Last Box of Sparklers – the forthcoming Sparklehorse tribute album featuring The Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, The Joy Formidable, Phantogram, Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle, Portugal. the Man, and many more – is quickly approaching its final day of funding. Similarly the album itself (previously discussed here) is almost complete. “We are compiling the bonus tracks, finalizing the order of the album and preparing the tracks to send to Dave Fridmann for mastering, as well as continuing to work on the album art and liner notes,” the fundraiser’s creative director Jessica Richardson writes in her latest update on the project. Produced by mental health awareness 501c3 non-profit Box of Stars, the campaign aims to not only finance the completion of the album, CDs and vinyl pressings, and packaging designs. . . but also lay the foundation for Box of Star’s website archive of personal stories (part of their efforts to reduce stigma surrounding mental health), and kickstart the development of their youth engagement pilot program (launching nationwide next year in conjunction with mindingyourmind.org). More details and the official trailer video with Wayne Coyne and Dr Dog’s Eric Slick are featured in this previous post on the campaign and the backstory of the tribute album, as well as on the fundraiser page.
Now, with just four days left to contribute, Box of Stars is adding several perks. If you haven’t already contributed – or even if you have – please consider grabbing some of these goodies… for a great cause!
First there’s three vinyl LPs and a t-shirt, signed and donated by the members of Phantogram – including their latest, self-titled EP on vinyl otherwise only available at their concert merch table. Next there’s a surprise from the Flaming Lips. Although it hasn’t been revealed yet what the latest item is from Coyne and co. – who already donated one of their super rare Fuck You Frogs last month – Box of Stars strongly hinted it will be one of the band’s as-of-yet unreleased chocolate skulls and edible brain packages with a reissue of their first EP signed by all four original group members (pictures and details here). Keep an eye on Box of Star’s facebook and twitter updates for the latest details.
These perks are in addition to the previous announced items still available – including Last Box of Sparklers T-shirts and hoodies, and of course, Last Box of Sparklers (available as digital download, lossless, 2 CD and 2 LP sets). The only way to buy this all-star double album tribute to Mark Linkous is through the fundraising campaign – it will not be sold in stores! For musicians wanting to work with pros there’s a mix/master by producer Ted Richardson (Portugal The Man, Chiddy Bang) still available, and a mix by acclaimed producer Joe Nicolo (Rolling Stones, They Might Be Giants, The Police, Aerosmith, Billy Joel). Autographed merch from Mercury Rev, Joy Formidable, Mark Lanegan, Cowboy Junkies, Margot and the Nuclear So-and-Sos – along with Jason Lytle’s signed keyboard and the Flaming Lips “Fuck You Frog” – have all sold out. For full details on all perks visit the fundraiser page.
Finally the above shown Sparklehorse art – created especially for Box of Stars and Last Box of Sparklers by Andrew Pawley – has just been added as a perk. This 40” x 60” poster is available exclusively at the Box of Stars fundraiser in a signed and numbered edition of 10 prints. Andrew has had a prolific year, beginning with publishing one chapter-per-month of his comic series Captain Yeah! & The Children of the Moon‘s book 1 from January through August. He’s also kept busy with numerous concert art (including Austin’s New Year’s Eve Eve Freak Out), illustrating a series of children’s books… and more comics.
In September he published chapter 1 of Captain Yeah!’s second book, “The Apocalypse Dream” featuring Kevin Parker of Tame Impala. (This in turn led to him creating a poster for Kevin personally by request of the psych rocker’s girlfriend, Melody’s Echo Chamber’s Melody Prochet!) Book 2, “Your Life Is A Lie” featured MGMT, followed in October. Today we are excited to announce both the Sparklehorse poster and the publication of the first pages of chapter three, featuring Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
Mark Linkous was a beloved man in indie rock who – like one in four people – suffered from mental illness. Mark suffered chronic pain for years before tragically taking his own life. “In the United states, more than 50% of adults who report having mental illness never seek treatment,” Box of Stars notes. “20% of those with mental illness also meet the criteria for substance dependence or abuse.”
Reserve your copy of Last Box of Sparklers now – this your last chance.
Among the highlights on Last Box of Sparklers are The Flaming Lips “Sad and Beautiful World,” Mercury Rev “Spirit Ditch,” Mark Lanegan “Spirit Ditch,” Joy Formidable “Gold Day,” Portugal. The Man “Pig” and Jason Lytle (Grandaddy) “Someday I Will Treat You Good.” Stream some of the album below (or other tracks here), followed by a collection of remembrances of Mark from his fellow musicians.
“I was very sad to hear the news that Mark Linkous has died. He and his band toured with us in Europe, at the start of OK Computer, and they were great every night. His first two records were very important to me, and I carried his music from the tour into my life, and my friends’ lives too. He was softly spoken, with an Old South courtesy I hadn’t heard before: he introduced me to Daniel Johnston’s music, and the West Virginian writing of Pinckney Benedict. Mark wrote and played some beautiful music, and we’re lucky to have it. Rest in Peace.”
– Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood on Dead Air Space
“Mark Linkous gave us so many dark and beautiful songs. They were dark like coal compressed into diamonds and they sparkled in the deep night like spattering morning stars … Who can know why one leaves us by their own hand. Perhaps it is despair meshed with cold clarity. Perhaps one is merely done on earth and needs to travel elsewhere. We can only appreciate his work and imagine him sailing away on a vessel composed of the very sparrows of which he sang.”
– Patti Smith on a dedication page of her website
“He was as open, sincere and unaffected a person as I’ve ever encountered. He was completely unguarded and enthusiastic about the things he loved, and he gave the musicians he worked with freedom to be creative and excel. Prior to seeing him at work I’d never given his music much thought, but during those sessions he impressed me tremendously and I was really looking forward to seeing him again and finishing the record.”
– Steve Albini
“I was crushed to hear that Mark Linkous took his own life Saturday. I had the great honor of playing with Sparklehorse on a 1999 European tour. Mark was always kind and gracious and that tour will always be a highlight of my career. His songs have a aching emotional intensity that still leave me gasping, the kind of songs that make you feel you’d been confided in, that someone has left themselves nakedly vulnerable to make you understand what they are trying to say. I love the way he sang, tuneful but free of unnecessary ornamentation. Our world is sadder and less beautiful without him.”
– Jesus Lizard bassist David Wm. Sims