Purple Mountains (RIP David Berman, August 2019)

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http://www.brooklynvegan.com/files/2019/05/DC680_PurpleMountains_MINI.jpg
01 That’s Just the Way I Feel
02 All My Happiness Is Gone
03 Darkness and Cold
04 Snow Is Falling in Manhattan
05 Margaritas at the Mall
06 She’s Making Friends, I’m Turning Stranger
07 I Loved Being My Mother’s Son
08 Nights That Won’t Happen
09 Storyline Fever
10 Maybe I’m the Only One for Me

Out July 12

mizzell, Friday, 17 May 2019 15:34 (five months ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvUBbROsXBw

mizzell, Friday, 17 May 2019 15:34 (five months ago) link

I like the cover art a lot -- are those Egglestons? Because if not, they are some of the most Egglestonian Eggleston imitations I've ever seen.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Friday, 17 May 2019 15:49 (five months ago) link

nothing's wrong, no one's askin'
but the fear's so strong, it leaves you gaspin'

husserl gang (rip van wanko), Friday, 17 May 2019 16:09 (five months ago) link

I like the cover too. Reminds me of the poster that came with the Natural Bridge.

https://www.dragcity.com/uploads/products/1451/images/533/large_dc101p.jpg

His prophecy of a well-curated instagram account was seemingly foretold in 1996.

del griffith, Friday, 17 May 2019 16:11 (five months ago) link

That poster brings back memories... I had it hanging in one (or more) of my apartments as a young guy.

Is it known who plays on this new LP?

get your hand outta my pocket universe (morrisp), Friday, 17 May 2019 16:18 (five months ago) link

Is it known who plays on this new LP?

Four-fifths of Woods (Jeremy Earl, Aaron Neveu, Jarvis Taveniere, and Kyle Forester), and Anna St. Louis.

del griffith, Friday, 17 May 2019 16:22 (five months ago) link

That's from the back of the single, though. There might be more on the LP.

del griffith, Friday, 17 May 2019 16:23 (five months ago) link

That poster brings back memories... I had it hanging in one (or more) of my apartments as a young guy.


Same! Had this hanging in my room at various stages of college.

circa1916, Friday, 17 May 2019 16:35 (five months ago) link

The nod to "Melt With You" in the chorus of "All My Happiness Is Gone" must be intentional, right?

days of being riled (zchyrs), Friday, 17 May 2019 17:03 (five months ago) link

Huh, it really does sound like "Melt With You"...

DB is looking like a Brett Gelman character

get your hand outta my pocket universe (morrisp), Friday, 17 May 2019 17:16 (five months ago) link

got a bit of a "Take The Skinheads Bowling" kinda vibe too

Paul Ponzi, Friday, 17 May 2019 17:23 (five months ago) link

I also heard “melt” in the chorus but didn’t bring it up because I want to forget it’s there

calstars, Friday, 17 May 2019 17:33 (five months ago) link

Is he still together with, whatshername, Cassie? (It’s none of my business, but the video pointedly projects a “lonely old guy” vibe, so made me wonder...)

get your hand outta my pocket universe (morrisp), Friday, 17 May 2019 17:53 (five months ago) link

Thought I saw Cassie in the video

Paul Ponzi, Friday, 17 May 2019 18:20 (five months ago) link

No one deserves to be called whatshername. But yeah, the whole ol' gang makes an appearance in the "when we last left our heroes" intro footage from the Joos' final show at Cumberland Caverns.

del griffith, Friday, 17 May 2019 18:29 (five months ago) link

Tour dates this summer! http://www.brooklynvegan.com/david-bermans-purple-mountains-announce-debut-lp-share-single

del griffith, Friday, 17 May 2019 18:34 (five months ago) link

Good to know (I did that as a rhetorical move, to signal that I don’t presume to be on a first-name basis with these folks)

get your hand outta my pocket universe (morrisp), Friday, 17 May 2019 18:36 (five months ago) link

Rhetorical devices POX

calstars, Friday, 17 May 2019 18:41 (five months ago) link

I like the cover art a lot -- are those Egglestons? Because if not, they are some of the most Egglestonian Eggleston imitations I've ever seen.

There was an interview with Bob Nastanovich a few years back where he mentioned that Berman had been making "sculptures" out of toys and things he'd found at thrift stores (it's around the 30-minute mark here: http://vishkhanna.com/2015/02/18/ep-165-bob-nastanovich-of-silver-jews/), and the middle picture on the right of the album cover looks exactly like one of the ones he described, so I'm gonna guess these are Berman orginals. Also pretty sure I've seen pictures of him with one or both of those dogs.

Anyway, Bob kind of made it sound like the artwork was inspiring some new songs, and it seems like some of the photos correspond with the tracklist (the second picture is the cover of the All My Happiness Is Gone single, bottom left goes with track 7).

Vaguely Threatening CAPTCHAs, Friday, 17 May 2019 18:52 (five months ago) link

yeah the plastic dayglo toy sculptures and their mirror-image photos are all over his twitter https://twitter.com/prplmtns

and speaking of mirror-imagery, who knows, maybe "Snow is Falling in Manhattan" is a reference to:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QDiST2a0q0

del griffith, Friday, 17 May 2019 19:13 (five months ago) link

I worry about DB’s mental health but yeah it’s none of my business and as long as he can keep it together I guess he’s ok

calstars, Friday, 17 May 2019 21:28 (five months ago) link

That’s Just the Way That I Feel is available for download on itunes.

Vaguely Threatening CAPTCHAs, Saturday, 18 May 2019 00:41 (five months ago) link

From Drag City newsletter:

TOUR DATES:

Sat-Aug-10 Pine Plains, NY Huichica East
Sun-Aug-11 Jersey City, NJ White Eagle Hall
Mon-Aug-12 Philadelphia, PA World Cafe Live
Wed-Aug-14 Washington, DC Black Cat
Thu-Aug-15 Asheville, NC Grey Eagle
Fri-Aug-16 Knoxville, TN Pilot Light
Sat-Aug-17 Nashville, TN Mercy Lounge
Mon-Aug-19 Louisville, KY Odeon
Tue-Aug-20 St. Louis, MO Blueberry Hill Duck Room
Wed-Aug-21 Iowa City, IA The Mill
Fri-Aug-23 Minneapolis, MN Cedar Cultural Center
Sat-Aug-24 Chicago, IL Sleeping Village
Sun-Aug-25 Chicago, IL Sleeping Village
Tue-Aug-27 Toronto, ON Lee's Palace
Wed-Aug-28 Montreal, QC La Sala Rossa
Fri-Aug-30 Boston, MA Sinclair
Sat-Aug-31 New York, NY Murmrr Theatre
Fri-Sep-06 Raleigh, NC Hopscotch Festival
Fri-Sep-13 Seattle, WA Neptune
Sat-Sep-14 Walla Walla, WA Huichica Walla Walla
Sun-Sep-15 Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom
Wed-Sep-18 San Francisco, CA Chapel
Sun-Sep-22 Los Angeles, CA Lodge Room

Purple Mountains Online:
Drag City-https://www.dragcity.com/artists/purple-mountains
Pre Order-https://www.dragcity.com/products/purple-mountains
Stream "All My Happiness Is Gone"-https://ffm.to/purplemountains

dow, Saturday, 18 May 2019 20:51 (five months ago) link

I met failure in Australia
I fell ill in Illinois
I nearly lost my genitalia
to an anthill in Des Moines

del griffith, Sunday, 19 May 2019 04:38 (five months ago) link

we're just drinking margaritas at the mall
that's what this stuff adds up to after all
magenta, orange, and acid green
peacock blue and berberine
drinking margaritas at the mall

we're just drinking margaritas at the mall
this happy hour's got us by the balls
magenta, orange, and acid green
peacock blue and berberine
drinking margaritas at the mall

del griffith, Sunday, 19 May 2019 05:08 (five months ago) link

"all my happiness is gone" is completely stunning.

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Sunday, 19 May 2019 14:55 (five months ago) link

^ it is.

I got to listen to the whole new album last night, and I'm so pleased with how Woods turned out at his new backing band. So good. They're a natural pairing. I think it's the best the music behind DCB has sounded since American Water. Woods just excellent in their own right too - I only found out about them in the last year and pretty quickly I realized they were exactly the kind of band I'd been looking for. Picking up Pavement's torch actually, as it were

del griffith, Monday, 20 May 2019 01:35 (five months ago) link

The Spotify page has two other remixes of the single.

... (Eazy), Monday, 20 May 2019 02:41 (five months ago) link

Where are people hearing the album? Is it press promos? I'm in no hurry, I've waited this long and can't be bothered with p2p leaks anymore. Just interested if there's label promo money behind this.

kraudive, Monday, 20 May 2019 02:49 (five months ago) link

I think it's the best the music behind DCB has sounded since American Water.


Just based on the first two tracks, I think I’m already inclined to agree with this. The beginning of All My Happiness Is Gone actually feels kind of thrilling coming off of the first track. That’s some great sequencing. Have a feeling I’ll be playing these two songs over and over until the album comes out.

Vaguely Threatening CAPTCHAs, Tuesday, 21 May 2019 03:41 (five months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Really interesting article... I didn’t know a lot of the backstory (or even that Drag City has a “message board”).

get your hand outta my pocket universe (morrisp), Tuesday, 4 June 2019 06:06 (five months ago) link

Yeah, not sure if they meant the Drag City newsletter or what. Also, surprised there's a place to live above their offices -- mostly artist-studio-type spaces without showers and so on.

... (Eazy), Tuesday, 4 June 2019 11:52 (five months ago) link

it's neither, it's the old disc.server board:

http://disc.yourwebapps.com/Indices/18043.html

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 4 June 2019 13:26 (five months ago) link

He toggles from the virtues of silence as the most powerful artistic statement, as laid out by Susan Sontag in her 1967 essay “The Aesthetics of Silence” (which he insisted I read before our first meeting), to the virtues of getting banned from websites for trolling (which he admits happened to him)

Odds on Berman posting on here at some point?

Position Position, Tuesday, 4 June 2019 14:43 (five months ago) link

I don’t get the feeling he necessarily “loves music.”

get your hand outta my pocket universe (morrisp), Tuesday, 4 June 2019 15:23 (five months ago) link

hasnt stopped any of us before tbf

One Eye Open, Tuesday, 4 June 2019 15:28 (five months ago) link

lol

get your hand outta my pocket universe (morrisp), Tuesday, 4 June 2019 15:44 (five months ago) link

The wapo interview's pretty good. Answers a few questions I had and confirms a few suspicions about the Chicago loft and the separation.

The option of anonymous posting on the disc.server board was one of the greatest things about it in its heyday. Guaranteed daily chaos. That's the board where, late one Friday night around the time of Bright Flight, someone posted David's home phone number. I called it, thinking I could just say I was only trying to alert him to its presence if he was irritated about it, but sure enough he picked up and gave no indication of irritation whatsoever but was in fact totally cheery about it and chatted with me, the lowly internet fanboy, for a good ten minutes, wouldn't let me go even, despite the fact there were all kinds of voices and noises in the background on his end from a party at his house that sounded like it was still going strong.

del griffith, Tuesday, 4 June 2019 18:06 (five months ago) link

“He liked it when I called Jack White ‘Sir Edgar Scissor Blues.’ ”

lol

The wapo interview's pretty good. Answers a few questions I had and confirms a few suspicions about the Chicago loft and the separation.

The first thing I thought on watching the "All My Happiness Is Gone", was 'oh no, he and Carrie have separated'

Duke, Tuesday, 4 June 2019 19:02 (five months ago) link

Cassie not Carrie

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 4 June 2019 19:20 (five months ago) link

morrisp -- there are a bunch of tourdates announced upthread.

new album is ... pretty great? still absorbing, but a bunch of really good songs / lines.

tylerw, Tuesday, 4 June 2019 19:26 (five months ago) link

Cassie not Carrie

Yes! Sorry Cassie.

Duke, Tuesday, 4 June 2019 19:29 (five months ago) link

xp Thanks, I missed or glossed over that

get your hand outta my pocket universe (morrisp), Tuesday, 4 June 2019 19:39 (five months ago) link

Interesting how this isn’t sold out in a small Chicago club, whereas Silver Jews would certainly sell out the Metro or Vic pretty quickly.

... (Eazy), Tuesday, 4 June 2019 21:44 (five months ago) link

don't underestimate brand recognition. I doubt Robert Pollard sells anywhere close to the number of records Guided by Voices does. The mid-or-late-career moniker change is a tough thing to navigate (though Sun Kil Moon, Bonnie Prince Billy, and Magnolia Electric Company--to name three off the top of my head--made it work, I guess)

I bet labels hate when established bands / artists / solo acts change their name

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 4 June 2019 22:02 (five months ago) link

Yup. I bet 80+% of people who'd pounce on a Silver Jews ticket don't have any idea that Berman is back under this name.

alpine static, Tuesday, 4 June 2019 22:42 (five months ago) link

We ended up buying tix for that L.A. show (final show of the tour?); I bet it would have sold out already under the Joos name / "back in the day."

get your hand outta my pocket universe (morrisp), Tuesday, 4 June 2019 22:53 (five months ago) link

intentional sabotage?

calstars, Wednesday, 5 June 2019 00:06 (five months ago) link

Listening to the promo right now, as it happens.

Lactose Shaolin Wanker (Raymond Cummings), Wednesday, 5 June 2019 00:43 (five months ago) link

That's the board where, late one Friday night around the time of Bright Flight, someone posted David's home phone number. I called it, thinking I could just say I was only trying to alert him to its presence if he was irritated about it, but sure enough he picked up and gave no indication of irritation whatsoever but was in fact totally cheery about it and chatted with me, the lowly internet fanboy, for a good ten minutes, wouldn't let me go even, despite the fact there were all kinds of voices and noises in the background on his end from a party at his house that sounded like it was still going strong.


I mean this era was, according to the article, his “crack” phase

circa1916, Wednesday, 5 June 2019 01:39 (five months ago) link

I mean this era was, according to the article, his “crack” phase

Well sure, that is true, but it was also soon after 9/11, which was everyone everywhere's crack and/or some crack variant phase. Besides, I also got to chat with him after the Asheville show in 2006, with all crack and/or crack variants out of his system, and he was still equally cheery.

del griffith, Wednesday, 5 June 2019 03:07 (five months ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZKMa-ByLBQ

mizzell, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 14:20 (five months ago) link

ok that little thing at the end made me laugh hard

still these videos might be getting a little too real for me

One Eye Open, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 14:36 (five months ago) link

i laughed when he was sweeping something into a dustpan and then looked up at the camera to deliver the back-up vocal

na (NA), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 14:37 (five months ago) link

Lol at the Steve McNair action figure.

Mazzy Tsar (PBKR), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 14:46 (five months ago) link

Kind of a slacker “Ruby (Don’t Take Your Love to Town.”

... (Eazy), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 15:41 (five months ago) link

I didn’t think I would enjoy that but it was great! Stone cold deadpan

calstars, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 16:58 (five months ago) link

not to be all gossip-y but aren't they separated?

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 17:57 (five months ago) link

The ending is funny, but yeah, not sure how to "take" this particular kind of thing.

Theodor Adorno, perhaps the greatest philosopher alive today (morrisp), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 19:54 (five months ago) link

I'm struggling to like these two new tracks.

Duke, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 20:36 (five months ago) link

not to be all gossip-y but aren't they separated?

― Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 19:57

Yes this was one of the revelations from the WaPo interview that saddened me. Maybe not so clear cut

Duke, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 20:38 (five months ago) link

Vish tackles DCB:

http://kreativekontrol.eone.libsynpro.com/ep-481-david-berman

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 14 June 2019 16:16 (five months ago) link

Thanks Al

calstars, Friday, 14 June 2019 16:32 (five months ago) link

Refreshing honesty and openness from David there. Nice to hear an interview free from bullshit

calstars, Friday, 14 June 2019 18:13 (five months ago) link

Yeah its great hearing about his process & approach here

One Eye Open, Friday, 14 June 2019 18:32 (five months ago) link

The “hundred nights” comment was pretty harrowing

calstars, Friday, 14 June 2019 18:53 (five months ago) link

loved the bits about songs as architectural instantiation
and disturbing (?) lack-of-anxiety about musicians coming up behind him

sean gramophone, Friday, 14 June 2019 19:33 (five months ago) link

There were a few moments in that interview that straight choked me up. His candor was really touching.

circa1916, Saturday, 15 June 2019 20:10 (five months ago) link

I like Vish, but sometimes I find him to be a bit of a cringey interviewer. This one worked just right.

circa1916, Saturday, 15 June 2019 20:11 (five months ago) link

Al, thanks much for posting that. Hard to describe the feeling of hearing his voice crack and bend under the emotional weight of what he's talking about, hearing him re-realize and re-resist his own storyline fever as he speaks, I guess. Amazing.

This was a particularly interesting revelation to me:

"I think that Silver Jews was a very burdensome band name. It confused people, or I never made it clear what I meant by it. I think it was wasn't really until the end that I realized what the proper definition of a Silver Jew would be outside of the context of my music, which would be a Jew that's not a Jew, really. It's the outsiders to the outsiders. It really sucks when you're Jewish from patrilineal descent because you get the last name but none of the benefits of being Jewish. So, you get the marker, but as you know, in Judaism, your mother has to be Jewish. And my mother converted before I was born, but it never really took. So, there aren't different kinds of Jews - I mean, there are, there's Sephardic and Ashkenazi - but Judaism's Judaism and there aren't secondary Jews. There aren't partial Jews. So, a Silver Jew isn't a Jew at all, really. But it conveys belatedness in and of my interest in Judaism, which came very late in life. But in the end I felt alienated for precisely those reasons, from fully dissolving myself from Judaism."

del griffith, Sunday, 16 June 2019 01:05 (five months ago) link

This is America goddamnit, and I think people should be free to be secondary Jews if they want to, but what the hell do I know.

del griffith, Sunday, 16 June 2019 01:08 (five months ago) link

"commerce is a purgatory"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BamaU09AdGA

del griffith, Saturday, 29 June 2019 22:20 (four months ago) link

^ song of the year, IMO

Auld Drink of Misery (zchyrs), Wednesday, 10 July 2019 13:54 (four months ago) link

name change totally threw me off - got pretty excited when i realised there's a new Silver Jews lp out in 2 days! I bet a ton of people are the same and don't realise this is a thing...

Hmmmmm (jamiesummerz), Wednesday, 10 July 2019 14:10 (four months ago) link

It's good! His band (Woods) sounds strong, and he hasn't lost the lyrical magic, imo.

alpine static, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 15:24 (four months ago) link

another long, detailed profile, this time in the ringer: https://www.theringer.com/music/2019/7/10/20686306/david-berman-silver-jews-purple-mountains-drag-city

na (NA), Wednesday, 10 July 2019 15:38 (four months ago) link

A few weeks ago I noticed the nine photos on the album cover correspond with the themes of the first nine songs on the album, in sequential order. Track ten, about self-acceptance, can be symbolized by all previous tracks/images together. That kind of thoughtful, subtle attention to detail keeps unfolding with every listen.

del griffith, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 17:12 (four months ago) link

Perpetua ticked off about him poo-pooing Pearl Jam over on Twitter

badg, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 17:16 (four months ago) link

who's Pearl Jam?

oh and re: the chorus of Margaritas at the Mall, I guess the lyrics are actually "magenta, orange, and acid green, peacock blue and burgundy," but I actually prefer my initial interpretation of berberine. After all, there's already red representation with magenta, so it just makes sense to get some yellow in there for a more robust sampling of the frozen beverage spectrum.

del griffith, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 17:20 (four months ago) link

name change totally threw me off - got pretty excited when i realised there's a new Silver Jews lp out in 2 days! I bet a ton of people are the same and don't realise this is a thing...

