Sparklehorse /// “King Of Nails” /// It’s A Wonderful Life
I was greatly saddened to learn of Sparklehorse frontman and hell-of-a-songwriter Mark Linkous’ suicide over the weekend, not least because he was an artist I admired but often overlooked. I was a freshman in college when I first came across his work and, overstimulated and falling in love, I only skimmed his thorny, lonely, broken-down sound. It wasn’t time for this; I had too much to do, too much to be happy about. It was only much later, on some day I found myself sick and bottomed out, too weary for my age, that I was allowed to rediscover him. I didn’t even pick him out; I had left iTunes shuffle going, spread out on the ground and begun breathing into my dirty carpet. That’s how I do depression, just lying someplace I usually wouldn’t and trying to mesh with the surface. Songs came and went, and they were wallpaper. Then, at some point, a sharp, insistent beat. An unforgiving acoustic guitar, followed by a scummy one. It was music to rattle your bones and prickle your skin. At last, I had a reason to move—I needed to see what this song was called, and who was behind it.