Tag Archives: Sparklehorse

9 of the best – sounds of nineties

Good morning. It’s a little bit later than normal but hopefully worth the wait. I participated in Portsmouth’s Great South Run yesterday, which was was celebrating its 30th anniversary with a 1990s party. It was fun, but no semblance of the decade’s best songs involved. I give you my favourite nine sounds in chronological order. I have to say this is by far the toughest best-of list that I’ve published… just look at the quality of sound that I demoted to honourable footnotes.

Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy (1991)

R.E.M. – Nightswimming (1992)

Jeff Buckley – Last Goodbye (1994)

The Smashing Pumpkins – 1979 (1995)

Oasis – The Masterplan (1995)

Sparklehorse – Cow (1995)

Radiohead – Let Down (1997)

Mercury Rev – Holes (1998)

Wilco – She’s A Jar (1999)


Honourable mentions also go to: Cocteau Twins for ‘Cherry Coloured Funk‘ (1990); Pulp for ‘Babies‘ (1992); Pavement for ‘In The Mouth A Desert‘ (1992); Blur for ‘To The End‘ (1994) and ‘The Universal‘ (1995); Beastie Boys for ‘Sabotage‘ (1994); The Flaming Lips for ‘Placebo Headwound‘ (1995) and ‘Race For The Prize‘ (1999); Radiohead for ‘Fake Plastic Trees‘ (1995); Red House Painters for ‘Have You Forgotten‘ (1996); Spiritualized for ‘Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space‘ (1997); and Röyksopp for ‘So Easy‘ (1999).

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9 of the best – sounds of 1995

A compilation to get the ears humming this weekend. My favourite 9 sounds of 1995, the swansong year for Britpop. Needless to say, Oasis and Blur feature.

The Smashing Pumpkins – 1979

The Flaming Lips – Placebo Headwound

Oasis – The Masterplan

Underworld – Born Slippy

Radiohead – Fake Plastic Trees

Sparklehorse – Cow

Teenage Fanclub – Versimilitude

Blur – The Universal

Moby – When It’s Cold I’d Like To Die


Honourable mentions also go to: Pavement for ‘We Dance‘; Yo La Tengo for ‘Blue Line Swinger‘; Ol’ Dirty Bastard for ‘Shimmy Shimmy Ya‘; Rob Dougan for ‘Clubbed To Death‘; Sparklehorse for ‘Saturday‘; and Radiohead for ‘Planet Telex’ and ‘Street Spirit’.

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Sparklehorse – Cow (1995)


I cannot believe I haven’t posted this one already. The stupendous ‘Cow’ from Sparklehorse’s 1995 debut Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot. Everything feels a little bit better with banjo. Sparklehorse was the musical project of Mark Linkous. His beautiful, fragile music masked a stranger thing. Linkous shot himself through the heart in 2010 aged 47.

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Car Seat Headrest – Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales (2016)


This year, Will Toledo has got my attention. He is one of those singer-songwriter that operates as a “band” – in this case, Car Seat Headrest. ‘Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales’ is off the project’s recommended album Teens Of Denial. The fact that this particular track reminds me of the combined output of some this blogger’s favourite bands (Sparklehorse, Beck, Okkervil River, Pavement) is a boon. Have a great week.

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The Notwist – Consequence (2002)


The Notwist

The German band Notwist came to my attention in 2002 with the release of Neon Golden. The album was much more influenced by electronica than the darker side of rock that had kept them off my radar in the previous decade. The hypnotic electronic clicks, piano, acoustic instruments and Markus Acher’s somber vocals gladly remind me of Sparklehorse/Mark Linkous – particularly the closing track ‘Consequence’.

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Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse – Revenge (2010)


Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse

Producer extraordinaire Danger Mouse, the dark lyrics of Sparklehorse talisman Mark Linkous, the vocals of Wayne Coyne, and accompanying imagery by David Lynch – I was always going to like ‘Revenge’. This was the first song off the final album, Dark Night of the Soul, that Linkous completed before his suicide in 2010. RIP.

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Tame Impala – Apocalypse Dreams (2012)

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Tame Impala quartet

Today, it’s another noisy Parker (Kevin), his band Tame Impala, and just an importantly, Dave Fridmann on the knob twiddling. Producer Fridmann’s CV includes The Flaming Lips, Sparklehorse and MGMT, and Australia’s space rocksters benefit from its full force on ‘Apocalypse Dreams’. Taken from from the band’s recent album Lonerism, it’s an epic piece of psychedelia, full of sun-bleached melodies, fuzzy prog and Revolver-esque treatment. A recent review eulogised the long player’s “pedal-tastic reverb-flanging-Echoplexed-backwards-fuzzboz FX”. Extraordinarily irresistible. Have a great weekend.

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Sparklehorse – Saturday (1995)

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Regular subscribers will have seen my accidental pre-release of this classic on Saturday – yes the very same day. I chose this song to kick off a week of songs bound together by nostalgia. From Sparklehorse’s brilliant first album Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot, ‘Saturday’ has that everyday-sadness brand of nostalgia. I think I might have been in a relationship heading for the rocks at the time. Sparklehorse’s singer-songwriter Mark Linkous took his own life in 2010 after a life of booze and drugs. And despite all the requests, this may be as close as this music blog gets to marking the sad passing of Whitney Houston (also on Saturday, no less). And don’t worry folks, nostalgia isn’t always about melancholy… I promise something far more upbeat tomorrow.

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