There seemed to be surprisingly few people listed as Interested/Going on the Facebook event for this show around here, so yeah, I think this is likely flying past people at the moment.

circa1916, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 17:35 (four months ago) link

Perpetua ticked off about him poo-pooing Pearl Jam over on Twitter

followed this guy for years and he never bugged me till the past few months. he thinks he knows all!

alpine static, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 19:48 (four months ago) link

who the hell would ever think Berman would like Pearl Jam?

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 10 July 2019 19:59 (four months ago) link

lol pretty dumb that people got up in arms about that quote — it's just him kinda rambling about old legacy artists who keep going and how critics give them a pass a lot of the time.

If critics were harder on the musicians that they love, there would be better songs. But as they grow older and they lose their talent, critics refuse to let them know that and protect them, and they get to the point where they put out music that just isn’t up to the levels where they’ve already been. It must be very strange to live in the world of Willie Nelson or Bruce Springsteen or Pearl Jam. I don’t know what kind of handle they have on their own loss of talent. Obviously Willie Nelson understands that it’s been forty-five years since anyone’s really cared about any song of his, but I feel like I don’t see very much vocational unhappiness. I heard Springsteen was an unhappy person. I don’t know, I haven’t read his biography. But a lot of people in my field should be a lot more unhappy than they are. They go to press with bullshit.

tylerw, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 20:10 (four months ago) link

it's a good interview though! https://aquariumdrunkard.com/2019/07/08/david-berman-the-aquarium-drunkard-interview/

tylerw, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 20:10 (four months ago) link

Thanks NA
That lying on his back / heroin comment tho

calstars, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 21:00 (four months ago) link

That’s a weird quote — why would any of those artists be unhappy? (Willie Nelson’s awesome, btw)

stan by me (morrisp), Wednesday, 10 July 2019 21:19 (four months ago) link

Others artists enjoy touring and playing music, they don’t hinge their self-worth on critical assessments or album sales, surely he must realize this

stan by me (morrisp), Wednesday, 10 July 2019 21:25 (four months ago) link

I think he realizes that, because no one in their right mind could possibly dislike Willie Nelson regardless of what they know or don't know about anything he's done in the last generation or two. But I get his point all the same. I think he's just trying to be fair about something that no one really needs to be, because that's just the way he is.

del griffith, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 23:08 (four months ago) link

https://americansongwriter.com/2019/07/purple-mountains-any-way-you-hear-it/

another interview, I guess he's holding that 3/4 size guitar mentioned in one of the other ones, with the kitsch that decorates his room in the background?

calstars, Thursday, 11 July 2019 01:42 (four months ago) link

> That’s a weird quote — why would any of those artists be unhappy?

Oh, honey...why assume *anyone* is happy?

john. a resident of evanston. (john. a resident of chicago.), Thursday, 11 July 2019 01:53 (four months ago) link

xp Interesting piece (he disses Bruce in that one too, lol)

stan by me (morrisp), Thursday, 11 July 2019 01:55 (four months ago) link

“Whenever a Bruce Springsteen album comes out, you’re always told it’s a return to form; it never is.”

genuine lol

triggercut, Thursday, 11 July 2019 01:58 (four months ago) link

I’ve really loved his recent interviews, whether I think some comments are otm or not. He’s a guy who spends a lot of time in his head and seems to have no qualms about being totally honest about what’s there. Doesn’t seem to come from a place of bitterness or anything.

circa1916, Thursday, 11 July 2019 02:35 (four months ago) link

That’s a great way to put it. Yeah he’s always really engaging to listen to, even when he’s off the mark. Like critics who I often disagree with but enjoy reading anyway, he seems to come by his opinions pretty honestly & with some thought.

One Eye Open, Thursday, 11 July 2019 03:15 (four months ago) link

This is great. 2019 is turning out pretty good for most of my fave sad lad songwriters. Just need a new Destroyer lp.

Hmmmmm (jamiesummerz), Friday, 12 July 2019 10:35 (four months ago) link

Snow Is Falling in Manhattan + Nights That Won't Happen <3

triggercut, Friday, 12 July 2019 10:47 (four months ago) link

The backing vocals/melodies all across this thing are so nice.

triggercut, Friday, 12 July 2019 10:52 (four months ago) link

i'm not sure the rest of the album lives up to the singles but it's a good listen overall

na (NA), Friday, 12 July 2019 14:44 (four months ago) link

like this album a great deal

Guardian review of it today states confidently that 'Storyline Fever' is about Trump which unless I've missed an explanation to that effect seems wildly speculative?

wot's the tea mum? (not beef again) (DJ Mencap), Friday, 12 July 2019 14:45 (four months ago) link

I spose it is, in as much as it's about publishing and consuming your own fake news

del griffith, Friday, 12 July 2019 17:43 (four months ago) link

man, between sites and writers posting their reviews and Drag City retweeting, my twitter feed is all Berman today

alpine static, Friday, 12 July 2019 18:34 (four months ago) link

Was hoping that sonically this would sound a bit more Woods-y. It's hard to figure out what they brought to this tbh.

Position Position, Friday, 12 July 2019 22:03 (four months ago) link

This is a DB record, not a collaboration. They sound fine in the background. If the Bejar stuff had worked out I’m sure it would have been a different story.

calstars, Friday, 12 July 2019 22:05 (four months ago) link

They've probably given him his most accessible album. It's easy to imagine it arranged like an earlier Silver Jews album

PaulTMA, Friday, 12 July 2019 22:24 (four months ago) link

kind of choked it didn't work out with bejar tbh

bookmarkflaglink (jim in vancouver), Friday, 12 July 2019 22:31 (four months ago) link

I can’t stand Bejar’s voice but I’d pay to hear syntho DB

calstars, Friday, 12 July 2019 22:42 (four months ago) link

Was hoping that sonically this would sound a bit more Woods-y. It's hard to figure out what they brought to this tbh.


they played the music, which is a pretty big part of the record

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 12 July 2019 22:49 (four months ago) link

xp bejar can't stand your voice buddy

bookmarkflaglink (jim in vancouver), Friday, 12 July 2019 22:51 (four months ago) link

xp sure, but I was hoping they would bring something that sounded a bit more like them. As it is, it's hard to see why it would be them and not some other dudes. No big deal. There are plenty of great Woods records out there.

Position Position, Friday, 12 July 2019 23:40 (four months ago) link

Don't know this band. What are good Woods records?

kraudive, Friday, 12 July 2019 23:44 (four months ago) link

Jarvis and Jeremy from Woods brought all the cool guitar parts, all the cool drum parts, all the cool bass parts, all the gorgeous steel guitar parts, all the cool organ textures, the harmonica in Darkness and Cold, the lonesome cowboy falsetto cry in Darkness and Cold, the tranquil horn parts in Snow is Falling in Manhattan, the rousing horn parts in Margaritas at the Mall, the little bit of what I guess you could call "funkiness" in Storyline Fever. They brought everything but David's voice, words, and I guess the chords to the songs. They brought a lot, but still, to focus on just the sound of the record itself is really missing the point when it comes to what I believe is the most thoughtful, most beautiful, most cohesive collection of songs David's ever made.

I mean: "how we stand the standard distance distant strangers stand apart" - are you even kidding me? The fella done outdone himself! And that's not even close to being the best line on the album.

del griffith, Saturday, 13 July 2019 00:07 (four months ago) link

What are good Woods records?

City Sun Eater in the River of Light does the job for me

del griffith, Saturday, 13 July 2019 00:08 (four months ago) link

this record would be just as good if it was just D and his guitar.

calstars, Saturday, 13 July 2019 01:17 (four months ago) link

diggin this a lot. that last joos record was kind of a let down and i was (initially) pretty indifferent to Tanglewood #s. came around on that one though.

A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Chooglin (will), Saturday, 13 July 2019 01:24 (four months ago) link

this record would be just as good if it was just D and his guitar.

Eh, I dunno about that. He could've done that if he wanted to, but what's the point? He's my favorite songwriter because of the lyrics, but he's also one of my favorite artists because he's always been so willing to partner with musician friends who are more proficient at their instruments than he is. Like so many others, I only got into him because I became a disciple of Malkmus's style in the late nineties, and then when I eventually found out about how Malkmus had played on this kickass collaboration with an old friend who so clearly eclipsed him lyrically, called American Water, I was blown away. Most all of the Silver Jews recordings, save for a stripped-down singer-and-his-guitar track here and there ("Death of an Heir of Sorrows," and basically "Pretty Eyes"), have been about partnerships with likeminded individuals who were happy to set the physical setting for the words to live in, and that's what's built his cult, so why mess with a winning formula?

del griffith, Saturday, 13 July 2019 02:26 (four months ago) link

hey man I hear you
I mean there may be some nice instrumental passages - that jam on American water for instance - but I thinks he’s a writer

calstars, Saturday, 13 July 2019 02:30 (four months ago) link

he is! you're not wrong. and Woods are players. and when writers meet players, baby that's a fruitful marriage

del griffith, Saturday, 13 July 2019 02:34 (four months ago) link

lol
sometimes maybe

calstars, Saturday, 13 July 2019 02:36 (four months ago) link

I think the Woods guys brought *a lot* to this record, both in terms of ideas and in really solid performance. the music sounds more substantive / less secondary here than on any of the Joooooos records.

alpine static, Saturday, 13 July 2019 04:58 (four months ago) link

which is not to say that Berman didn't bring a lot. lyrics are amazing, and his singing is relatively strong.

alpine static, Saturday, 13 July 2019 04:59 (four months ago) link

Finally gripped my copy of this yesterday and after spinning it 1.5 times I can tell I’m gonna be listening to it all summer, really really digging it

One Eye Open, Saturday, 13 July 2019 15:02 (four months ago) link

This is the saddest record to make me feel really happy

circa1916, Saturday, 13 July 2019 15:11 (four months ago) link

Like a jubilant embrace of the abyss

circa1916, Saturday, 13 July 2019 15:12 (four months ago) link

nah, he's just playing chicken with oblivion

calstars, Saturday, 13 July 2019 15:19 (four months ago) link

This is so fucking good. Musically, it picks up all the best ideas from latter-day Joos (Bright Flight onward), but I feel like the music is doing *so much more* of the heavy lifting than on any of those albums; and the extra space that creates allows Berman's beautifully turned words to land with that much more force.

Or, in a nutshell, this:

Snow Is Falling in Manhattan + Nights That Won't Happen <3

― triggercut, Friday, 12 July 2019 10:47 (yesterday) link


...which is totally not what I expected to feel about the album before my first listen! Berman's done excellent longer songs before, but usually they're like these Dylanesque shaggy dog stories in simple strophic forms where the fun is in hearing him pile up unlikely lyrical inventions, verse after verse after verse. These have none of that manic "San Francisco B.C." energy; they tap into a warm place of simple human connection that he's visited briefly before (e.g. "I'm Getting Back Into Getting Back Into You") and then they just..... linger there. And it's utterly captivating!

Keep poltiics OUT of Dancing!!!! (bernard snowy), Saturday, 13 July 2019 15:27 (four months ago) link

Also I love how "Margaritas at the Mall" takes the apocalyptic dread vibes of "Time Will Break the World"/"My Pillow is the Threshold" and balances them out with an honest-to-goodness chorus

Keep poltiics OUT of Dancing!!!! (bernard snowy), Saturday, 13 July 2019 15:37 (four months ago) link

You nailed it re: "Margaritas at the Mall." He definitely is channeling the same existential frustration that he did in "Time Will Break the World," but with so much more backbone this time. That song always felt overly lugubrious to me, like trying to hang out with a goth kid in high school who you knew deep down meant well but honestly you were embarrassed to be seen around. "Margaritas at the Mall" at least looks you in the eye when it talks.

I'd disagree that the record is a "jubilant embrace of the abyss." If he'd laid around for another few years further dissolving into stasis and not working on a project, that'd be embracing the abyss. If he'd done nothing with additional chemical assistance, that'd be more chicken with oblivion. This record is him actively resisting the abyss, kind of like what he was going for on Tanglewood Numbers and Lookout Mountain, but without the giddy cutesiness that kinda irked me, and a lot more of the heartfelt twists that drew me in in the first place. This is a proper example of what you get when artists take a generously long time to think about what they want to say before they say it.

del griffith, Saturday, 13 July 2019 16:19 (four months ago) link

the virtues of getting banned from websites for trolling (which he admits happened to him)

the Heart of a Poster

A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Chooglin (will), Saturday, 13 July 2019 16:48 (four months ago) link

Apropos of the abortive Bejar collaboration (mentioned in one of the interview pieces linked upthread), it strikes me that "Snow is Falling in Manhattan" would be right at home in the soundscape of Destroyer's Rubies

Keep poltiics OUT of Dancing!!!! (bernard snowy), Sunday, 14 July 2019 00:51 (four months ago) link

Man I always kinda disliked Destroyer/Bejar but maybe it’s time to re-evaluate.

circa1916, Sunday, 14 July 2019 02:48 (four months ago) link

he's doing a Reddit AMA in a few hours if anyone wants to ask him if he really stuck his dick in an anthill

del griffith, Monday, 15 July 2019 18:44 (four months ago) link

dg, could you please post the link when it goes live?

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Monday, 15 July 2019 19:20 (four months ago) link

"snow in falling in manhattan" is easily my least favorite song on here. i do think the woods dudes bring a lot of nice elements and playing to this album though.

na (NA), Monday, 15 July 2019 19:25 (four months ago) link

dg, could you please post the link when it goes live?

would if I could! I don't Reddit, personally, all I know is this:

pic.twitter.com/CpSy9etToe

— Silver Jews (@silverjews) July 15, 2019


and this:
https://www.reddit.com/r/indieheads/comments/ccdwtp/ama_announcement_purple_mountains_david_berman_on/

del griffith, Monday, 15 July 2019 19:29 (four months ago) link

re: last time he jammed w/ Malkmus

in the studio in Vancouver.

Everyone else in the building was enjoying what a fun, funny guy he is; so I couldn't get him to concentrate. Plus the family back home is a constant pull.

But we have plans to co-write an album in Albania. That's a far enough awayplace no one will laugh at his jokes and we will get some work done.

lol

alpine static, Tuesday, 16 July 2019 00:46 (four months ago) link

and he'll get him to smoke some pot again!

del griffith, Tuesday, 16 July 2019 00:52 (four months ago) link

Love the idea of Berman playing the stern teacher to Malkmus’ talented but distracting class clown.

triggercut, Tuesday, 16 July 2019 01:23 (four months ago) link

the pot thing was good, but i especially love Berman being annoyed that SM was making everyone laugh and love him. so good.

alpine static, Tuesday, 16 July 2019 01:29 (four months ago) link

he didn't express annoyance, mind you. i'm reading into it.

alpine static, Tuesday, 16 July 2019 01:29 (four months ago) link

here we go:

I mean this genuinely; without the contempt of critics like you, i would never have
the fight in me to live. thank you. https://t.co/22MODoE1OJ

— purple mountains (@prplmtns) July 15, 2019

alpine static, Tuesday, 16 July 2019 01:34 (four months ago) link

of all the interesting things DCB has said in these recent interviews, the one that stands out to me is that it was a middling P4k review that - at least in large enough part to mention 10 years later - drove him away from music.

alpine static, Tuesday, 16 July 2019 01:35 (four months ago) link

Wow, just when you thought you could not have any less respect for Pitchfork...

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 16 July 2019 02:20 (four months ago) link

Tbh I'm more impressed when people notice bad reviews and move swiftly on, like Will Sheff did - a brief mention in a single lyric, just enough to register offense, then onto more interesting subjects.

Simon H., Tuesday, 16 July 2019 02:57 (four months ago) link

I’m not necessarily impressed by that but I get it, and n some level. Middling reviews can be more discouraging than a fully negative review, sometimes.

One Eye Open, Tuesday, 16 July 2019 03:14 (four months ago) link

I know at least one other musician of Berman’s Stature who stopped after the self-consciousness following a middling Pitchfork review.

Anyway, I’m probably completely off-base, but I had picture: “Snow is Falling in Manhattan” as being about Berman showing up busted in NYC and crashing on Malkmus’s couch.

... (Eazy), Tuesday, 16 July 2019 03:27 (four months ago) link

getting mad about a bad review of your music is a good sign that maybe you should do something else

brimstead, Tuesday, 16 July 2019 03:32 (four months ago) link

Not getting mad so much as getting hurt, especially if it’s psychoanalyzing the musician and not the music.

... (Eazy), Tuesday, 16 July 2019 03:36 (four months ago) link

xpost? why would artists be able to separate themselves from criticism? everyone gets upset about being criticized in all kinds of work

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 16 July 2019 03:39 (four months ago) link

Tbh I'm more impressed when people notice bad reviews and move swiftly on, like Will Sheff did - a brief mention in a single lyric, just enough to register offense, then onto more interesting subjects.

uh, I don't know who Will Sheff is, but I'm more impressed by any artist who doesn't mention any of their album reviews in their lyrics.

I wonder how many clicks per week pitchfork would lose if they did away with patronizing aspies by summarizing works of art on a numerical scale.

del griffith, Tuesday, 16 July 2019 04:27 (four months ago) link

I question my fellow artists desire to read other what other people write about them. I’m not sure how useful reading it is. Maybe I’m underestimating to what extent most musicians are lacking confidence in their work. I don’t know how it’s the same as being criticized for doing shitty work at my office job.

brimstead, Tuesday, 16 July 2019 04:40 (four months ago) link

I guess it’s impossible to avoid if you’re serious these days, with having to be hella online and all

brimstead, Tuesday, 16 July 2019 04:41 (four months ago) link

Been digging Storyline Fever over the last few days. The guitar riff that gets repeated throughout sounds a little New Order-ish.

triggercut, Saturday, 20 July 2019 00:16 (three months ago) link

All My Happiness has a Joy Division-like flavour to it. The bass and the synth

Duke, Saturday, 20 July 2019 14:48 (three months ago) link

most people lack confidence and don't like being criticized, musicians are the same as anyone else

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, 20 July 2019 14:56 (three months ago) link

A comedian I follow sometimes talks about he avoids reading online commentary, because even one negative comment (in a sea of praise) will stick out like a sore thumb — and that’s what he’ll focus on: “Why didn’t that one guy like the show, what’s his problem?” etc.

Comedians, as a group, may be even more thin-skinned than musicians... but I am surprised whenever I learn that an artist (of any kind) reads reviews of their stuff. I don’t even get why so many of them use social media at all (especially for those who don’t need to use it for promotional purposes).

the last Berry La Croix in the work fridge (morrisp), Saturday, 20 July 2019 15:47 (three months ago) link

I am surprised whenever I learn that an artist (of any kind) reads reviews of their stuff. I don’t even get why so many of them use social media at all (especially for those who don’t need to use it for promotional purposes).

I'm just a simple, hard-working philistine who doesn't claim to understand the high-falutin', artsy-fartsy ways of the creative class, but I suspect the main reason that an Artist might be interested to know how someone has interpreted their Art is because Artists, as a group, are mentally ill. This psychological abnormality leads the Artist to believe they are merely ordinary people like you and me, people who are typically interested in sharing their thoughts with other human beings as part of their daily lifestyle.

However, reasonable people of sound mind, such as ourselves, know better. We understand it is more appropriate that the Artist remain cloistered within an airtight bubble of solipsistic purity. There, safe from the contaminating influence of Pitchfork, SPIN, and the various social medias, the Artist must solemnly respect their self-imposed restriction on engagement with the community of Regulars, a community by which they are surrounded, but of whom they are not a part. Only in this way may the Artist's uniquely sensitive impulses be incubated and nourished.

