Friday, November 3rd, 2006

Someday I Will Treat You Good

While doing a little cleaning recently, I came across a CD-R that a friend of mine in Richmond, Virginia sent me a number of years ago. It’s a collection of 8-track demos by a local band called Salt Chunk Mary circa 1992/1993 which isn’t especially remarkable in and of itself save for the fact that it was fronted by one Mark Linkous, who would go on to create the singularly sad and beautiful Sparklehorse. Information on the band is nigh impossible to find since they didn’t really do much before morphing into the ‘Horse and they generally predate the internet – however the notes indicate the lineup on the recordings included Mark Linkous, his brother Matt on guitar, Chip Jones on bass and Steve Schick on drums. I also found this fifteen-year old article from the Richmond Times Dispatch that talked to the band about their fledgling project.

There are a few jams and sonic experiments that foreshadow the direction that Linkous would head in the future but most of the songs are solid if unremarkable pieces of rootsy jangle pop and bluesy rock. It’s fascinating to hear Linkous sing with volume and authority, considering how he usually sounds like he’s singing via a transistor radio transmission from the far reaches of the galaxy these days. As I said, if that wasn’t Mark Linkous fronting the band, there’d be really no reason to pay much attention to these songs but as the naked baby photos for one of the more unique and eccentric talents on the musical landscape today, they’re pretty interesting. Somewhere, along the way, Mr Horse took a hard left off the highway and into the ditch and has been wandering the wilds of Appalachia ever since.

And there is one familar tune as four songs in we find an early version of “Someday I Will Treat You Good” from Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot – much cleaner and straightforward in production but not far removed from final product. I’ve posted both versions for you to compare and contrast (and the video as well, if you require visual aids). I’ve also posted a couple of the better tunes from the demos – unfortunately, there was no track listing to go along with the disc so I’m left making up names based on the phrase most often repeated in the chorus. Imprecise, but what can you do.

And back in the present day, The Scotsman talks to Linkous about making Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain.

MP3: Salt Chunk Mary – “Rest Your Worried Mind”
MP3: Salt Chunk Mary – “Take Back Everything”
MP3: Salt Chunk Mary – “Someday I Will Treat You Good”
MP3: Sparklehorse – “Someday I Will Treat You Good”
Video: Sparklehorse – “Someday I Will Treat You Good” (YouTube)
MySpace: Sparklehorse

There’s also a tribute album to Sparklehorse in the works where you can almost surely expect another version of “Someday I Will Treat You Good” to turn up. Curated by Slight Record, the lineup of artists who will appear on Sad and Beautiful World is still being kept secret but confirmed are Daniel Johnston and Toronto’s Barzin, whom I just discovered last week.

Primarily the project of Barzin Hosseini though also enlisting talents such as Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers, their slow, sad and spacey country-tinged tunes recall Scotland’s Zephyrs (whose website is down now but hopefully that doesn’t mean anything…) as well as Mojave 3, Low and Red House Painters – in other words, the sort of stuff that I love. I’m a little surprised that I’d never even heard the name before, let alone the music, considering we share an area code but hey – better late than never. Their latest album is My Life In Rooms, released this past Spring domestically and just a couple weeks ago in the US. You can sample a few songs below or stream the whole record via the eCard. Barzin played Toronto last night opening for Stuart Staples and heads out on a European tour later this month.

MP3: Barzin – “Leaving Time”
MP3: Barzin – “Lets Go Driving”
MP3: Barzin – “Won’t You Come”
eCard: Barin / My Life In Rooms
MySpace: Barzin

And to loop back a bit, the Slight Record label is associated with the Slightly Confusing To A Stranger webzine, which currently has a live Sparklehorse track taken from this year’s Austin City Limits festival available to download:

MP3: Sparklehorse – “Sad & Beautiful World” (live at ACL 2006)

eye meets Devastations, playing at the ElMo downstairs tomorrow evening.

Filter has posted their almost unbearably precious yet somehow still insightful recent cover story on Cat Power online. Of course, I’m fairly sure this interview was conducted pre-breakdown/dry-out so any insights the author claims to have divined from his time with Ms Marshall are probably questionable. She plays the Phoenix November 22.

CokeMachineGlow interviews the boys from Grizzly Bear.

np – The Clash / The Story Of The Clash

By : Frank Yang at 8:40 am
Category: Uncategorized
RSS Feed for this post8 Responses.
  1. mike says:

    Barzin are wonderful – I discovered them during this year’s Canadian Music Week and as I mentioned in my blog post at the time –… – they were my favourite discovery of that whole festival. They peformed at the intimate Holy Joe’s and there was a disco ball overhead that added such lovely atmosphere to their hushed performance. I haven’t gotten around to seeing them live again, even though they performed in and around T.O. several times since them. And also, I named Barzin as one of my ‘Honourable Mentions’ of I Heart Music’s recent poll of Hottest Canadian Bands/Artists of 2006.

  2. charbarred says:

    Great discovery with the Salt Chunk Mary. Any chance you can post the rest of the tracks?

  3. charbarred says:

    Great discovery with the Salt Chunk Mary. Any chance you can post the rest of the tracks?

  4. Will says:

    i weighing in on this discovering Cancon thing. How can you live in Toronto and not know these bands. Where do you get your initial sources from. It seems you only go to gigs by Yanks and Scots… don’t you ever just go out and just come across a band thats playing in a club. You have access to the best of Canadian living in TO and you squander what many others would give their last beer ticket for… the opportunity to see BSS or Metric or Barzin or Hyzoloists or Golden Dogs live in a club. And do it before some foreign mag tags them as the It band not after.

  5. Frank says:

    yeah, cause I’ve never written about Metric or Broken Social Scene or Hylozoists before. Thanks so much for bringing these hidden and underappreciated talents to my attention.

    I see who I choose to see.

  6. Anders says:

    Another band confirmed for the Sparklehorse tribute is the Swedish band Racingpaperplanes.

    They posted a cover of "Happy Man" on their Myspace page a few weeks ago but now it’s gone. A truly excellent version.

  7. Baby says:

    I like Sparklehorse a great deal, thanks for the great post.

    cheers, baby

  8. Spirit Ditch says:


    Thanks very much for the Salt Chunk Mary tracks. It is fascinating to hear how Linkous developed. It is interesting to find out that the lyrics for “Rest Your Worried Mind” seem to later have been recycled the Sparklehorse song “Heart of Darkness.”

    Is there any possibility that you could please post the rest of the songs on the CDR? I know there are a lot of people who would love to hear them.