8 March 2010


Heard this morning from Lisa about Linkous's suicide on Saturday. He was one of my favorite pop musicians. I'd first heard of him back in 1995 when Album 88 was playing tracks off of Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionhorse (Lisa and I were just starting to date at MicroHelp). Completely fell in love with the distorted pop quality.

I don't latch on to pop music that often and finding his was such magic at the time. He was similar to Wilco, and yet Linkous used the studio to create a sound-world reminiscent of Pink Floyd's early, creative experiments and that had less of the alt-country, awshucks quality. A good example is his song "Chaos of the Galaxy/Happy Man" from his second album. The use of distortion throughout seemed to express a feeling of impotence regarding free will. In one sense, the radio distortion that drowns the song foils his attempts at expression; in another, it's his hand that controls the distortion and chooses to detune the radio station that is his voice. I still feel it is the pinnacle of his music making (see also Luke Lewis's praise of that song over at NME).

We went to see him twice. First at the now-defunct Music Midtown back in '95 or '96 when he was in a wheelchair. Then, a year or two later, we saw him standing tall and rhinestone-cowboy-hatted at the also-now-defunct Echo Lounge. Packed house and beautifully performed.

As with DFW, I hate seeing him go and hate that they both had such difficulties to force them to leave in such a manner.

[ posted by sstrader on 8 March 2010 at 7:39:30 PM in Music ]