It’s sort of a sad occasion that brings this episode to you, dear listeners: as of about a week ago (when this episode was recorded), it’s been 8 years since Mark Linkous died outside of his new Nashville home. As the singer, songwriter, and often sole member of Sparklehorse, Mark left behind him a legacy of curiously underrated music that nonetheless meant a lot to those who were fortunate enough to hear it. Today, we bring on Caroline Rayner to help us celebrate his life and work.
Born from the ashes of a failed music career in LA, Sparklehorse made the kind of indie rock that you’d usually find in the holds of wrecked steamboats or haunting ancient attics, combining deft pop sensibilities with a deep love of broken things, junk, and detritus. You’re often as likely to hear a toy plastic saxophone as a scorching guitar riff on his songs, and it’s all put together with a genuine enthusiasm and pathos that keeps it from devolving into the sort of kitschy cuteness that such descriptions often evoke.
Over fifteen years, Sparklehorse released four albums (and one collaboration with Danger Mouse and David Lynch), many of which were so good that they inspired a lifelong devotion from a young Max and college-aged Caroline, both of whom spend the vast majority of this episode frantically enthusing about the beauty, sadness, and hope in this immensely enjoyable music (Andrew, meanwhile, brings the newcomer’s perspective in that irresistibly Andrew way of his). It’s a heartfelt episode that comes from a dear place, and somehow Uncle Kracker comes up anyway. We hope you enjoy it.
Also: Caroline becomes a tough-skinned bitch, Andrew takes Frank Capra to task, and Max finally snaps at these damn kids.