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Richmond, United States (1995 – 2010)

Sparklehorse was an American band formed in 1995 and led by Mark Linkous (September 9, 1962 - March 6, 2010), a Richmond, Virginia native and last of a long line of southern coalminers. Linkous recorded much of Sparklehorse’s material in his home studio, and his Southern Gothic vision guided Sparklehorse. Drummer and multi-instrumentalist Scott Minor was a frequent collaborator.

Before his suicide in March 2010, Linkous created many albums of beauty and discord and much of Sparklehorse’s music has an introspective, melancholy feel, which Linkous credited to a chemical imbalance. His lyrics are full of odd imagery: Joe Tangari describes Linkous’ songs as “defiantly … with all manner of references to smiling babies, organ music, birds, and celestial bodies… In fact, some of the lyrics are so surreal that it’s hard to imagine they’re even metaphors for anything.”

Musically, Sparklehorse were not far removed from , though there are as many differences as similarities between that genre and Sparklehorse: Linkous was fond of incorporating obsolete musical instruments or technologies (such as woozy mellotrons, scratchy, distorted wire recordings of his own voice, or cheap, tinny drum machines), in ways reminiscent of some of Tom Waits’ music. Sparklehorse offered a few full-throttle numbers, as well, such as “Some Day I Will Treat You Good” or “Happy Man”.


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