As a result of this sacred sacrifice, we the Art-consumers are guaranteed an eternal wellspring of musical delights borne from the fractured genius of our irregular friends, the Artists. Without it, we would risk a future devoid of the "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere"s, "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy"s, or the "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk"s that enrich our lives and give them meaning.

del griffith, Saturday, 20 July 2019 20:29 (three months ago) link

I’m sorry, there seems to be a thick haze of sarcasm obscuring the point you’re trying to make.

the last Berry La Croix in the work fridge (morrisp), Saturday, 20 July 2019 20:48 (three months ago) link

I think my Pavement buddy is very disappointed he just had to alert me this was David Berman and not a new psych folk bore band. I listened to All My Happiness Is Gone and was meh on it until it turned into a Camera Obscura song. Silver Jews was the show in nyc that broke me on being over going to shows in nyc. They had the absolute worst audience.

Yerac, Saturday, 20 July 2019 21:28 (three months ago) link

As an artist I go to extraordinary lengths to avoid seeing any reviews or criticism of what I do, and what I do is probably less than 1% as personal & soul-exposing as the average Silver Jews record, I can absolutely see how a bad or lukewarm review could throw his system out of whack

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Saturday, 20 July 2019 21:37 (three months ago) link

As an artist I go to extraordinary lengths to avoid seeing any reviews or criticism of what I do

But do you share your art with your friends and family? Wouldn't their opinion mean more to you than that of someone you don't know personally? If your art is more than a commodity to you, then why would you care about the opinion of someone who treats it as such?

del griffith, Saturday, 20 July 2019 22:24 (three months ago) link

this is such an absurd conversation, musicians and artists are just people.

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, 20 July 2019 22:46 (three months ago) link

Regardless of everything else on the subject, I was still bummed out to read that Berman was so negatively affected by that review. Perhaps it's easy to not immediately understand why this gifted lyricist of his stature would have his confidence knocked so hard

PaulTMA, Saturday, 20 July 2019 22:52 (three months ago) link

But do you share your art with your friends and family? Wouldn't their opinion mean more to you than that of someone you don't know personally? If your art is more than a commodity to you, then why would you care about the opinion of someone who treats it as such?

― del griffith, Saturday, July 20, 2019 6:24 PM (one hour ago) bookmarkflaglink

Friends and family are typically not very reliable critics, so their opinions can't always be trusted. Of course your boyfriend thinks you make the best techno; of course your mom thinks your songs are as good as Bob Dylan's. Putting your work out into the world allows you--for better or worse--a relatively more accurate read on your talents. I'm not an artist but I imagine it's similar to the reasons I choose to see a therapist rather than just meeting a friend for a drink to discuss the same things.

Paul Ponzi, Saturday, 20 July 2019 23:41 (three months ago) link

Is this the Pfork review in question?: https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/11916-lookout-mountain-lookout-sea/

the last Berry La Croix in the work fridge (morrisp), Saturday, 20 July 2019 23:42 (three months ago) link

That review, in retrospect, doesn't seem especially harsh to me

Paul Ponzi, Saturday, 20 July 2019 23:46 (three months ago) link

Friends and family are typically not very reliable critics, so their opinions can't always be trusted. Putting your work out into the world allows you--for better or worse--a relatively more accurate read on your talents.

OK maybe not family necessarily, but you choose your friends, and if you're choosing friends whose critical standards are wildly different from your own, well then you've really only got yourself to blame if you're not getting from them the meaningful feedback you're seeking. And to another point, I don't know that artists are necessarily seeking an analytical/critical judgement so much as they're seeking to merely share their thoughts, to be heard, understood, and appreciated in the same insightful and empathetic way that they do for others. At least that's how I like "my" artists to think, and I like to think David is one of "mine."

this is such an absurd conversation, musicians and artists are just people.

I agree with the second part of this statement!

del griffith, Sunday, 21 July 2019 00:28 (three months ago) link

Euuuuuuuugggghhhhhhhhh ok I was harsh upthread, really just speaking for myself as I just couldn’t imagine getting miffed in the slightest about some writing by a stranger (sorry more glib). let alone proactively seeking out random negative criticism to help me “improve” my craft or serve as therapeutic in some way... my music is just so fucking personal to me... but I mean, I make instrumental music for my own high standards of listening pleasure and I’m never really in doubt as to whether or not I’m enjoying or not enjoying something I’ve made/am currently working on. Yeah it’s different for music with lyrics and stuff. Maybe some people are just drawn to searching bad stuff out. I know I sound totally crazy and childish, sorry, bye :-(

brimstead, Sunday, 21 July 2019 00:35 (three months ago) link

I’m 12 years old btw

brimstead, Sunday, 21 July 2019 00:36 (three months ago) link

That review, in retrospect, doesn't seem especially harsh to me

It's not. This whole thing has really been blown out of proportion. If I recall correctly, he merely stated in an interview that he had made his best effort for that album and then it just kind of received a middling review. So what! People are allowed to read their own review, feel that what they've created hasn't been fully appreciated, and then not get called a primadonna for offhandedly mentioning it in an interview. If he'd further internalized it and called his next album Pitchshit Mountain, Pissfork Pee, then yeah that might signal some ego issues.

del griffith, Sunday, 21 July 2019 00:42 (three months ago) link

Uh, no, he didn't just say that he made his best effort and that it received a middling review. He said:

"It got a really average rating on Pitchfork, 6.7, and that really burned me for a long time. I really felt like, wow, I really tried as hard as I could and I really got the message back that maybe I had peaked. And so I decided to walk away from it."

I would say a review being the reason (or the final straw) for David Berman walking away from music for a decade is a pretty big deal! I don't think we've blown it out of proportion. (I also don't at all think he's a prima donna for mentioning it.)

alpine static, Sunday, 21 July 2019 01:07 (three months ago) link

I mean everyone who's been in a band there's this sort of feeling that creeps in after awhile why the fuck are we bothering with this?

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Sunday, 21 July 2019 01:25 (three months ago) link

I would say a review being the reason (or the final straw) for David Berman walking away from music for a decade is a pretty big deal! I don't think we've blown it out of proportion.

Alright, well, by all means then, keep talking about it until it's in the proper proportion you want it to be?

del griffith, Sunday, 21 July 2019 01:49 (three months ago) link

You guys aren’t going to believe this, but I was just out walking and heard a guy whistling that little melody from “Living Waters.”

the last Berry La Croix in the work fridge (morrisp), Sunday, 21 July 2019 01:56 (three months ago) link

The review isn't THAT harsh, but I feel like it's off the mark, kind of just makes it seem like a poorly produced, half-hearted mediocre collection of songs, when it's way better than that. I love the Nashville-sounding production, and pretty much all the songs are at least really good to great. Suffering Jukebox, San Francisco BC and Party Barge are all-time-great Joos songs in my books.

I do remember not loving it that much when it came out, but I think the record has aged really well, and is way better than most of the stuff Pitchfork hyped in 2008. Sorry, The Mae Shi.

triggercut, Sunday, 21 July 2019 03:14 (three months ago) link

Not sure this is the case, but if you tell someone who has cleaned up their act that their new music is half-assed...

... (Eazy), Sunday, 21 July 2019 04:38 (three months ago) link

I think Berman's reaction makes more sense if you remember just how bad Pitchfork and the media ecosystem that had developed around it were by 2008. Their ability to make or break indie acts with a single review was at an all-time high, but the level of actual engagement with the music in those reviews had ebbed. Dan Bejar registers this same phenomenon in his weird "Grief Point" monologue, speaking about an album that came out the same year as Lookout Mountain and received a similarly lazy and disinterested, pro forma good review from PF:

The message from the critical reception of [Trouble in] Dreams was quite clear: We will not be listening to you any further.

Keep poltiics OUT of Dancing!!!! (bernard snowy), Sunday, 21 July 2019 10:52 (three months ago) link

(Btw I just looked up the Pitchfork review of that Destroyer record and it's truly pathetic, just a bunch of indie rock horse-trading and market analysis. The reviewer wastes multiple paragraphs drawing parallels between Bejar's career arc and Guided By Voices, a band that his band sounds nothing like, a band that at that point had been broken up for 4 or 5 years. The concluding paragraph tells us "I caught only one pun, two snippets of others' famous lyrics, and two references to other bands" but I guess the writer+editor thought readers of this review would be more interested in William Bowers's parodies of GbV song titles than in knowing, e.g., that one of those famous lyrics is Crystal Waters' "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)". I could go on, I won't.

Keep poltiics OUT of Dancing!!!! (bernard snowy), Sunday, 21 July 2019 11:16 (three months ago) link

I was talking to one of the screenwriters of Top Gun 2 after its Comic-Con panel last weekend. Turns out the guy is a big Purple Mountains fan, believe it or not. He told me he managed to work in a last-minute line for Aging Maverick to say: "I feel the need... the need to speed into the lead suddenly decline."

Anyway, this album is basically unruinable for me, and that's good, because otherwise the sound of that third line being snuck into "Nights That Won't Happen" as an obvious last-minute overdub might've just shot the whole thing down for me like a MiG over the Indian Ocean.

del griffith, Thursday, 25 July 2019 19:13 (three months ago) link

How does PM come up in conversation with an action movie screenwriter?

calstars, Thursday, 25 July 2019 19:24 (three months ago) link

Easy, it's all I talk about anymore. Also, he writes rom-coms too.

del griffith, Thursday, 25 July 2019 19:33 (three months ago) link

Was listening to the album on headphones in a small shop then took them off to hear 'Darkness And Cold' playing on their speakers. Felt nice, can't say that has ever happened before, strange for it to be a Berman-related experience

PaulTMA, Thursday, 25 July 2019 19:36 (three months ago) link

Paul, you're gonna wanna register that here, I think.

Obscure Singles Heard at CVS

I know "Darkness and Cold" is the single with the video starring Steve McNair, but I hadn't picked up on the "first and goal" football reference in "All My Happiness is Gone" until someone pointed it out to me this morning.

Fittingly, I'm very proud of myself for being the only one I know so far to have discovered the lil reference to Starlite Walker in "Maybe I'm the Only One for Me."

del griffith, Thursday, 25 July 2019 19:59 (three months ago) link

I wonder how many clicks per week pitchfork would lose if they did away with patronizing aspies by summarizing works of art on a numerical scale.

please don' talk like this on this board or elsewhere. instead, choose not to be an asshole. thanks.

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Thursday, 25 July 2019 20:07 (three months ago) link

You're right that I shouldn't have used the a-word there, but I do think numerical ratings does a great disservice to the written language. Which is kind of the whole point of a review.

del griffith, Thursday, 25 July 2019 20:09 (three months ago) link

Excuse me, do! Do a great disservice to it. Heh

del griffith, Thursday, 25 July 2019 20:10 (three months ago) link

I agree with you on that point massively actually, I think numerical ratings as a default did irreparable damage to music criticism

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Thursday, 25 July 2019 20:11 (three months ago) link

i give this album 5 bag of popcorn

bookmarkflaglink (jim in vancouver), Thursday, 25 July 2019 20:12 (three months ago) link

and a grape Fanta

del griffith, Thursday, 25 July 2019 20:20 (three months ago) link

Anyway, this album is basically unruinable for me, and that's good, because otherwise the sound of that third line being snuck into "Nights That Won't Happen" as an obvious last-minute overdub might've just shot the whole thing down for me like a MiG over the Indian Ocean.

― del griffith, Thursday, 25 July 2019 21:13

I hadn't noticed that. Now I'll hear it every time. Thanks for ruining this album for me forever (joke)

Duke, Thursday, 25 July 2019 20:30 (three months ago) link

DB albums have always had weird, obvious overdubs. Which is why I find it so strange he left the weak go of the first line of the album.

I agree it's great though.

kraudive, Thursday, 25 July 2019 21:34 (three months ago) link

Fittingly, I'm very proud of myself for being the only one I know so far to have discovered the lil reference to Starlite Walker in "Maybe I'm the Only One for Me."

Hadn't caught that, thanks for pointing it out! I'm a little surprised I haven't seen anyone note how Snow Is Falling in Manhattan is kind of an extension of "We're trapped inside the song."

Anyway I love this album and I'd say the first five tracks are a perfect album side.

Vaguely Threatening CAPTCHAs, Thursday, 25 July 2019 21:41 (three months ago) link

Finally listened to this in full... I dig it (natch), and can also see why he used a different moniker this time around; somehow it doesn't feel like a Joos record.

the last Berry La Croix in the work fridge (morrisp), Thursday, 25 July 2019 22:03 (three months ago) link

Holy fuck.

Just heard from Peyton Pinkerton. I wish it was a sick joke. Our friend David Berman has committed suicide. Devastated beyond words.

— Joe Pernice (@JPernicious) August 7, 2019

self-clowning oven (Murgatroid), Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:01 (three months ago) link

GODDAMN.

We couldn't be more sorry to tell you this. David Berman passed away earlier today. A great friend and one of the most inspiring individuals we've ever known is gone. Rest easy, David. pic.twitter.com/5n5bctcu4j

— 𝕯𝖗𝖆𝖌 𝕮𝖎𝖙𝖞 (@dragcityrecords) August 7, 2019

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:01 (three months ago) link

fuck, awful news

bookmarkflaglink (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:07 (three months ago) link

oh no.... goddamn it. what a talent

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:13 (three months ago) link

Fucking hell. RIP

Simon H., Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:15 (three months ago) link

what the fucking goddamn fuck

jakey mo collier (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:19 (three months ago) link

Aw man

The World According To.... (Michael B), Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:21 (three months ago) link

:(

Thus Spoke Darraghustra (Oor Neechy), Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:27 (three months ago) link

oh fuck

JoeStork, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:32 (three months ago) link

Oh no

calstars, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:33 (three months ago) link

Rest in peace, few as great as him. Felt something so friendly and warm in his voice and words.

Van Horn Street, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:36 (three months ago) link

I was just introducing a friend to his work and life story yesterday. He'll be spoken of long, long after many of his contemporaries are forgotten.

Simon H., Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:46 (three months ago) link

Damn.

☮ (peace, man), Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:50 (three months ago) link

wasn't a huge fan but this is such a punch in the stomach after reading a fair amount of the press about this album and the last few years of his life

call all destroyer, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:51 (three months ago) link

Just.... man.

Lactose Shaolin Wanker (Raymond Cummings), Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:52 (three months ago) link

“Nights That Won’t Happen,” christ

JoeStork, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:52 (three months ago) link

Actual Air is a legit great collection of poetry, and it unlocked Berman's catalog for me -- the only artist in my personal history who's ever done so.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:53 (three months ago) link

terrible news

life is brutal

The Ravishing of ROFL Stein (Hadrian VIII), Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:54 (three months ago) link

Thinking now of his friends, family, bandmates, and how they must be coping or trying to process this.

Lactose Shaolin Wanker (Raymond Cummings), Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:54 (three months ago) link

ugh been thinking so much about him the last few months as well, this is awful awful news

Clay, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 23:56 (three months ago) link

Wow

husserl gang (rip van wanko), Thursday, 8 August 2019 00:13 (three months ago) link

This is a total fucking crusher

circa1916, Thursday, 8 August 2019 00:14 (three months ago) link

Dammit.

Mazzy Tsar (PBKR), Thursday, 8 August 2019 00:21 (three months ago) link

Awful news. RIP DCB

badg, Thursday, 8 August 2019 00:23 (three months ago) link

ughyh

ciderpress, Thursday, 8 August 2019 00:27 (three months ago) link

Horrifying
I have no words.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 8 August 2019 00:42 (three months ago) link

oof

gbx, Thursday, 8 August 2019 00:44 (three months ago) link

wasn't a huge fan but this is such a punch in the stomach after reading a fair amount of the press about this album and the last few years of his life

― call all destroyer, Wednesday, August 7, 2019 7:51 PM (fifty-six minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

Me too.
Not many songs better than "Random Rules"

flappy bird, Thursday, 8 August 2019 00:49 (three months ago) link

yes

Dan S, Thursday, 8 August 2019 00:50 (three months ago) link

horrible

cheese canopy (map), Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:03 (three months ago) link

fucking hell man. RIP.

, Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:09 (three months ago) link

with touring scheduled to start next week, it almost feels like he wanted to prove once more that he could still do it before he decided to travel on

alpine static, Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:10 (three months ago) link

I want to post lyrics but there’s just too many

badg, Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:15 (three months ago) link

If it is a suicide, I don’t think I’m strong enough to re-listen to his records.

Van Horn Street, Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:17 (three months ago) link

SM posted this a few hours before the news broke:

I’m not up on astrology/cosmic slop —is there something up ??

cuz a lot of xxxtra bad stuff is happening to friends and also in the 🌎 #hippytwitter

— Stephen malkmus (@dronecoma) August 7, 2019

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:29 (three months ago) link

Xp yeah same. The new record seemed, if not hopeful, at least comforting in a way. I was looking forward to spending the rest of the summer with it, gradually finding its hidden doors and exploring its secret rooms. Unbelievably sad.

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:34 (three months ago) link

this AMA was just a few weeks ago:

https://www.reddit.com/r/indieheads/comments/cdjakw/purple_mountains_ama/

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:35 (three months ago) link

Wow. This is so sad. :( I’d really only become familiar with him over the past few months due to this recent release and the surrounding press. He seemed like a very special person. RIP.

Vape Store (crüt), Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:35 (three months ago) link

This fucking sucks

Heez, Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:35 (three months ago) link

man this is sad. honestly I haven't listened to silver jews in years and years and years and hadn't even gotten around to hearing the new album. Despair is a real thing.

akm, Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:36 (three months ago) link

"HEADSTONE:

HE WAS CRESTFALLEN UNTIL HE WAS ABLE TO RATIONALIZE IT AS A GREAT MISTAKE"

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:37 (three months ago) link

too horrible to even deal with

american bradass (BradNelson), Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:37 (three months ago) link

The new album seemed to be about getting old. And this seems vulgar, but they’d just added a date in LA. So right now it’s just a shock for me. Fuuuuuuuck.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:42 (three months ago) link

"On the last day of your life, don’t forget to die..."

made me take the record off the turntable. I'm not sure I can listen to these records for a while.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:43 (three months ago) link

"...something's added to the air, forever"

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:44 (three months ago) link

idk

the ringer interview linked above basically suggested that he was living in absolute hell

mookieproof, Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:45 (three months ago) link

in an interview a few months ago he said about the album (paraphrasing here) "it's not a cry for help, but something more like my way of offering what help I can."

I understood.

del griffith, Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:50 (three months ago) link

i just dug out my old CD of American Water, i couldn't make it through the album and had to turn it off.

Bee OK, Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:52 (three months ago) link

this is very sad. actual air is the only book of poetry i've ever given as a gift. Loved this man's words amd music.

triple-washed (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:54 (three months ago) link

it's hard for me to imagine how deeply people must experience depression

Dan S, Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:56 (three months ago) link

Reading that reddit thread and imagining the depth of pain that can’t be eased by such an outpouring of gratitude and affirmation and love.

Some darknesses for some people are just indelible, and exhausting.

