U.K., number 24 in the U.S., and appearing on the charts of several European countries and Australia. Tributes to the lasting impact of Sparklehorse's music continued into the 2010s, with John Parish and PJ Harvey issuing "Sorry for Your Loss" in 2018 and Danger Mouse sharing the previously unreleased track "Ninjarous" -- which also featured MF Doom and the Black Keys' Patrick Carney -- a year later. Also in 2019, the full-length documentary This Is Sparklehorse premiered and was officially released three years later. Late in 2022, the first new Sparklehorse music in over a decade appeared in the form of the song "It Will Never Stop." The noise-laden rocker was from Bird Machine, the album Linkous had been working on at the time of his death. Matt and Melissa Linkous had sifted through his archive since becoming the estate's administrators in 2012, and working with archival audio engineer Bryan Hoffa and producer Alan Weatherhead, they eventually uncovered Bird Machine's nearly finished songs. To complete the album, they drafted mixer Joel Hamilton and engineer Greg Calbi, while Grandaddy's Jason Lytle and Linkous' nephew Spencer provided additional vocals. Appearing on Anti Records in September 2023, Bird Machine spanned the staticky outbursts and fragile ballads at which Sparklehorse excelled.
© Heather Phares /TiVo

Discografia

19 álbum(ns) • Ordenado por Mais vendidos

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