The Ravishing of ROFL Stein (Hadrian VIII), Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:56 (three months ago) link

I didn’t know about my friend DCB when I wrote this must have been in the air .His death is fucking dark ..depression is crippling.. he was a one of a kinder the songs he wrote were his main passion esp at the end. Hope death equals peace cuz he could sure use it

— Stephen malkmus (@dronecoma) August 8, 2019

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:57 (three months ago) link

fuuuck man it seemed so cool that he was getting out there again in such an auspicious fashion. going to miss the absolute hell out of this guy

A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Chooglin (will), Thursday, 8 August 2019 02:02 (three months ago) link

Many good and kind words here.

https://pitchfork.com/news/david-berman-remembered-by-silver-jews-collaborator-bob-nastanovich-deerhunter-more/

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 8 August 2019 02:07 (three months ago) link

Who knows, but I can only imagine the complete change of daily habits that go with dozens of profiles coming out about your life and your work, getting it right or not, plus everything that goes into starting a tour for the first time in forever. So much pressure and just being out in the world, even with stellar reviews and shows sold out (I had two tix for them in Chicago).

... (Eazy), Thursday, 8 August 2019 02:36 (three months ago) link

Huh, and related to that, just saw this quoted (by Howe Gelb on Instagram) from a 2006 Pfork Berman interview:

He talked to Pitchfork about his stance on performing in 2005, “I believe that intermittent live performance has cut short the writing lives of touring musicians. If you are making an argument with history you don’t waste your energy and brain cells on sales, publicity, relentless travel, and other adjoining tasks. The less my body moves, the more energy my brain has to write.”

... (Eazy), Thursday, 8 August 2019 02:46 (three months ago) link

*2005 interview

... (Eazy), Thursday, 8 August 2019 02:49 (three months ago) link

I wonder if he reached out to, or reconciled with, his dad in some way before the end. I can’t help but think about his dad losing his son.

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Thursday, 8 August 2019 03:34 (three months ago) link

oh no, just seen this. that’s terrible. fuck. all those wonderful lyrics.

Fizzles, Thursday, 8 August 2019 03:50 (three months ago) link

goddam it’s so sad.

Fizzles, Thursday, 8 August 2019 03:54 (three months ago) link

This is a tough one. Sometimes as I get older I feel an impulse to accept people's suicides, like "Maybe it's ok if someone doesn't want to be alive anymore." But when someone who continued to write so beautifully until the end somehow "doesn't want to be alive anymore" it's especially hard to accept and leaves me at a loss. I guess he suffered a lot and the suffering wouldn't end for him, and nothing about writing beautifully changed that.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Thursday, 8 August 2019 04:13 (three months ago) link

Heartbroken pic.twitter.com/DuEmHrd1l4

— 3 Songs Podcast (@3songspod) August 8, 2019

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 8 August 2019 04:43 (three months ago) link

i rewatched the Slow Century the other night, on a lark. it's all on YouTube.

Berman's in the background of all that old footage.

also, Bob is just the best.

Bob, DCB and SM forevah

alpine static, Thursday, 8 August 2019 05:04 (three months ago) link

This is devastating

flamboyant goon tie included, Thursday, 8 August 2019 05:49 (three months ago) link

Beneath the bitching and the bickering
When I try to drown my thoughts in gin
I find my worst ideas know how to swim

RIP David Berman.

Karl Malone, Thursday, 8 August 2019 06:02 (three months ago) link

this is bad :(

i felt like with this new Purple Mountains album he was on his way to become 'our' Leonard Cohen.

Ludo, Thursday, 8 August 2019 06:29 (three months ago) link

It is a certain hill
the one I imagine when I hear the word "hill"
and if the apocalypse turns out
to be a world-wide nervous breakdown
if our five billion minds collapse at once
well I'd call that a surprise ending
and this hill would still be beautiful
a place I wouldn't mind dying
alone or with you.

tashted the milk of human kindnesh - an' it's a lot of Fermillac (fionnland), Thursday, 8 August 2019 07:29 (three months ago) link

man this is terrible :(

Le Bateau Ivre, Thursday, 8 August 2019 07:44 (three months ago) link

Oh no. :(

RIP.

pomenitul, Thursday, 8 August 2019 07:45 (three months ago) link

I've never really engaged with his work or been particularly motivated to do so, but I'm listening to the Purple Mountains album now and realising I was wrong in that. RIP.

Matt DC, Thursday, 8 August 2019 07:51 (three months ago) link

RIP

I visited Philadelphia earlier this year and saw the American Water building across the Delaware, which immediately made me think of Berman and that fantastic album. Totally inconsequential but the kind of humdrum revelation that he seemed to be able to capture in his lyrics.

Captain ACAB (Neil S), Thursday, 8 August 2019 07:55 (three months ago) link

Fuck. Fuck. This really, really hurts.

I feel so grateful for the art he created. His music touched a rarely accessible place in my soul; the way he combined humour, melancholy, truth....his storytelling...while having a distinct, original artistic voice. All of the things I most look for and value about art can be found consistently throughout his work. And his new album...just, one of those records that came along when I was starting to doubt whether music could have the kind of impact on me that it once did, and reminded me that the old feeling is still possible.

He had more knockout couplets and one-liners than any other lyricist I can think of. His lyrics are a constant part of my internal monologue. Like sometimes I'll think of a random Jews lyric and just smile. Thank you, David.

triggercut, Thursday, 8 August 2019 09:24 (three months ago) link

Ah christ - that's some horrible news to wake to. The P in RIP never made so much sense.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Thursday, 8 August 2019 09:52 (three months ago) link

Nastanovich’s quote in the pitchfork rememberances really hits home:

It was enlightening to have such a talented friend at a young age and realize that the talent wasn’t always a blessing.

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Thursday, 8 August 2019 10:00 (three months ago) link

real mc recognize real mc

rest in peace to the great David Berman 😞

— el-p (@therealelp) August 8, 2019

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 8 August 2019 12:38 (three months ago) link

I have no words for this, really. I was going to see him play on Monday, and was looking forward to it, having never gotten a chance to catch the joos. I'd been listening to the new album a ton since it came out. I don't know if I can listen to it again for a while.

Auld Drink of Misery (zchyrs), Thursday, 8 August 2019 12:46 (three months ago) link

The dead know what they are doing when they leave this world behind.

From Nights That Won't Happen

A little spooky, as if he had planned it in advance...

je est un autre, l'enfer c'est les autres (alex in mainhattan), Thursday, 8 August 2019 13:00 (three months ago) link

Definitely. The whole song comes off as foreboding in hindsight:

And as much as we might like to seize the reel and hit rewind
Or quicken our pursuit of what we're guaranteed to find
When the dying's finally done and the suffering subsides
All the suffering gets done by the ones we leave behind
All the suffering gets done by the ones we leave behind

pomenitul, Thursday, 8 August 2019 13:02 (three months ago) link

Some of the heaviest lyrics on the album, for sure. I hadn't really fully finished processing a lot of parts of the record (and now it will probably be a very long time before I return to it, if ever), but up until yesterday I'd bean hearing those lyrics as an argument against suicide, an indictment of it from someone who'd been there and only in hindsight understands the magnitude & consequences. Now I feel like a dope for thinking that, like I was grafting an optimistic reading onto it to make myself feel good. I dunno. Today that verse just reads like a blunt statement of fact. Awful.

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Thursday, 8 August 2019 13:13 (three months ago) link

I went through the exact same process.

pomenitul, Thursday, 8 August 2019 13:14 (three months ago) link

Just miserable at this news. My favourite living songwriter, and now he isn't. Sound-magic & richness of all those lyrics. So many ways of being brilliant.

I'd been treating it as an out-the-other-side album, but it wasn't, obviously. Peace to you, DB.

woof, Thursday, 8 August 2019 13:30 (three months ago) link

I listened to Purple Mountains for the first time this morning. I hadn't realized the whole thing was on Spotify yet. I had heard Margaritas at the Mall first and kinda waved it off. I wasn't really ready to hunker down with David Berman in the excitement of early summer. Oh my god, what a record.

☮ (peace, man), Thursday, 8 August 2019 13:44 (three months ago) link

I never listened to his shit, as WORDS WORDS WORDS is not really my preference… but I hung out with him 2 or 3 times, and found him to be very engaging, not in the least sadsack… at the time, I very much hated my boss, and when I was introduced to him and I told him where I worked, he asked me why my boss is such a asshole, and launched into a diatribe about how unpleasant she was…he and got along great afterwards…

veronica moser, Thursday, 8 August 2019 13:50 (three months ago) link

I hadn't taken the time with the Purple Mountains record until now, sadly, and fuck, it's good. It has some of his best lyrics ever. It has cringey moments too, the way a suicidal person's self-pity often does, where you just want to scream "No! You don't have to see things that way!" but you know that something in their chemistry or their soul just makes it that they can't help it. But the best moments are so good.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Thursday, 8 August 2019 14:12 (three months ago) link

And yeah, the suicide note aspects are all over it, sadly. He's pretty frank and straightforward about how he came to feel about his life and it's gut-wrenching.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Thursday, 8 August 2019 14:19 (three months ago) link

why can't monsters
get along with other monsters?

jakey mo collier (voodoo chili), Thursday, 8 August 2019 14:28 (three months ago) link

joining the chorus of people really devastated by this news last night. in a way that no artist/musician passing has hit me since i was 18 or 19.

one of the greatest nights of my life was out-of-nowhere getting guest-listed into the first silver jews tour at 40 watt in athens, while in town on tour for a single night...and just being awash in how great it was. thanks for that, dcb.

dronestreet, Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:03 (three months ago) link

God he was funny

From a David Berman interview I did in 2001. "I don’t expect to be insulted by being told Ryan Adams in the best songwriter in America. Maybe mid-period Steve Forbert B sides sound fresh to some ears. It's just self-pity in rock. These people have no compassion for anybody."

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:11 (three months ago) link

watched the Israel doc which is on YouTube last night, been putting it off for The Right Time and obviously, well, cried and cried and cried

Clay, Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:17 (three months ago) link

I've never even heard of Steve Forbert before, but just looking at his album covers and song titles that sounds OTM

☮ (peace, man), Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:17 (three months ago) link

he is also otm about ryan adams and seems like a very compassionate person in addition to being funny and clever and gifted with sight & the ability to translate the seeing into words for us to enjoy :(

i like when someone can be amusing without being mean and he never seemed mean to me. his father was so mean & cruel that i think it made him aggressively the opposite, afaict. selfish wrt self-destructive habits, but kind at heart? is this accurate?

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:18 (three months ago) link

He strikes me as a guy who possessed a high level of empathy and sensitivity and I think when faced with a brazen and smug lack of empathy (let alone in one’s own family) it can be extremely painful. Everything I’ve read about his father suggests that’s the type of person he is.

omar little, Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:24 (three months ago) link

people that knew him seem to speak affectionately of him

Ryan Adams is so thoroughly phony and full of shit, I can imagine it rankled someone who seemed to try to look life in the eye

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:25 (three months ago) link

i totally understand that about him, that is why i was asking to confirm. i don't know the guy personally and there is something about his relationship with his (legitimately terrible) father that struck a nerve w me when i heard it years ago. when one's father is so awful and one is so sensitive, how does one cope? it's a very lonely feeling. idk if he had siblings or not, or if they felt the same way.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:27 (three months ago) link

I remember seeing an interview with the surviving members of joy division where they said they never paid much attention ian curtis' lyrics. Then he killed himself and they realized how much of his suffering was laid bare in those lyrics.
I'm having a similar moment listening to the purple mountains album this morning.

Just in the first minute of the first song:
"the life I lead is sickening / i spent a decade playing chicken with oblivion
day to day i'm neck and neck with giving in / i'm the same old wreck i've always been"

enochroot, Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:32 (three months ago) link

awful awful news. Back in ‘98, I remember seeing how the spine of the American Water CD mimicked the old Bob Dylan style and laughing at the chutzpah of that move – and then listening to the record over and over and thinking … “Well, fair enough.” I’m thinking now of seeing him play about a decade ago in Denver. When the last song was over, he didn’t go backstage. He hopped down and walked through the crowd, shaking hands and grinning, before cruising out into the Colfax night.

tylerw, Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:33 (three months ago) link

I don't even really care about Ryan Adams but I hated the sort of "Ryan Adams culture" that existed at his peak, this weird, phony, cold, music-critic driven rockism that felt like a bunch of desperate paleontologists dusting off rocks and bones to find something "real." A certain kind of doucheyness that is not a jock doucheyness but the guy-who-resented-the-jock-in-high-school doucheyness and thinks that the resentment = victimhood = entitlement.

I never met David Berman but he definitely seemed in his public persona and music like the opposite of that, a kind person who was really afraid he wasn't kind enough, a person driven by shame that he never did anything to deserve, who couldn't believe that he was good enough.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:37 (three months ago) link

him, jason molina, vic chestnutt - a whole generation of great songwriters already gone.

Heez, Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:42 (three months ago) link

Elliott Smith, too...

flappy bird, Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:48 (three months ago) link

yeah i thought about "farewell transmission" last night

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:49 (three months ago) link

i'm crushed, too, but ... i mean there are lots of great songwriters in that generation still around!

alpine static, Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:50 (three months ago) link

I'm assembling people to read from David Berman's work outside of the Met Breuer (former location of the Whitney) as an informal memorial gesture. 7pm Thurs Aug 7th. Please spread the word, let me know if you would like to read anything, and check on your friends. #DavidBerman pic.twitter.com/3QiAz2yzqB

— Lance Bangs (@lancebangs) August 8, 2019

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:58 (three months ago) link

(sic: tonight, Aug 8th)

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 8 August 2019 15:58 (three months ago) link

I'd been treating it as an out-the-other-side album, but it wasn't, obviously. Peace to you, DB.

― woof, Thursday, August 8, 2019 9:30 AM (two hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

Yeah it's really painful to realize he wasn't reflecting on past struggles.

Evan, Thursday, 8 August 2019 16:16 (three months ago) link

Just want to point out that from those recent interviews posted above, it sounds like he was still in touch with his dad, who paid for his treatment etc. I also don’t recall him saying that his dad was a bad father (other than a story about his dad being competitive when they played board games, and “he wasn’t even sorry!” when he beat young David at Sorry).

I know that DCB made his shame & hatred of his father’s professional life a structuring part of his own “story,” but I wouldn’t assume that his bad relationship with his father was a two-way street, or that his dad didn’t love him or somehow caused David’s pain through bad parenting.

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Thursday, 8 August 2019 16:18 (three months ago) link

As a closing couplet, "If no one's fond of fucking me/Maybe no one's fucking fond of me" is a pretty great/sad/hilarious/heartbreaking one.

a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Thursday, 8 August 2019 16:35 (three months ago) link

My favorite moment on Purple Mountains is his "She was, she was" in "I Loved Being My Mother's Son."

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 8 August 2019 16:36 (three months ago) link

I hadn't listened to Silver Jews in many years, so this didn't hit me the way Elliot Smith, Mark Linkhous, or Vic Chestnutt's suicides did, but having felt the sorrow after those (to this day I find it very difficult to listen to an Elliot Smith album all the way through and haven't been able to watch the documentary either) I know how this feels to those really close to his music. My friend Nick just posted on FB how this underscores how important it is for people to tell those whose art touched them what it means, and I agree, but I also know that in cases like Berman's it can fall on deaf ears, depression is an all encompassing and smothering force, and you often do not hear or accept words of love from others. That said I still shot Eitzel an email saying I was happy he was still around.

akm, Thursday, 8 August 2019 17:09 (three months ago) link

I know it’s an overstatement to talk about “all” the leading men of this generation, but between the drug toll on the grunge guys and the indie suicides (and Kurt, managing to be both), it is a pretty blasted landscape.

a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Thursday, 8 August 2019 17:13 (three months ago) link

Gen X forever skeptical of its own achievements.

a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Thursday, 8 August 2019 17:14 (three months ago) link

It was linked earlier, but the Ringer profile from early July is hard to read as a last-days portrait (once you get past the simple comeback-album intro).

https://www.theringer.com/music/2019/7/10/20686306/david-berman-silver-jews-purple-mountains-drag-city

... (Eazy), Thursday, 8 August 2019 17:20 (three months ago) link

^^ yes, that's a wonderful, heartbreaking piece

Karl Malone, Thursday, 8 August 2019 17:24 (three months ago) link

After I read that I said to my wife, “I don’t know if he’s going to live much longer.”

a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Thursday, 8 August 2019 17:27 (three months ago) link

Gen X forever skeptical of its own achievements.

― a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Thursday, August 8, 2019 1:14 PM (twelve minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

to be fair, the world for guys like Berman has changed a lot since he started releasing records, and not necessarily for the better

Paul Ponzi, Thursday, 8 August 2019 17:29 (three months ago) link

Yeah, for sure.

a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Thursday, 8 August 2019 17:38 (three months ago) link

Yeah, that one was good. Also, I just read this interview, which I guess took place sometime in the last 48 hours?

http://www.citypages.com/music/this-is-one-of-the-last-interviews-with-david-berman/526551471

I had read the SPIN review he refers to as being the worst, including the part about the reviewer doing a bit of projecting, I guess you could say. I also didn't like it, and I thought about bringing it up here, but what's the point of criticizing critics about their criticism of a relentless self-critic. I'd just finished trying to make a point about that upthread, and at this point I don't think it could mean any less anyway.

Self-Ignition, now that was a good song.

https://youtu.be/bISQXWdgRzQ

"...and I have to remember your not wanting me doesn't make me any less here."

del griffith, Thursday, 8 August 2019 17:38 (three months ago) link

I was really loving the new album, which despite all the scars had such a glow of tenderness and gratitude to it and it just seems so sad now

ogmor, Thursday, 8 August 2019 17:55 (three months ago) link

The first 3 or 4 Silver Jews records were (and still are) super important to me, I need to go back and listen to the last two. I've been listening to Purple Mountains a lot and like a lot of people here I was excited about seeing him live, as I never got the chance when the Jews were still going. I remember listening to this a few weeks ago and feeling a little worried for him, though I imagined that the success of the new record might maybe bring him out of it...

http://vishkhanna.com/2019/06/12/ep-481-david-berman/

pophatte (admrl), Thursday, 8 August 2019 17:57 (three months ago) link

When I told David I was getting married 11 years ago, he asked me for some interesting details and observations about Colette and then just before our wedding day we received an eight-panel Berman cartoon in the post, as a gift for Colette. I'll try and dig it out this weekend. https://t.co/lzxeUrznuD

— Andrew Male (@Andr6wMale) August 8, 2019

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 8 August 2019 18:02 (three months ago) link

disappointed but not surprised he dislikes "Old Town Road" tbh

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 8 August 2019 18:15 (three months ago) link

very fair criticism of OTR imo

Vape Store (crüt), Thursday, 8 August 2019 18:33 (three months ago) link

In 2016, we asked David Berman for a quote about the mid-90s early days of Jagjaguwar in Charlottesville. Instead, he sent a loving, hilarious and slyly beautiful poem about UVA football, the early Internet and plant life. Now, we share it with you.https://t.co/JvKfDy65t7 pic.twitter.com/oJnUWHJcwS

— JAGJAGUWAR (@jagjaguwar) August 8, 2019

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 8 August 2019 18:38 (three months ago) link

I had some feelings.

https://rockandrollglobe.com/indie-rock/i-dont-really-wanna-die-i-only-wanna-die-in-your-eyes-remembering-david-berman/

Raymond, thanks for that. I remember thinking the same thing after seeing him at the merch table after a show in 2006 ("what if, accidentally, we broke him?"), and then deciding that's bullshit. I'm a reserved fella, but if he could sack up for a US tour against his inner will, I could at least sack up to express my appreciation for it. I'm glad I got to.

a kind person who was really afraid he wasn't kind enough, a person driven by shame that he never did anything to deserve, who couldn't believe that he was good enough.

Yes, this. I had the same read on his personality.

I'd been following his blogs since 2011 or whenever, and he'd occasionally post youtubes of songs he liked, always new to me. I held his taste in pretty high esteem, so I'd always give them a few listens even if I didn't like them at first.

This one had to grow on me.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHgYdI1ElMM

This one I liked right away.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYcjW2MOZoI

This one he posted in the summer of 2015 before going dormant for two years. I realize now that when he posted it, it was around the same time he had been taking care of his mother in Ohio while she was dying of cancer.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0nO9VXC6lw

del griffith, Thursday, 8 August 2019 19:01 (three months ago) link

Following some of these links brought me to this long 2008 interview with a lot of interesting stuff in it... worth a read / revisit.

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Thursday, 8 August 2019 19:14 (three months ago) link

That Spin review he referenced is by Brian Howe, who’s also responsible for my least favorite Pitchfork review ever, which was a cruel and faintly misogynist takedown of a very good Edith Frost record.

omar little, Thursday, 8 August 2019 19:25 (three months ago) link

Regarding Cassie I just suddenly had the line "If it ever gets really really bad, if it ever gets really really bad/let's not kid ourselves, it gets really really bad" pop into my head, which is kind of heartbreaking in this new context.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Thursday, 8 August 2019 19:29 (three months ago) link

Ned, thanks for that. I had to send it to my UVA-grad brother-in-law with a "wahoowah" attached.

I'm not even prepared to let myself start thinking about what this must be like from Cassie's side. I mean, he was well aware that the suffering gets done by the ones we leave behind.

Here's a lighter shade of his apocalypse from 1994:

A drawing David Berman sent me entitled “At The End of the World” after I interviewed him for my fanzine in 1994 pic.twitter.com/JZqLycyRNQ

— John Masters (@johnnymetro) August 8, 2019

del griffith, Thursday, 8 August 2019 20:09 (three months ago) link

Just saw these posted - three long interviews from 2013/2014. Below is the first, the other two are on the same Youtube channel.

"This is an audio-only phone interview I conducted with David Berman in late Dec 2013 when I was working on a book proposal for the 33 1/3 series on American Water. The book was never made but I thought in the wake of his death today that others might like to hear it. He talks about the difficult process of making the Natural Bridge and how American Water was so much easier, his mental health throughout that period, his writing process and more."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqjwDK00rts

city worker, Thursday, 8 August 2019 20:13 (three months ago) link

If, over the last month, you'd caught me staring into the distance and asked me what I was thinking about, my honest answer would likely be one of the following:

a) nothing. the words 'ceaseless feasts of schadenfreude' are just circling round in my head.

b) the words 'ceaseless feasts of schadenfreude' have been circling round in my head for days - without a melody - and I am part-meditating on, part-wondering at David Berman's pure and precise mastery of the magic of language-sound - how can he work this phonemic hypnosis on me?

c) I'm thinking about about how 'that's just the way I feel' syntactically/formally moves perfectly, really perfectly over those first verses and god the funny/bleak/honest tone; and how I think it falls off a little with that 'I met failure in Australia' section, which almost feels like quotebait - but then he caps it with 'That’s the shit I'm talkin bout/When I talk to you about/Ceaseless feasts of schadenfreude', and that second 'ceaseless feasts' makes it feel like the trap has closed and the joke is properly deadly again.

d) Nothing. The words 'Trotting the sod of the visible with no new word from God' are just circling round in my head.

Anyway I'm drunk and just listening and staying up late.

woof, Thursday, 8 August 2019 22:21 (three months ago) link

absolutely devastating

flopson, Thursday, 8 August 2019 22:22 (three months ago) link

That Spin review he referenced is by Brian Howe, who’s also responsible for my least favorite Pitchfork review ever, which was a cruel and faintly misogynist takedown of a very good Edith Frost record.

Also her last one so far...

... (Eazy), Thursday, 8 August 2019 22:24 (three months ago) link

this guy sounds like bad company

triple-washed (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 8 August 2019 23:13 (three months ago) link

the world is and will always be a david berman lyric. i miss you so much, david.

— Bill Callahan (@BillCallaman) August 8, 2019

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 8 August 2019 23:15 (three months ago) link

A great David Berman concept...: pic.twitter.com/GBnIq0flpm

— Neil Hamburger (@NeilHamburger) August 8, 2019

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 8 August 2019 23:17 (three months ago) link

posting a pitchfork link (replete with FB tracker tag) in this thread is pretty crass imho.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 9 August 2019 02:17 (three months ago) link

huh

flappy bird, Friday, 9 August 2019 04:38 (three months ago) link

pitchfork didn't kill him

Simon H., Friday, 9 August 2019 05:03 (three months ago) link

Standing room only on the sidewalk outside the Met for David Berman. pic.twitter.com/IO4TH1XHkJ

— Brian Heater (@bheater) August 8, 2019

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 9 August 2019 05:30 (three months ago) link

need more embedded tweets by indie guys to atone (xp)

husserl gang (rip van wanko), Friday, 9 August 2019 05:33 (three months ago) link

That article doesn't not read like a composite of several of the ones I read yesterday that preceded it

Paul Ponzi, Friday, 9 August 2019 10:50 (three months ago) link

More kind words: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/postscript/david-berman-made-us-feel-less-alone

EvR, Friday, 9 August 2019 11:30 (three months ago) link

There's something so annoying to me about the new yorker piece. maybe it's in part bc of all of the bad press nyt has been getting lately bc of their constant faux pas's and i am just lazily conflating them and the new yorker, but these days i get almost angry when i see the new yorker's dumb logo and pretentious faux old graphic design etc. wow! shocker that some person has an oblique connection with him from back in the day that they can work into their article about his life and death.

as if I were strolling through a gorgeous museum whose construction I’d glimpsed through a peephole

like wtf. there is that book "miller bukowski and their enemies" (yeah, i know but.) which i think sums it up well... the posthumous adulation for people that one never would have deigned to shake hands with during their creative period or actual messiness of their lives. i'm so sure that the writer gave a fuck or ever thought about him while he was like, living in a literal crackhouse or whatever. but thankfully now he can be packaged safely! i mean, i realize i probably sound like ppl who complained about kurt cobain obits back in the day, but there's something so insulting about it. a comeback from addiction makes money and a death from related issues does too. it's just gross to me. whatever...

dell (del), Friday, 9 August 2019 15:10 (three months ago) link

"Listening to his songs, I always feel an active wonder."

there are not enough "ughs" in the world!

dell (del), Friday, 9 August 2019 15:22 (three months ago) link

The New Yorker suxx... not in the same way as the NY Times (whose offenses are worse than mere “faux pas”), but I always regret clicking into & reading a New Yorker “essay.” I guess they still run long, investigative articles that are worthwhile.

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Friday, 9 August 2019 15:25 (three months ago) link

if i ever felt an "active wonder" listening to something I would ask my gp to up my depends scrip.

dell (del), Friday, 9 August 2019 15:26 (three months ago) link

GEN X

flappy bird, Friday, 9 August 2019 15:28 (three months ago) link

yah, and despite my bile i think they have actually gotten much better in the last 2-3 years. but, it's always so jarring to see an attempt to sum up someone's life/death mated w the dumb happy caricature face and other graphic design stuff that i guess is supposed to be super-endearing but to me is just like, borderline-enraging at this point. but whatever. i have issues!

dell (del), Friday, 9 August 2019 15:29 (three months ago) link

their long, investigative articles remain worthwhile

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 9 August 2019 15:30 (three months ago) link

i have issues!

So do I -- they accumulate on my living room table week after week!

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 9 August 2019 15:30 (three months ago) link

ummm I think y'all are doing some very strange projecting onto that very sweet & mild obit essay but w/e

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Friday, 9 August 2019 15:30 (three months ago) link

otm

tylerw, Friday, 9 August 2019 15:39 (three months ago) link

lol, yes and see my 2-3 yrs thing... their longform stuff has if anything improved in the last couple yrs imo

but

the obit essay bummed me. likely i am strangely projecting. but why should everything be neatly wrapped up into a new yorker obit or pitchfork piece? his life was evidently severely messy, as most of ours probably are upon reasonable inspection, and the tone of her piece rubs me the wrong way.

Berman’s friends were supporting him, caring for him; his record label, Drag City, was, too, even housing him in recent months. His fans were eager for his tour, which was to begin this weekend. We wish he hadn’t suffered; we’re grateful he existed. We loved him to the max.

um, ok? it just seems weirdly antiseptic. i mean i guess I am just bitter for the very fact of him killing himself, and it's spilling over, but i hate the attempt to wrap it up into a neat package by legacy media or whatever.

dell (del), Friday, 9 August 2019 15:45 (three months ago) link

Death, unfortunately, is great PR. But I don't see what makes this piece any worse (or any better) than any of the other mostly identical 15 or 20 I've read over the past 24 hours.

Paul Ponzi, Friday, 9 August 2019 15:50 (three months ago) link

I liked the New Yorker piece and I don't really understand these criticisms.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Friday, 9 August 2019 16:06 (three months ago) link

As advanced as we consider ourselves,
we still allow ad copy to pander to us.
The scam exposed, it endures with our permission
as a parallel narrative running beside our lives
where we sit with an unbuttered baked potato
and a warm beer in multiple versions of Akron
leavened with foreclosure, heartburn and rain.

Great-grandfather’s hobbies, whether they be botany or magic,
can barely make sense to a boy named Occupant III.

Their genius was to let us criticize them
until it became boring and obvious to do so.

Meanwhile they were up ahead, busily constructing a world
in which boring and obvious criticism
was about the worst thing you could do,
and when we reached them in time they were waiting
with their multiple Akrons,
always one link ahead in the chain of consent.

del griffith, Friday, 9 August 2019 16:22 (three months ago) link

OTOH I listened to the Kreative Kontrol interview and I found the host's joviality painful--I guess to no fault of his own since it's not like he knew Berman was going to die, but some of his readings of things annoyed me, particularly when he missed the fact that drinking margaritas at the mall is obviously supposed to evoke something depressing, not something "fun"--in fact it's the bad simulacra of fun that makes it especially depressing. I think the host even said something about it being like a "resort"--no dude, it's fucking called "margaritas at the mall"! Not at a resort!

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Friday, 9 August 2019 16:26 (three months ago) link

man, don't you just hate it when people are wrong

del griffith, Friday, 9 August 2019 16:35 (three months ago) link

just seems fucked up in light of the overall thrust of his lyrics and stuff. but whatever... everything sucks, for real.

dell (del), Friday, 9 August 2019 16:58 (three months ago) link

(meant for the people defending the new yorker article).

dell (del), Friday, 9 August 2019 17:00 (three months ago) link

need more embedded tweets by indie guys to atone (xp)

2.4

ayo those are his friends and colleagues, not a gaggle of "indie" (your word) edgelords who deleted their negative tweets/subtweets (in shame?)

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 9 August 2019 17:08 (three months ago) link

didn't know his hatred for his dad was so well deserved

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 9 August 2019 17:19 (three months ago) link

oh totally

sleeve, Friday, 9 August 2019 17:21 (three months ago) link

I've now read the New Yorker thing and I think it's fine for what it is, but I agree w/del about how it feels a little weird to be summing up the "messiness" of this guy's life in a patly written thinkpiece; especially when he has so many interviews online that you can go back and read to really get a sense of who he was, what he was about, and the stuff he was dealing with. But these third-person essays aren't written for me, I don't need the hundredth piece quoting the lyrics of "People" or whatever; I guess they're intended to bring DCB to the attn. of readers who weren't aware of him (...but even then, in this context, it's like... ok? better late than never, I guess?)

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Friday, 9 August 2019 18:02 (three months ago) link

if i ever felt an "active wonder" listening to something I would ask my gp to up my depends scrip.

― dell (del), Friday, August 9, 2019 4:26 PM (two hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

i lold

cheese canopy (map), Friday, 9 August 2019 18:07 (three months ago) link

also wb dell

cheese canopy (map), Friday, 9 August 2019 18:08 (three months ago) link

There's a lot of love in this, I think:

https://www.caughtbytheriver.net/2019/08/caught-by-the-reaper-david-berman/?fbclid=IwAR3ZYKGgnYaKIFSm3WVPNKIdUrVfInq8biDBIyt2qD6uNDX8tsTjdJR__wo

Thanks for posting this.

EvR, Friday, 9 August 2019 18:32 (three months ago) link

I hate comparing two albums due to their creators fates, but this really reminds me of Vic Chestnutt’s ‘At the Cut’. Both come from this place of clear pain and oblivion (their word) but they seem to somehow be conquering it through wit and melody

Heez, Friday, 9 August 2019 18:59 (three months ago) link

*whispers* you dont need a scrip for depends

gbx, Friday, 9 August 2019 19:16 (three months ago) link

This Nastanovich quote, mentioned above:

It was enlightening to have such a talented friend at a young age and realize that the talent wasn’t always a blessing.

Is easily the most satisfying eulogy to the man I've read over the past couple of days. That Berman would've been so concise in his delineation of human experience (its joy, questioning, confusion, suffering) suggests a hyper-sensitivity that could easily turn a cloudy day into an unbearable tragedy. What comforts me through his passing, aside from the fact that he left behind such a generous and rich body of work, is the hope that, along with the "storms" that his eulogists have repeatedly referred to as defining his life, there was also a balance of equally profound and exquisite joyousness, also. The eulogies I've read on Facebook from friends who had personal relationships with the man suggest that this was the case, story after story about what a delight he was.

flamboyant goon tie included, Friday, 9 August 2019 19:29 (three months ago) link

thanks map.
it fucking sucks and yeah there is projection involved as a given in that we probably all know ppl who have been like, "okay, outta here" and subsequently it always brings up a lot of fucked-up feelings. they say that funerals and other associated rites are for the survivors more than the departed, and so this is my way of honoring him atm. if he was selfish enough to kill himself then i think it's ok for me to be selfish enough to throw a little fit about the state of, what'd i call it up there, "legacy media"? it's all good. i wasn't even a huge silver jews fan but i was a huge fan of what david berman stood for -- to me, in my mind. a sort of demonstrative naked honesty and unwillingness to compromise and a staunch if shocking ability to make (literal!) poetry of it.

dell (del), Friday, 9 August 2019 19:42 (three months ago) link

there was also a balance of equally profound and exquisite joyousness, also. The eulogies I've read on Facebook from friends who had personal relationships with the man suggest that this was the case, story after story about what a delight he was.

otm. I like how Bob Nastanovich always seems to make a point to call attention to DBs humor. We all know his lyrics were wry and funny, but Bob will go out of his way to refer to DB as a "poet and humorist" and things like that. Beyond just "oh yeah he was a real funny guy", making sure he gets credit as someone who worked hard to make people laugh with his work.

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Friday, 9 August 2019 20:18 (three months ago) link

i’d recommended the new purple mountains album to a colleague last week and as we normally bond over megan thee stallion and suchlike wasn’t sure what she’d think about it... she loved it and did some first listen notes:

General
Lyrics! This man is a poet non? (ed: googled, OK, yes, he is) By turns jaunty/mellow Americana with sad sad sad lyrics. He sounds so lonely.

That's just the way that I feel - super, love this song, more poppy than the rest. Can see why you’ve listened to it so much.

Snow is falling in Manhattan – “salts the stoop and scoops the cat in” lovely. This song feels like being wrapped up in a blanket in front of a fire which fits lyrics, obv. Feels like someone longing for security and safety. Liked the jarring use of smithereens. Eesh.

Shes making friends I'm turning stranger - Any song w tantamount in the opening line = cool. I know it’s about him but I like the way he draws this woman. Smalltown superstar. A bright character.

The rest kind of blend together tbh but words! Fond of fuxking fuxking fond of me. Stand the standard distance distant strangers stand apart. Happy hour got us by the balls. Try to drown thoughts in gin worst ideas know how to swim.

On the music, I like the shuffly guitar and drums. I don’t know how to describe it. Wooshywooshy softness. doesn’t sound like the words which, if you were to match music to it, would prob sound like screaming in pain.


and then next day she was “dave berman died :(“

Fizzles, Friday, 9 August 2019 20:30 (three months ago) link

if he was selfish enough to kill himself then i think it's ok for me to be selfish enough to throw a little fit about the state of, what'd i call it up there, "legacy media"? it's all good.

Eh, I'd say not really. You're two entirely different people making two very different decisions for two very different reasons. I totally get the point you're making about these hermetically-sealed obituaries to be packaged and sold so people can read about them for 30 seconds and then maybe click on an ad, and it irritates me too, but why let yourself be surprised? If I'm understanding you correctly, your issue is with ad-driven media and isn't at all exclusive to the case of David Cloud Berman.

along with the "storms" that his eulogists have repeatedly referred to as defining his life, there was also a balance of equally profound and exquisite joyousness, also. The eulogies I've read on Facebook from friends who had personal relationships with the man suggest that this was the case, story after story about what a delight he was.

Yep. In the wake of a suicide, it's natural to point to some of the gloomier attitudes in the songs and be like "see! see!" but we're talking about the guy who wrote "I'm gonna shine out in the wild kindness and hold the world to its word." The unwillingness to compromise, the punk principles (the Germs tattoo!) were a huge part of what I liked about him, even if that mentality fueled a lot of his less hopeful perspectives too. Ultimately, I believe he was a self-righteous force for good, as evidenced by the fact that I wasn't the only fan to receive a few of his apparently abundant gestures of friendliness.

del griffith, Friday, 9 August 2019 20:57 (three months ago) link

I can't help but contrast the dead American Jewish genius with the dead Canadian Jewish genius and note the similarities and contrasts between Berman and Cohen.

First of all I say "Jewish" but it's not actually about Judaism, it's about (firstly) a relationship with spirituality and a desire to capture the infinite, and (secondly) about having zero practical musical talent and seeing that as an asset rather than a burden (and it absolutely is an asset, as a songwriter).

There is the fact that Canadian songwriters are unable to make references to Canadian places-- America is The Place, Canada is not The Place, and so making a reference to Portland or San Francisco is within the territory of the collective human consciousness, but making a reference to Medicine Hat or Quebec City seems comedic, like the songwriter is suddenly in drag and doing a bit.

There is the fact that Berman was a prodigious brainstormer and Cohen was a prodigious editor-- every line of a Berman song was an epiphany or a wordplay more powerful than the entire song of a lesser songwriter, but the lines were seldom effectively unified to a single thesis-- Cohen, on the other hand, was devoted to a thesis, and didn't allow for hairiness or inefficiency, but his songs were not as confounding as Berman's songs were.

flamboyant goon tie included, Friday, 9 August 2019 21:14 (three months ago) link

xposts Yes, fair enough...

aside from that, I'd been scared to listen to purple mountains over the past day or so but man it's actually a really life-affirming record? to my ears. Like the honky-tonk vibe on the first track only escalates the dude you just need another drink or a nap thing. get out of the metaphorical west and into the actual space away from your mind. is that a crazy reading? it's something like felt's all the people i like are those that are dead. yes! exactly! so taken to its logical conclusion it's like a health powder. be those crystal spires my man

dell (del), Friday, 9 August 2019 21:17 (three months ago) link

I listened to it today, and enjoyed it; listening felt like the appropriate tribute, and the record did feel more affirming than sad. Though "Nights That Won't Happen" definitely hits you.

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Friday, 9 August 2019 21:23 (three months ago) link

It is life-affirming. It's a beautiful work of art. It's a gift to us. Its very existence affirms the life-time spent making it. This is easy for me to say because I wasn't a personal friend of his, and I don't know for a fact that he died on his own terms. But I suspect he did. And just because someone dies on their own terms doesn't mean their life was meaningless, or that they didn't enhance other peoples lives while they were here.

I feel the album can be safely summarized by these lines from the first track:

A setback can be a setup for a comeback if you don't let up
but this kind of hurting won't heal.
The end of all wanting is all I've been wanting
and that's just the way that I feel.

You don't have to be Ian Curtis's former bandmates to retroactively read that the way it was intended.

I will miss more songs from him, constantly.

del griffith, Friday, 9 August 2019 21:38 (three months ago) link

been feeling the comforting intention of Snow is Falling in Manhattan

triple-washed (Sufjan Grafton), Friday, 9 August 2019 22:22 (three months ago) link

There is the fact that Canadian songwriters are unable to make references to Canadian places-- America is The Place, Canada is not The Place, and so making a reference to Portland or San Francisco is within the territory of the collective human consciousness, but making a reference to Medicine Hat or Quebec City seems comedic, like the songwriter is suddenly in drag and doing a bit.

different kind of sadness but this reminded me of another dead canadian genius

american bradass (BradNelson), Friday, 9 August 2019 22:28 (three months ago) link

these hermetically-sealed obituaries to be packaged and sold so people can read about them for 30 seconds and then maybe click on an ad

I gotta say, I really dont get the characterization of pieces like that NYer obit as being crass commercial clickbait cash-ins? Surely there are more popular and clickworthy things that could have taken up that space than a personal essay-obit on a marginal poet-songwriter who probably didn't sell 20k copies of any single album? Like whatever your criticisms of that piece might be, clearly the writer was a huge fan and had an honest connection to him & his music and wanted to express something about it. Whether she did his life & work justice or not, she obviously wasn't sitting thinking "I've gotta quickly churn some uplifting words out about this ultra-minor-celebrity to get those newyorker.com pageviews up to our weekly quota!"

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Friday, 9 August 2019 22:37 (three months ago) link

I get that people feel protective of him but it's not exactly like post-Cobain vultures feasting on his legacy. A lot of writers had a strong enough connection to his music taht they felt compelled to write something, and in the 24hrs they had to turn around a piece some hit the mark better than others but I dont think anyone is getting rich off of David Berman obits this week.

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Friday, 9 August 2019 22:38 (three months ago) link

Of note:

Patiently waiting forever for the album made by Berman, Bejar and Malkmus, which Berman rejected on completion.

— Judy MillerSilverman (@motormouthmedia) August 9, 2019

I recall seeing it on the Dropbox I share with the studio and thinking I shouldn’t listen to someone’s unfinished album. There is a code there.

— Carl Newman (@ACNewman) August 9, 2019

Ned Raggett, Friday, 9 August 2019 22:40 (three months ago) link

Yeah that’s pretty wild — is it the same songs as on the purple mountains LP or other stuff entirely?

tylerw, Friday, 9 August 2019 22:44 (three months ago) link

excellent posts from fgti

budo jeru, Friday, 9 August 2019 22:55 (three months ago) link

“Diamonds in the Mine” feels in some ways like the ur-text for Purple Mountains.

... (Eazy), Friday, 9 August 2019 23:44 (three months ago) link

Pulled up my 2008 tour diary tonight. From the week opening for #SilverJews pic.twitter.com/3H7m0aOjmT

— Ryan H. Walsh (@JahHills) August 9, 2019

... (Eazy), Friday, 9 August 2019 23:55 (three months ago) link

I really dont get the characterization of pieces like that NYer obit as being crass commercial clickbait cash-ins?

Just to clarify, I haven't read it, but I don't have a problem with it. I was just responding to dell's grievance about the alleged tone of this eulogy piece in particular by saying that I can empathize with the frustration of having to see these sorts of things under these sorts of circumstances in general ("hey, someone died, so here's a tribute").

del griffith, Saturday, 10 August 2019 00:02 (three months ago) link

thanks del griffith for yr post upthread (I should change my name if I keep on posting!)

speaking for myself, yeah, yah i don't think it's like, reflexx quickbait but it's irritating nonetheless. maybe none of us know how to best write about the recently departed but for whatever reason that piece just seemed like an empty and fairly depressing neoliberal exercise. but whatever. that's just one dell's take.

dell (del), Saturday, 10 August 2019 00:16 (three months ago) link

I hear ya. If one doesn't make a living stringing together words for people to read, then one would have no reason to rush to put out some words for sale about someone suddenly departed. The things you've said in the past, and everything that will eventually be written about them anyway, should be good enough for now.

(I think you were here first, so that'd be on me! I'm probably due for a name change/message board resignation anyway if I'm getting emotionally invested enough to interject myself into conversations about issues that I believe deep down are pointless)

del griffith, Saturday, 10 August 2019 00:34 (three months ago) link

the double del of heat

del griffith, Saturday, 10 August 2019 00:34 (three months ago) link

this song never needed that pre-chorus anyway

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_xumPRwjxA

del griffith, Saturday, 10 August 2019 00:37 (three months ago) link

aw man, that is a good song.

postscript of sorts, i recently took a trip out west and stopped at an antique store in antelope valley w my girlfriend. the proprietor was otherwordly charming and warned us that there might be flash floods coming over the mountains before we walked in. she was really beautiful. she had some eighties-era country music blasting throughout the store and now I wish I had followed up on my my thought of asking her exactly what it was! It was all one artist, one cd (she was old school that way) but it was very much like the tune you posted above. The funny or not-so-funny thing is, ever since that trip i have been wanting to listen to country music before, during, and after. Whether Beachwood Sparks pastiches or Waylon late night songs. The landscape hit me hard, it was right on that part where nevada slants and you can be in California in an instant. This country is insanely beautiful. Damn.

dell (del), Saturday, 10 August 2019 01:32 (three months ago) link

Berman really helped 20 year old me from the south who always associated country with authority and conservatism appreciate country again. just picked up a george strait record at an antique store recently!

Heez, Saturday, 10 August 2019 01:39 (three months ago) link

(unrelated xpost!) and also I was doing a dad visit so no doubt I had some berman-esque thoughts in my mind.

I guess where I stumble is trying to grasp where MAGA-esque chuds get by in that environment. When I am out there I feel absolute awe. I dunno where the gross guns and other stuff comes from.

dell (del), Saturday, 10 August 2019 01:44 (three months ago) link

Interesting enough, my family is planning a trip to Williamsburg, VA where he was born. I wonder if there's a local record store around there or something.

Piano Mouth, Saturday, 10 August 2019 01:45 (three months ago) link

Listening to The Arizona Record for the first time in forever and it's inspiring to recognize the leap from, say, "The Wild Palms" to, I dunno, "I Remember Me" or [your favorite song].

j.o.h.n. (john. a resident of chicago.), Saturday, 10 August 2019 04:04 (three months ago) link

The NY Times obit has been updated with some details about his death (and a statement from his father). For those who are interested.

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Saturday, 10 August 2019 07:35 (three months ago) link

Despite it coming back in print recently, his collection of poetry is still hard to get at the moment. It’s here:

https://www.poemhunter.com/i/ebooks/pdf/david_berman_2012_3.pdf

“Self-Portrait at 28” is particularly special imo

circa1916, Saturday, 10 August 2019 07:41 (three months ago) link

thanks for that

Clay, Saturday, 10 August 2019 07:43 (three months ago) link

Despite it coming back in print recently, his collection of poetry is still hard to get at the moment.

As these things go, there was a statement on Twitter the other day from a publisher (PGM? PGB?) that there will be a reprint soon.

EvR, Saturday, 10 August 2019 08:27 (three months ago) link

from the updated nyt piece:

A spokeswoman for the city’s medical examiner said that Berman had hanged himself, and ruled it suicide.

je est un autre, l'enfer c'est les autres (alex in mainhattan), Saturday, 10 August 2019 12:00 (three months ago) link

I mean, we had been going under the reports that it was a suicide this whole time, but that still hurts to read. Suicides by hanging are also particularly sad for me.

☮ (peace, man), Saturday, 10 August 2019 12:21 (three months ago) link

somehow i had thought he had overdosed, hanging is indeed somehow a terrible way to go, one part being when the corpse is discovered.

je est un autre, l'enfer c'est les autres (alex in mainhattan), Saturday, 10 August 2019 12:35 (three months ago) link

I have had three friends kill themselves in the past ten years and they all hung themselves.

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Saturday, 10 August 2019 15:16 (three months ago) link

probably common knowledge among berman fans, but i didn't realize that (according to the intro to the PDF posted above) the final silver jews concert on jan 31, 2009, in the cavern, consisted of Berman's "15
favorite Silver Jews songs." here is that set:

We Are Real
Play Video
Trains Across the Sea
Play Video
How to Rent a Room
Play Video
Slow Education
Play Video
K-Hole
Play Video
What Is Not but Could Be If
Play Video
The Wild Kindness
Play Video
Room Games and Diamond Rain
Play Video
Suffering Jukebox
Play Video
I'm Getting Back Into Getting Back Into You
Play Video
Random Rules
Play Video
Tennessee
Play Video
We Could Be Looking for the Same Thing
Play Video
Pretty Eyes
Play Video
Smith & Jones Forever

Karl Malone, Saturday, 10 August 2019 16:00 (three months ago) link

jfc i hate the internet. it copied and pasted a bunch of "play video" links. but you get the idea.

play video

Karl Malone, Saturday, 10 August 2019 16:00 (three months ago) link

This may not be for everyone and I haven't seen it linked, but I think this is very lovely.

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/remembering-david-bermans-wild-kindness-869252/

Yerac, Saturday, 10 August 2019 16:04 (three months ago) link

wow Smith & Jones Forever is my favorite SJ song too!! ;_;
whenever my brain is idle i keep thinking about "the wild kindness"

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Saturday, 10 August 2019 16:15 (three months ago) link

grass grows in the icebox
the year ends in the next room

JoeStork, Saturday, 10 August 2019 16:32 (three months ago) link

it may be to dcb’s credit as an enigmatic poet or the fault of my aging brain that for exactly one second I thought “which b side was play video and why did he feel the need to use it as a refrain”

Clay, Saturday, 10 August 2019 17:46 (three months ago) link

video of 6 songs from that Cumberland Caverns show - the last SJ show:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9CD0D43454C6F5DF

You get a few glimpses of William Tyler on guitar, and Bob drums on Trains Across the Sea, then says a few words to the audience. Berman also tells a funny story related to the pipe organ and chandelier in the cave.

alpine static, Saturday, 10 August 2019 17:48 (three months ago) link

the fact that this was - presumably? - filmed for the Bluegrass Underground TV series gives me hope that pro footage of the entire show may someday be released. maybe?

alpine static, Saturday, 10 August 2019 17:53 (three months ago) link

So may I turn a light off and embrace
With resignation, better still with grace,
The dreamless sleep that all awake must face.

meaulnes, Saturday, 10 August 2019 23:41 (three months ago) link

Sleeping, it has been said, is the only love.

del griffith, Sunday, 11 August 2019 01:59 (three months ago) link

Thank god these songs are warm and fun when music gets added to all these lyrics.

... (Eazy), Sunday, 11 August 2019 03:44 (three months ago) link

Would be oppressively dark without it, yeah.

Since the song was released, have found myself idly singing the chorus to “all my happiness is gone” under my breath while just doing stuff around the house. Only half the time aware of how absurd that is.

circa1916, Sunday, 11 August 2019 04:33 (three months ago) link

Me too :/

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Sunday, 11 August 2019 04:57 (three months ago) link

same

it's an insanely catchy song. i know it's a direct rip of a new wave song i can't remember the title of right now, too, but as with all DB songs, the lyrics lift it completely beyond that

Karl Malone, Sunday, 11 August 2019 05:04 (three months ago) link

I Melt with You, but only kinda

circa1916, Sunday, 11 August 2019 05:20 (three months ago) link

yea

flappy bird, Sunday, 11 August 2019 05:24 (three months ago) link

I sang the chorus of darkness and cold while pushing my 1 year old on the swing today.

triple-washed (Sufjan Grafton), Sunday, 11 August 2019 06:03 (three months ago) link

and I sang it entirely bc it is stuck in my head

triple-washed (Sufjan Grafton), Sunday, 11 August 2019 06:05 (three months ago) link

That’s the other one I have in my head a lot... I assume the perverse catchiness of those particular choruses, with those particular lyrics, is “intentional.”

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Sunday, 11 August 2019 06:40 (three months ago) link

The scale of the outpouring of grief/celebration/tributes is amazing

husserl gang (rip van wanko), Sunday, 11 August 2019 08:34 (three months ago) link

I sang the chorus of darkness and cold while pushing my 1 year old on the swing today.


My 2 year old loves to sing along to this and cutely request darkness and cold

Heez, Sunday, 11 August 2019 13:30 (three months ago) link

A friend used to hang out with David back in Virginia and wander abandoned foundries with him. This pic was when he was in a band called Doom, with an infinity symbol instead of the o's.

Cow_Art, Sunday, 11 August 2019 14:53 (three months ago) link

amazing!

tylerw, Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:02 (three months ago) link

Was his hair new wave or human error?

I was traveling with my family in Savannah last week when the news about David came in. I stayed up late that night, drinking whiskey and listening to his music on shuffle in the dark. Throughout the trip we were driving around, seeing the deep south through car windows and it was a good fit. So many words hit harder than they used to.

Last night I rewatched Silver Jew and it was tough going, especially the end when he is praying and crying.

Listened to Starlight Walker on repeat flying back home. It's the album I've always neglected because I like the singer-songwriter stuff more than the Pavement sounding jams. But it clicked this time and I really enjoyed it. Lookout Mountain is my favorite though. I came to the band late in the game and never understood why that album isn't as beloved as others. Candy Jail is so great.

Cow_Art, Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:05 (three months ago) link

oh my god, that's awesome.

☮ (peace, man), Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:05 (three months ago) link

which is he -- the dude on the far left?

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:08 (three months ago) link

yep. that pic is awesome, and thanks so much for the context and story, cow_art.

i am sitting here listening to my own neglected D.C.Berman album, Tanglewood Numbers. i recently found it on my record shelves, miscategorized, away from the others, and didn't even realize i owned it! it's a special gift this morning

Karl Malone, Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:21 (three months ago) link

Good album. Small problems, but I recently started buying vinyl again and had a couple SJ albums in my list of things I absolutely need to have. I imagine they'll be backordered for quite a while now.

☮ (peace, man), Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:54 (three months ago) link

Last night I rewatched Silver Jew and it was tough going, especially the end when he is praying and crying.

Yessir, that's a heavy scene to say the least. Says a lot about the steel of the filmmaker that we even got to see it. I don't know that I would've been able to breach that highly personal (figurative) wall by getting my camera so close to him during the wailing, but I guess he was cool with it.

Heavy scenes like that one are balanced out by lighter ones in the beginning, like when he's asking the pet shop owner for a chewable menorah.

del griffith, Sunday, 11 August 2019 16:16 (three months ago) link

As much of a fan as I am, have never watched "Silver Jew". Will have to rectify that soon.

Lactose Shaolin Wanker (Raymond Cummings), Sunday, 11 August 2019 16:18 (three months ago) link

It's worth your time, for sure. This scene even has a ski vest button-style convenience store mirror in it.

https://j.gifs.com/2x1yAN.gif

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zVzxausyPo

del griffith, Sunday, 11 August 2019 16:43 (three months ago) link

That pic of D♾M is fantastic, thanks a lot for sharing. (I feel like I know the guy in the middle somehow, like he was a camp counselor or something, but I guess lots of guys looked like that.)

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Sunday, 11 August 2019 17:38 (three months ago) link

Don't know the name of the guy in the middle. The guy on the right is Rob Chamberlin. I think Rob and David were Doom. Not sure if the other guy had anything to do with the band or if they were just hanging out together.

Silver Jew was hard to watch with hindsight, not because it is inherently depressing. He was actually at a pretty good place in his life then.

Cow_Art, Sunday, 11 August 2019 18:40 (three months ago) link

it's an insanely catchy song. i know it's a direct rip of a new wave song

Listening for the first time in weeks (and really enjoying it after days of just reading lyrics quoted), I noticed how the synths really are separated from being just a signifier of 80s top-40 pop. They sound live and part of the band, rather than an imitation of or homage to the era when they were a commercial necessity.

... (Eazy), Sunday, 11 August 2019 18:40 (three months ago) link

do we think we can try to figure out the bands for the two setlists on the wall behind the guys in that Doom pic?

alpine static, Sunday, 11 August 2019 18:45 (three months ago) link

my guess for the one on the left is True Believers - I've never heard them but they have songs called:

Marianne
Hard Road
Lucky Moon
Foggy Notion
She's Got
Who Calls My Name

they are also from Austin and Club Dada on the poster next to it is in Dallas - could be the set list is from that gig?

Colonel Poo, Sunday, 11 August 2019 19:03 (three months ago) link

The keyboards are essential to the sound: I love the Mellotron on "She's Making Friends, I'm Turning Stranger" (reminds me of similar passages in Bowie's "Big Brother," oddly), for example.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 11 August 2019 19:37 (three months ago) link

This is the Twitter feed of Silver Jew director Michael Tully, scroll down a bit for some remembrances:

https://twitter.com/tullstoy

Position Position, Sunday, 11 August 2019 21:47 (three months ago) link

I like the way that WaPo piece dwells on Tanglewood Numbers; I agree that album occupies a special place in the SJ discography.

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Sunday, 11 August 2019 22:14 (three months ago) link

Am I the only person whose favourite album is bright flight?

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Sunday, 11 August 2019 22:27 (three months ago) link

No, I am a huge Bright Flight fan. Maybe his most depressing but I love it. The opening of Horseleg Swastikas ("Drunk on a couch in Nashville") might be my favorite Berman moment. Also, I'm a sap, so there is a 50-50 chance I tear up at I Remember You.

Mazzy Tsar (PBKR), Sunday, 11 August 2019 22:50 (three months ago) link

How long has American Water been out of print? I just checked and it seems to be going for crazy money on eBay and doesn't seem to have any sellers (of any format) on discogs at all. How can this be? This album was everywhere!

Paul Ponzi, Sunday, 11 August 2019 23:22 (three months ago) link

I noticed the same with Actual Air back in May -- the '99 Open City/Grove Press printing was going for $55 used online (now $275, though a 2019 reprint also is now out).

... (Eazy), Sunday, 11 August 2019 23:31 (three months ago) link

Bright Flight is my second favorite, about The Natural Bridge.

Lactose Shaolin Wanker (Raymond Cummings), Sunday, 11 August 2019 23:31 (three months ago) link

"after"

Lactose Shaolin Wanker (Raymond Cummings), Sunday, 11 August 2019 23:31 (three months ago) link

lol and to think I bought my paperback copy of Actual Air for $2 in the remaindered section of the campus bookstore in late '09.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 11 August 2019 23:32 (three months ago) link

How long has American Water been out of print? I just checked and it seems to be going for crazy money on eBay and doesn't seem to have any sellers (of any format) on discogs at all. How can this be? This album was everywhere!

― Paul Ponzi, Sunday, August 11, 2019 11:22 PM (twenty-three minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

Not out of print, afaik. Just that everybody bought the entire stock last week.

☮ (peace, man), Sunday, 11 August 2019 23:47 (three months ago) link

Caution to anyone clicking on circa1916's poemhunter link upthread! It's full of poems from a David Berman other than our David Berman.

$2 is a tough price to beat. Free is also good, but you know if they could, they'd sell the Air.

I'm so happy to still have my '99 Open City Actual Air, even though the pages are stiff from being waterlogged in some long-forgotten beverage that spilled on it some night many nights ago. I lent my little hardcover reprint edition out to some girl named Deborah that I hung out with twice in 2003, and now I'm starting to worry I might never get it back.

del griffith, Sunday, 11 August 2019 23:48 (three months ago) link

Deborah F from Manhattan Beach, California: if you're reading this I hope you at least read the book, you scoundrel!

del griffith, Sunday, 11 August 2019 23:52 (three months ago) link

Oh are there bogus poems in that link? My bad.

circa1916, Sunday, 11 August 2019 23:54 (three months ago) link

It's cool. We were warned of impostor Davids. The premonitions never ceased with the guy.

http://mentholmountains.blogspot.com/2019/05/fyi-other-david-bermans.html

del griffith, Sunday, 11 August 2019 23:58 (three months ago) link

cvilleweekly also had some nice memories.

https://www.c-ville.com/words-music-and-wit-indie-rock-icon-david-berman-touched-local-lives/

Yerac, Monday, 12 August 2019 00:03 (three months ago) link

That article is good, though this is an odd remark (at least given the circumstances):

And of that Purple Mountains record, Hlad says, (...) “It’s so personal, and so revealing. It’s like Blood on the Tracks, but a much better record. And I’ll stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table and tell him that.”


Like, go ahead... Dylan will probably shrug, raise an eyebrow, and say, “How’d you get in here?”

I guess it is true to the spirit of DCB, in a way; dissing other artists is a thread that runs thru many of his interviews. (The main thing I remember from seeing the Silver Jews the first time was Berman delivering a sneering put-down of Brian Wilson from the stage.) I suppose he “pulled no punches,”or just had some curmudgeonly tendencies (like us all); which isn’t an aspect of his character that’s usually highlighted in these tributes.

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Monday, 12 August 2019 00:46 (three months ago) link

Well, at least when he did it, it was funny.

e.g. "NIRVANA: BUSH:: REAGAN: BUSH"

del griffith, Monday, 12 August 2019 00:59 (three months ago) link

Kind of a riff on Steve Earle’s old line “Townes Van Zandt's the best songwriter in the world, and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that.”

... (Eazy), Monday, 12 August 2019 01:07 (three months ago) link

Ah, I didn’t know that reference.

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Monday, 12 August 2019 01:08 (three months ago) link

no wonder dylan gets so grumpy, look at this shit his coffee table has to deal with

Karl Malone, Monday, 12 August 2019 01:24 (three months ago) link

and i'll stand on bob dylan's coffee table and look him in the eye and say that

Karl Malone, Monday, 12 August 2019 01:24 (three months ago) link

Lookout Mountain is probably my favorite and most listened to, but I feel like Tanglewood & American Water are definitely his twin masterpieces, everything you need to know about him & Silver Jews is in those records.

The night before news of his death broke, I saw a gig by NYC antifolk/cartoonist guy Jeffrey Lewis and bought one of these delightful SilverJewsLand
prints that he was selling, framed & hung it in my kitchen as soon as I got home. Woke up the next morning, saw the news, and thought I cant handle looking at this over morning coffee every day and took it right down. Maybe someday it'll go back up but I dunno when.

I'm envious of people that have been able to listen to the albums since his death, I just dont feel like I'll be able to handle engaging with any of the material for a while.

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Monday, 12 August 2019 01:25 (three months ago) link

many, many xps but the other gothy guy on the right in that old UVA pic is Rob Chamberlain who I met when he was working at Strand Books shortly after he was replaced by Mark Ibold as bassist in Pavement.

He's one of the many obscure members of Pavement that not many people know of, others being early drummers Jeff Doyle, Kelly Hensley & Jason Fawkes (all early drummers).

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Monday, 12 August 2019 01:39 (three months ago) link

Wow, I’ve never heard of any of those guys. When were they members — like before Steve & Spiral even recorded with Gary?

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Monday, 12 August 2019 01:45 (three months ago) link

The early Pavement show I saw (at the Uptown bar in Minneapolis) had a drummer both the door and making toast.

... (Eazy), Monday, 12 August 2019 01:47 (three months ago) link

*both working the door

... (Eazy), Monday, 12 August 2019 01:47 (three months ago) link

This is Rob's band, they were great live... much better than this. They were at the time contemporaries of the Silver Jews & Pavement if you could believe that lol

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WId0rLAItJo

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Monday, 12 August 2019 01:51 (three months ago) link

Those other guys were Stockton dudes who drummed on the early stuff (not to say Gary didn't either, but Gary was more of the engineer in the very beginning but sort of became the drummer by default). I think Perfect Sound Forever was the first Pavement record where the lineup was just SM/Spiral/Gary.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Monday, 12 August 2019 01:53 (three months ago) link

I remember reading somewhere that Scott had a different band called “Pavement,” and wondered if there was any bleedover.

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Monday, 12 August 2019 02:03 (three months ago) link

Yeah, Scott's ASU band was named Pavement briefly (in '87):

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DyXheS4UcAEeGkU?format=jpg&name=4096x4096

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Monday, 12 August 2019 03:33 (three months ago) link

2/3rds of The Silver Jews (Hazel Figurine & DCB) at Steve Keene's studio in 1991 circa Dime Map Of The Reef:
https://i.imgur.com/peWdS9I.jpg

In Portland, late 2018 post Bejar-sessions:
https://i.imgur.com/OMwrp2Z.jpg

one of DCB's last short form broadcasts (trigger warning: embedded "indie" tweet):

"Albania..." pic.twitter.com/zGf3msItmi

— purple mountains (@prplmtns) July 27, 2019

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Monday, 12 August 2019 04:11 (three months ago) link

This scanned interview from 2003 is really good.

“Out of James Tate and Charles Wright I got to meet grown dignified men who play with fucking words all day. They gave me permission to believe I could try for that in life.”

Back in 2003, as a grad student at @EmersonCollege I got to interview David Berman for Beacon Street Review (now @redividermag). I could not believe someone so talented (Actual Air from @dragcityrecords is actually perfect) would say yes, but he did: https://t.co/MOtQa6EfYo

— Kathleen Rooney (@KathleenMRooney) August 12, 2019

... (Eazy), Monday, 12 August 2019 16:27 (three months ago) link

Re the American Water talk up above, I was surprised by the prices it's going for as well - even the CD copy. I could have swore I had a copy, but I guess I never did upgrade my old cassette. Hopefully Drag City gets more in some day soon. I also never got around to getting Tanglewood either and it's out of stock.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 12 August 2019 16:44 (three months ago) link

just dug up a copy of Minus Times from 2003 with a Berman poem called "The Irish Space Program."

Heez, Monday, 12 August 2019 17:29 (three months ago) link

I vaguely remember that one. It was from around the same time as "The High Numbers." https://believermag.com/the-high-numbers/

If you want to post it here, I for one would be much obliged.

del griffith, Monday, 12 August 2019 17:38 (three months ago) link

I'll have to transcribe it later when I'm less busy, but will do. A friend of mine got a story published in the same one.

Heez, Monday, 12 August 2019 17:49 (three months ago) link

David Berman, “The Irish Space Program,” published in the Minus Times. pic.twitter.com/iilqtWUTq9

— William Boyle (@wmboyle4) August 8, 2019

Number None, Monday, 12 August 2019 17:50 (three months ago) link

go raibh maith agat!

del griffith, Monday, 12 August 2019 17:55 (three months ago) link

drag city eulogy up

https://www.dragcity.com/news/2019-08-12-call-me-from-albemarle

global tetrahedron, Monday, 12 August 2019 18:58 (three months ago) link

I stopped by Amoeba earlier; the Silver Jews section was entirely cleaned out (no copies of Purple Mtns, either).

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Monday, 12 August 2019 19:45 (three months ago) link

Snow Falls in Manhattan is just so warm and wonderful, A writer's song. The hopeful heart of the album.

Mazzy Tsar (PBKR), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 00:44 (three months ago) link

xp from the 2003 interview linked above:

”The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is like the “Stairway to Heaven” of twentieth-century poetry.

so this is a knock and not a compliment then ?

budo jeru, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 01:01 (three months ago) link

Just now from Lloyd Cole.

You know the father. You know that haircut. He spent almost 40 years tilting against it, and we can be thankful for the spoils. It clearly wasn't all fun for him. I was a big fan. Recently, I was really happy to find that he enjoyed my stuff, too.

— Lloyd Cole (@Lloyd_Cole) August 13, 2019

DB told me that the time he was in Dallas, which inspired my favourite of his songs, they were listening to Rattlesnakes. Neil and I will figure a way to play Dallas on this upcoming tour.

— Lloyd Cole (@Lloyd_Cole) August 13, 2019

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 01:51 (three months ago) link

Another remembrance, from one of the publishers of Actual Air:

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2019-08-12/david-berman-appreciation-thomas-beller

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 05:06 (three months ago) link

the setback can be a setup for a comeback line is apparently from a self-help book.

https://www.amazon.com/Setback-Setup-Comeback-Willie-Jolley/dp/0312267738

☮ (peace, man), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 15:36 (three months ago) link

that la times thing is like thomas-beller-appreciation-thomas-beller

adam, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 15:46 (three months ago) link

i'm having such a laugh listening to joos. so many funny moments. the seagulls and horns on 'party barge'. i still can't really stomach purple mountains, but my god, what a swan song.

meaulnes, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 18:09 (three months ago) link

my ex bandmate would sometimes play SJ albums - after picking up bright flight just because he liked the cover art, he became quite the fan. i'd listen casually, though somehow DB mostly flew under my radar all these years. i guess you can't always discover everything. i clicked on this thread last week as ned posted the news, but i didn't scroll to the most recent post -- i only saw the record cover. i thought that it looked like a cool album, and got listening - then read the news. i've been rinsing the catalogue since; reading poetry, his reddit ama, email screenshots, and i already feel so familiar - not to mention inspired. the songs are so effortless, simple, so much fun. he seemed so charismatic for a deep introvert. i hope actual air is reprinted.

meaulnes, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 18:17 (three months ago) link

the setback can be a setup for a comeback line is apparently from a self-help book

Ah, good catch! He at least made it his own by grafting on the "if you don't let up" part, which allows the whole line to pass a google purity test, technically.

This reminds me, sometime around 2002 I was reading "The Wild Palms" by William Faulkner, and I happened upon the phrase "actual air" on page 161.

and now he knew it was not the same deer because he saw three at one time, does or bucks he did not know which since they were all antlerless in May and besides he had never seen one of any land anywhere before except on a Christmas card; and then the rabbit, drowned, dead anyway, already torn open, the bird, the hawk standing upon it - the erected crest, the hard vicious patrician nose, the intolerant omnivorous yellow eye and he kicking at it, lacking it lurching and broadwinged into the actual air.

I emailed David to ask if that's where he borrowed it from, and he said he might've, but if he did it wasn't intentional. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but the fact that The Arizona Record had a song called "The Wild Palms" can probably be introduced as evidence.

del griffith, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 18:41 (three months ago) link

Hey Del G., do you remember what year we saw him give a reading at St. Mary's?

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 18:55 (three months ago) link

xp I always assumed the title "The Wild Palms" had something to do with the TV series which aired a few months before The Arizona Record came out; but I guess a Faulkner novel seems like a more likely source.

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 18:56 (three months ago) link

that reading at Saint Mary's must've been 2002? 2003? I'm having no luck googling for a trace of it.

How have I never heard of the 1993 teevee Wild Palms? It sounds totally badass!

In the United States in the year 2007, the right-wing "Fathers" dominate large sections in politics and in the media. A libertarian movement, the "Friends", opposes the government, often making use of underground guerrilla tactics. The Fathers' leader is California's Senator Tony Kreutzer, who is also the leader of the religious sect "Church of Synthiotics" (similar to Scientology) and owner of the "Wild Palms" media group. Kreutzer's TV station "Channel 3" is about to start a new television format, "Church Windows", which creates a virtual reality on the basis of popular shows like sitcoms, using a new technique called "Mimecom".

Harry Wyckoff is a successful patent attorney on the brink of becoming a partner in the legal agency where he works. He has two children with his wife Grace, a perfect housewife who also moonlights as a boutique owner: 11-year-old Coty, who has just been cast for the new "Channel 3" series, and the ever-silent 4-year-old Deirdre. His mother-in-law is the impossibly chic socialite and interior decorator Josie Ito, a woman of strong will and numerous connections. At night, Wyckoff is plagued by strange dreams of a rhinoceros and a faceless woman who has palm trees tattooed on her body.

del griffith, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 19:20 (three months ago) link

Lol, I think I watched that entire show and was very into it, but my recollection is quite vague (I.e I had to click the link to even recall it).

Mazzy Tsar (PBKR), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 19:32 (three months ago) link

Snow is Falling is so comforting tonight. I still haven't processed this and how sad am I about someone I never met.

kraudive, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 20:34 (three months ago) link

I started a trip the morning I heard the news. Just digesting now from home. Lots to read in this thread, for which I'm grateful.

Duke, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 21:11 (three months ago) link

the penultimate verse of snow is falling, the "songs build little rooms in time" one, struck me as being too perfect to exist when i first read it on the lyric sheet, it just hovered an inch above the paper. A couple of days later it was still beautiful but a lot more concretely sad.

Yeah party barge is a riot, i feel like if i had ever made a silver jews c90, i would bookend it with that and silver pageant off starlite walker. the joos gave you the full emotional spectrum.

Does anyone have the DCB's favourite chords insert that came with (i think) Bright Flight (or maybe tanglewood numbers?) I spent many happy hours mangling away inchoate SJs numbe

cw, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 22:16 (three months ago) link

...rs to that. i think it said "put your fingers on the polar bears noses" if anyone has it and could scan it i would be eternally grateful.

cw, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 22:18 (three months ago) link

That's the insert with Lookout Mountain... I can't scan right now, I'm afraid.

Duke, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 22:25 (three months ago) link

I noticed he gave the chords on the lyric sheet to the songs on the Purple Mountains album. But sometimes they were not quite right. And he wrote "Fm7" for F7.

Duke, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 22:27 (three months ago) link

This reminds me, sometime around 2002 I was reading "The Wild Palms" by William Faulkner, and I happened upon the phrase "actual air" on page 161.

and now he knew it was not the same deer because he saw three at one time, does or bucks he did not know which since they were all antlerless in May and besides he had never seen one of any land anywhere before except on a Christmas card; and then the rabbit, drowned, dead anyway, already torn open, the bird, the hawk standing upon it - the erected crest, the hard vicious patrician nose, the intolerant omnivorous yellow eye and he kicking at it, lacking it lurching and broadwinged into the actual air.

I emailed David to ask if that's where he borrowed it from, and he said he might've, but if he did it wasn't intentional. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but the fact that The Arizona Record had a song called "The Wild Palms" can probably be introduced as evidence.

― del griffith, Tuesday, August 13, 2019 2:41 PM (three hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

This reminds me of when I was visiting a friend in Virginia and happened to see her utility bill from the water company - it was called American Water! Probably not a coincidence.

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 22:36 (three months ago) link

(via discogs)

☮ (peace, man), Wednesday, 14 August 2019 00:00 (three months ago) link

silver chords via discogs via peace, man

thank you!

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 14 August 2019 00:15 (three months ago) link

wait what's the significance of that chord chart?

husserl gang (rip van wanko), Wednesday, 14 August 2019 02:31 (three months ago) link

Does anyone have the DCB's favourite chords insert that came with (i think) Bright Flight (or maybe tanglewood numbers?) I spent many happy hours mangling away inchoate SJs numbe

― cw, Tuesday, August 13, 2019 5:16 PM (four hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

...rs to that. i think it said "put your fingers on the polar bears noses" if anyone has it and could scan it i would be eternally grateful.

― cw, Tuesday, August 13, 2019 5:18 PM (four hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

That's the insert with Lookout Mountain... I can't scan right now, I'm afraid.

― Duke, Tuesday, August 13, 2019 5:25 PM (four hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 14 August 2019 02:45 (three months ago) link

aha, ty

husserl gang (rip van wanko), Wednesday, 14 August 2019 02:50 (three months ago) link

thanks a million, peace, man

cw, Wednesday, 14 August 2019 07:59 (three months ago) link

yeah XX3210 is an Fmaj7 not an Fm7

this is the chord mentioned by DCB as being the one ("looks like a staircase") that he identified as being his chord (cf. the opening of Dallas) in those amazing Paula Crossfield phone interviews xxxxxxp thread

it does have a kind of weirdly minor feel in that voicing though (say vs. X8109108 or 1X332X)

linee, Wednesday, 14 August 2019 09:01 (three months ago) link

Yeah, I see he means Fmaj7. Just knew Fm7 sounded wrong and an F7 sounded fine, e.g. on That's The Way That I Feel.

Duke, Wednesday, 14 August 2019 12:41 (three months ago) link

Yeah thanks peace, man -- hadn't ever seen that before. And it just occurred to me there's a good chance I learned Fmaj7 from playing Trains Across the Sea when I was first learning guitar.

Looking forward to a time when I can listen to the Purple Mountains album again without feeling completely gutted. I did tell my therapist to check out Storyline Fever today though.

Vaguely Threatening CAPTCHAs, Wednesday, 14 August 2019 19:36 (three months ago) link

A last interview and remembrances from Will Oldham and a few others:

https://www.leoweekly.com/2019/08/remembering-david-berman-leader-silver-jews-purple-mountains

... (Eazy), Thursday, 15 August 2019 00:44 (three months ago) link

From Oldham's tribute:

It was in recent weeks, David proposed that he, Bill Callahan and I tour together as the ‘Monsieurs of Drag City,’ with all three of us on stage trading off songs.

... (Eazy), Thursday, 15 August 2019 00:46 (three months ago) link

From Oldham's tribute:

/It was in recent weeks, David proposed that he, Bill Callahan and I tour together as the ‘Monsieurs of Drag City,’ with all three of us on stage trading off songs./


That trio basically defined my college years. Despite the fact that they’re all friends, can’t imagine that ever would’ve happened.

circa1916, Thursday, 15 August 2019 03:11 (three months ago) link

that would have been amazing

Karl Malone, Thursday, 15 August 2019 05:47 (three months ago) link

it is tough to get me out of the house sometimes. i would logroll down valleys for that show

Karl Malone, Thursday, 15 August 2019 05:47 (three months ago) link

yeah i woulda driven cross-country for that, basically my dream show

Clay, Thursday, 15 August 2019 06:11 (three months ago) link

In That's Just the Way That I Feel, is he pronouncing 'gin' with a hard G? It sure sounds like it to me and kinda reminds me of 'gime' from Send in the Clouds. Does he have other purposeful mispronunciations in his work?

☮ (peace, man), Thursday, 15 August 2019 12:48 (three months ago) link

https://youtu.be/MdNeRgPKfOI

33:00 in

Bob Nastanovich tells a pretty funny story about how he and Berman heckled Nirvana at NYC before they blew up.

circa1916, Thursday, 15 August 2019 15:52 (three months ago) link

*At a NYC show

circa1916, Thursday, 15 August 2019 15:53 (three months ago) link

He was a notorious heckler in his Nashville years.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 15 August 2019 16:09 (three months ago) link

haha, "Sub Pop destruction!" I'd heard tell of the night David yelled upstage to Krist "you look like a dork up there!" but I didn't know it escalated like that. Dollar budweisers at the grocery store afterwards, so perfect. That's almost as good as Bob's recollection that Kim and Thurston's phone number was 212-219-2658.

by the way, that story reminds me of David getting the cops called on him for throwing a CD at Frank Black's head in 1994:

"I remember years ago I got into a fight with Frank Black backstage at a concert. It was right after 'Starlite Walker' had come out... It was after his second album came out and I liked that. I had gone backstage to ask him to produce something of mine and he'd been this total bitch, you know I hate people who treat you with contempt who're like 'who the fuck do you think you are coming backstage into my dressing room?' and such and so what I'd done was I'd taken the CD and had brought it to give it to him to listen to and I like just went phssssss..." David takes a Josh Rouse CD off the table and imitates throwing it. "Right at his head like a Chinese throwing star and it went tchhhh and kinda glanced off the top of his forehead and his manager just freaked out and called the police and was like 'I want this man arrested for attempted assault on Frank Black, and I was 'oh god, bullshit man!' I was like, 'you're such a pussy, Frank Black, you're gonna have this guy arrest me for that? Come on.' So they handcuffed me and took me out to the police car. All the bouncers in the club and the police were like, 'god this guy's been...' they probably were basically saying behind my back, 'this guy's a fucking complaining New York Jew' you know, bitching da da da and they finally came back and said they'd decided not to press charges."

del griffith, Thursday, 15 August 2019 17:55 (three months ago) link

Here's his obituary in The Tennessean, published yesterday.

O to be a fly on the wall at that tangle of nicotine swans to be held in Nashville at a later date.

del griffith, Thursday, 15 August 2019 18:02 (three months ago) link

Omigosh, that frank black story is awesome. Also love the Josh Rouse reference...

regarding the nicotine swans, i felt like i should have gone to the thing in new york at the former whitney site last wk but like a, i felt horrible last wk and didn't feel much like "going out" and b, it's always weird or even vaguely horrifying to go to things like that and see these ppl who are other versions of yourself? i.e. i'm sure that most of the middle-aged white guys who were in attendance are lovely ppl but i'm not enlightened enough yet to look into that sort of mirror.

dell (del), Thursday, 15 August 2019 18:43 (three months ago) link

That’s a very good obituary that captures him well.

Mazzy Tsar (PBKR), Thursday, 15 August 2019 19:21 (three months ago) link

https://youtu.be/MdNeRgPKfOI

33:00 in

Bob Nastanovich tells a pretty funny story about how he and Berman heckled Nirvana at NYC before they blew up.

― circa1916, Thursday, August 15, 2019 11:52 AM (four hours ago)

I just listened to Bob's interview and I think this is that show: https://youtu.be/YGsVdq0a12E

You can hear the dork/jock exchange after Krist whines about his bass becoming unplugged at 12:50.

city worker, Thursday, 15 August 2019 20:35 (three months ago) link

Bob mentions Tanya Small in the interview, but (more obscure band member trivia) she was actually in The Silver Jews under the pseudonym Spill Fantauzza on additional percussion.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 15 August 2019 20:40 (three months ago) link

You can hear the dork/jock exchange after Krist whines about his bass becoming unplugged at 12:50.

― city worker, Thursday, August 15, 2019 4:35 PM (eight minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

omg thank you for finding this, incredible. I love that you can hear SM echoing "dork!" there as well.

(Side note, never been a nirvana fan so honestly wondering - is krist joking/goofing with that whole whiny routine? "You said you were gonna tape my cord to the wall and you DIDNT, you said you were gonna DO it, and it came unPLUGGED! You should hire an electrician to put in new receptacles!" Even a nun would be tempted to heckle a dork like that.)

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Thursday, 15 August 2019 20:53 (three months ago) link

xp: Hold on, that doesn't appear to be correct. "Spill" is Jill Fantauzza. According to Bob, Tanya Small plays on either Dime Map or Arizona Record.. but does not show up on the credits. He says "my roommate Tanya plays on the first singes" in an audio interview, but in print he says his roommate "Jill" plays on Dime Map.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 15 August 2019 21:01 (three months ago) link

Nice Slacks interview from '92, I bolded some relevant passages:

The following was conducted during a soundcheck at the Khyber Pass Pub in Philadelphia on July 30, (1992).

NS= Nice Slacks
SS= Spiral Stairs
BN= Bob Nastanovich
MI= Mark Ibold
GY= Gary Young

NS: Mic's over here, it looks like this thing is working...Alright, how much beer do you generally drink before a show?

BN: Four to eight

SS: It depends on the alcohol content of the beer. Here, beers are like, 3.2 percent, so probably on average, six. Other places...

BN: six to twelve.

SS: ...they're heavier.

BN: We prefer watery domestics to the bitter ales.

SS: It depends on the alcohol content of the beer. Here, beers are like, 3.2 percent, so probably on average, six. Other places...

BN: six to twelve.

SS: ...they're heavier.

BN: We prefer watery domestics to the bitter ales.

SS: I like a few stuff cocktails before the show, too. It gets me going a little better.

BN: See, I don't drink hard liquor. Scott does. He's smoother. He likes small, sour drinks.

NS: And Gary, of course, likes anything.

BN: Gary drinks whatever you put in front of him, it doesn't have to be alcohol, he's just always thirsty.

NS: You think you'll ever be in _Sassy_ magazine?

BN: I hope so! I don't know. That would be great! I've only read one.

SS: We're only gonna be in _Sassy_ magazine if we can pose with Rebecca Odes, of Love Child. NS: And what's the deal with this "Beverly Hills 90210" fiasco? [According to the __East_Coast_Rocker_, Scott and Bob beat up Jason "Brandon" Priestly]

SS: Well, you'd have to ask Bob that question.

BN: Absolutely true. NS: Then that really happened?

BN: It's been blown way out of proportion, it wasn't really that big of a deal.

NS: Give us the real story. Fuck the _East_Coast_Rocker_ version!!

BN: It was actually like a tryout in Los Angeles to be on the program. They didn't tell us exactly what we were gonna do if we made it onto the show, but it was a tryout. Hypnolovewheel was there, and a couple other bands sort of on the same fame level as us. And we went in there and we were a little nervous 'cause we were playing in this...kind of a fancy production studio type of place. We had to come in there and set up all our equipment and we were all by ourselves. It was sort of an intimidating atmosphere and we got drunk, just beer drunk...

NS: That's a really new thing for you guys.

BN: (chuckling)...And this...Luke Perry and Jason Priestly were just hanging out, figuring this is a way for them to check out the fresh, new indie sounds in this country. We didn't really try to talk to 'em or anything like that, we just...we were hoping they wouldn't come off as like, snotty or pretentious, and they didn't really, we didn't really give 'em a chance. I thought the way they treated Scott was a little bit unneccessarily unfriendly and I was just in a tense mood...

NS: What'd they do to Scott?

BN: I sort of, I shook the guy's [J. Priestly's] hand...They were just treating him like he was...they were treating him without respect, just kinda like, "Who is this slimeball, rock guy from Northern California," or something like that. So I just took a friendly swing at the guy and I wasn't intending to hit him-- I was just like, "Man, wouldn't it be fuckin' cool..." I went up to Scott and said, "Wouldn't it be outrageous, or how much would you give me if I punched the guy in the mouth?" (laughter)...And Scott said, "Twenty Bucks," so I went over there and...I mean I would hit you as hard on the arm as I hit his mouth and you might go, "Ow," but it wasn't as hard as I could hit him, it was a sucker punch. And I cut my knuckle a tiny bit on his tooth...

NS: Yeah, you showed me the scar last night.

BN: It's actually almost gone. It's just a little dot now, but that's the cool part, as I did scratch my knuckle on his tooth and it did bleed, but he laughed it off a like he new I wasn't trying to hit it hard. It wasn't an ugly situation at all.

NS: Oh, so you didn't physically assault him, as the magazine said.

BN: No, no. Well, technically, yes. I could have gotten in big trouble...

NS: But screw technicalities!

BN: Right! Well, see, the thing is when yr dealing with somebody on that fame level, then you don't wanna fuck around with that at all, but the fact that I got away with it...I just basically blew it off as not a big deal and then it just bacame a big rumor. You know, it was funny, the way it's been blown out of proportion. I mean, I've been congratulated more for that than anything else in my life! And I have nothing against the guy...I've seen his program two or three times. I don't enjoy it--to me it's just kind of vague. I don't understand the world that's portrayed on the program. That's basically the story. (laughs) Sorry to disappoint you! I know you were expecting something like "It was a good, hard hit!"

NS: You could have at least knowcked his teeth out!

SS: [returning from talking with the soundman] Oh, you guys are still talking about "Beverly HIlls 90210!"

NS: Scott, how did you meet steve?

SS: I met Steve at this...Well, when we were kids I took disco lessons (laughter) and I met Steve...this girl I was taking disco lessons from, it was his neighbor, so we hooked up that way.

NS: How old were you?

SS: I think I was about 10 or 12.

NS: What made you decide to form a band?

SS: Well, the very first time I saw, um...what band was it? I can't remember their name, but they played at the Stockton Civic Auditorium and...Oh, it was the Doobie Brothers! [I stare at him in shock] You know, have you ever heard of the Doobie Brothers?

NS: [amazed] Uh, yeah.

SS: Yeah, the Doobie Brothers. (laughs) I'm just joking with you!

NS: Thank God! For a second there, uh...

SS: No, the reason we started a band was-- See, Bob was out here on the East Coast and we were on the West Coast and Steve and Bob have this ongoing rivalry. And Bob and Steve have been in bands before, like when they went to school together...

BN: [chanting in the background] Ectoslavia! Ectoslavia! Ectoslavia! Ectoslavia!

SS: What was the other band?

BN: The Hammer Twins

SS: Hammer Twins. Anyway, it started as a rivalry...'cause Bob kicked Steve out of Ectoslavia...

BN: Cause he was too good of a guitar player.

NS: Alright, Gary, this question's for you: Is Treble Kicker still an active record label?

GY: That's Scott's label, ask him.

NS: Scott?

SS: Yes, it is. We have five or six projects on the shelf right now, but that's about it. (laughs) I don't know if they'll ever come out.

NS: Who writes Pavement's lyrics?

SS: Steve writes the majority of them. Gary writes, uhhhh, maybe, uhhhh, Gary writes none of the lyrics.

GY: Three words I wrote!

NS: What were they?

GY: I don't know.

SS: Well, that tells you right there.

NS: What the hell inspires you guys?

SS: What inspires us?

NS: Yeah, to write the sort of lyrics that you do.

SS: Well, we just recorded a new EP.

NS: Yeah, is this the one with the A-side from the album?

SS: No, that was the "Trigger Cut" single. BN: It's the _Watery,_Domestic_EP.

SS: The new EP is gonna be called Watery, Domestic.

BN: It's about watery, American lager.

SS: A lot of the lyrics on that have to do with...

NS: Beer!?

SS: No, with Stockton.

BN: It's our first thematic work.

NS: Are we ever gonna see the Pavement equivalent of "Jesus Christ Superstar?"

SS: That's kinda what it is.

NS: The thematic box set?

SS: IT's a cross between the Stranglers and um, what was that one? Screech? This one band Screech, have you heard of them?

NS: No.

SS: It's this band from northern California.

NS: So it's a cross between the Stranglers and Screech?

SS: Naw, Steve's lyrics are just inspired by, just anything that comes to his mind. I mean, there's a lot of stuff, you know. Pick a song and he'll...

NS: Are there any songs that you feel stand out as having a particular meaning to them?

SS: Sure, all of 'em do!

NS: Well, one of my favorites from _Slanted_and_Enchanted_ is "Perfume V."

NS: Yeah that's a great song. SS: The lyrics to that are just amazing.

NS: What are they about?

SS: Well, actually it is about Steve's old cat, if you wanna get down to it! (laughs) Actually, Steve's girlfriend's cat. And he had this dream one-- or not drea-- but he was kinda pissed at her so he envisioned throwing this cat in...We live really close to a nuclear power plant. And so, he envisioned taking this cat and throwing it into the nuclear power plant.

NS: The Pavement world of mutation!

SS: (laughs) Yeah!

NS: How and when did Gary join the band?

SS: How? Well, we've done a lot of recording at Gary's studio, Louder Than You Think, and he kinda evolved into being our drummer because we wanted more of a live sound on the records. Why is he our drummer? Well...(laughs) We don't have an answer for that!

NS: Anyone who sees you [play live] can figure that out! How did Pavement hook up with Dan Koretzkey and Drag City?

SS: I met Dan at this...I was in Chicago and I was at this really bad rave party, you know?

NS: Acid House!?

SS: yeah, and this guy, there was this one guy who was like, um, he had this Drag City t-shirt on. O.K. Drag City wasn't a label at the time. He had this DC t-shirt on, and then he was wearing...these Speedos and he was dancin' around. And this guy, he was supposedly one of the biggest, like, ravers in Chicago.

NS: And it was Dan?

SS: It was Dan, yeah. And anyway, for some weird reason they played our first single at this place and he knew about it. Steve and I were just kinda like, "Yeah, this is great, this is us!" and he overheard us and he decided, you know, he wanted us to be on his label. He's like a big, kind of a...Have you ever met Dan?

NS: Not personally...

SS: He's a big, like, cult figure in Chicago. An underground cult figure.

NS: What made Steve move to New York?

SS: Let's see...I'd probably have to say the smell of New York. Yeah! (laughter)

NS: Why did you add Bob and Mark?

SS: ...fill in for Gary. But also, more importantly, that's really not the reason. Bob's always been a part of this band from the start in spirit. We couldn't get by without Bob. Mark joined because we knew he was an amazing bass player.

NS: From the Dustdevils [at the time]?

SS: Well, I didn't know he was in the Dustdevils. I heard he was in this band called Heavy Load...I heard a couple of their records and someone told me Mark was their bass player and I was just like, "Yeah, great!"

NS: [to Mr. Ibold who is on stage tuning] Hey Mark! How did you hook up with Pavement?

MI: Well...I'd been living in New York, and Bob and Steve were living in New York. I guess I originally met these guys when after a Dustdevils show, when a friend of Bob's said, "What the hell are you doing in the Dustdevils, you're wasting your time. You should be playing in our band from Virginia." I forgot the name of the band...Bob! S'cuse me! [ducks down from the stage to talk to Bob] Bob, what was the name of the band that Dave Berman asked me to join after one of the Dustdevils' shos?

BN: Oh, man! That would be Ectoslavia!

NS: The infamous Ectoslavia!

MI: he said, "Man, you shouldn't be playing with the Dustdevils, you should be playing with Ectoslavia." I was like, "Man, what a dick!" How could he say that after one of our shows? And then I kept running into those guys at other shows and stuff. I just ended up joining the band last summer.

NS: Are the Dustdevils still a working unit?

MI: Yeah, on hiatus right now.

NS: [to Bob] So, who are these mysterious Silver Jews characters?

BN: That would be David Berman and...it's his band, he writes most of the songs. He's currently in Virginia. And I just play, whatever. We record in my living room.

NS: So the other two guys are fake, in other words?

BN: No, I'm in the band, I'm a full-time member of the band.

NS: No, the "ashtray" credit man. [On the Jews' Dime Map of the Reef EP Spill Fantauzza is credited for "armrest, ashtray."]

BN: Oh, that's a woman, Jill Fantauzza! Yeah, she's my roommate, and she's in the band.

NS: And the other guitarists?

BN: the other guitarist is Hazel Figurine.

NS: [horrified] They're real people!

BN: yeah.

NS: Is that her real name?

BN: No, Hazel's a boy, a young boy. He's 17. he's...for a 17-year old he's pretty sexually deranged. He sleeps with Jill. That's the reason he's in the band.

NS: Strange...Any more plans to release stuff under that name [Silver Jews]?

BN: We're going to South Carolina to make a record: August 15th through 18th at a beach house.

NS: Cool.

BN: It'll be great. And we're gonna add...Hunter Kennedy is gonna be in the band, who's a South Carolinian. He's a great writer.

NS: Any sessions from the same tape that the EP was drawn from gonna be released?

BN: Yeah, there's like 35 songs that we've already finished. It's gonna be on Drag City, it's gonna be a full-length album.

NS: [Will it have the] same basement, lo-fi, home recorded[ sound as the EP]?

BN: I imagine so, we might go with a four-track for some of it. We have a keyboard-- a really, really old organ.

NS: Do you distort it like Pavement do?

BN: No, not at all. We try to make it sound as clear and polished as possible. Usually we record into one of these [points to my tape recorder]. That single was recorded into one of these.

NS: By the way, who does play Pavement's keyboards?

SS: Steve and I.

NS: What do you use, old analogs? They sound very gritty.

SS: No, we don't. We have...they're very modern keyboards.

NS: You play them through a distortion pedal?

SS: Some of the stuff, yeah.

NS: Who played bass before Mark? I mean, on the records.

SS: There's no bass on the records. There's ony two songs that have bass on the records.

NS: What about Slanted and Enchanted?

SS: One song has bass.

NS: "Box Elder" would be the other?

SS: Yes.

NS: What's the other song?

SS: "In the Mouth a Desert" has bass.

NS: Gary, exactly how old are you?

GY: What? What date is today?

BN: The 29th? [actually the 30th].

GY: [loking at his watch] Thirty-nine and a half.

NS: What was the significance of all those vegetables you gave everyone last night?

GY: I tried to feed to crowd.

NS: That was very nice of you.

GY: Tonight is the end of an era.

NS: What's that supposed to mean?

BN: Did people actually eat the vegetables?

NS: I had a carrot and it was delicious. Was it poison laced?

BN: [to gary] He ate some! Really, no, it's not poisoned. It was fresh produce!

GY: [to Bob] Was it you that told me that great story the other day?

BN: [ignoring Gary] I gave away a sandwich last night.

NS: Yeah, and you kept my Wingtip Sloat record fresh in your little box.

BN: That's right, in my corner!

NS: In your cooler.

GY: Was it you that told me you had a friend that ran around on Halloween Night...?

BN: Yeah, man, with the apples and the razor blades!

NS: How long ago was _Slanted_and_Enchanted recorded?

GY: Huh? '90, uh, January '91, right?

BN: Yeah.

NS: Why the fuck did Matador take so long to put it out?

GY: 'Cause they don't have enough money.

BN: What it is is that they put out bands, and have an extremely busy schedule.

NS: They're still working on _Hippy_Porn_[a NY indie film from 1991] sountrack back from October.

BN: They're still working on so many things that, like...those people are trying their best. Just like Big Cat, you know...It's not like they sit around and like, hang out and get drunk every day in the office. I mean those people work. They've got four or five people in their office now, in fact they've just hired a new guy. They all work 40 or 50 hours a week. We don't complain about Matador.

GY: It's a very difficult thing.

NS: The next Pavement release is gonna be that EP.

BN: October. Watery, Domestic EP.

NS: And it's gonna be on Matador?

BN: It's gonna be on Matador and Big Cat. It's four songs and it's got some really interesting keyboard interludes between a couple of the songs. It's like four mid-tempo pop songs. There isn't as much variety on it as Slanted and Enchanted.

NS: What's the Drag City compilation gonna be called?

BN: I thought it was gonna be called HEY Drag City [Actually Westing(By Musket and Sextant)]. I think that's what it might be called, but I'm not sure.

NS: So you really don't know exactly when it's coming out?

BN: I don't know when that's coming out.. I think they're talking about December or something like that. I think they're talking about having a special Christmas gift price.

NS: So you guys, you and Mark, play on any Pavement records?

BN: We do a tiny bit on the upcoming EP. Mark does some keyboards on the upcoming EP. Mark does some keyboards, actually on "Sue Me Jack" [on the "trigger Cut" single] I do a really quiet spoken-word part. On one song that's actually on the Drag City compilation I play a rain stick.

NS: So neither of you play your actual instruments [in the studio]

BN: No, it's not necessary, really, to have two drum sets in the studio. Maybe down the road we will. For me it doesn't matter.

NS: Are you actually going to move to Kentucky?

BN: yeah, definitely. [He did]

NS: And you're joining Britt Walford's band.

BN: No, I'm going to...I'm moving there, Britt's my best friend there and that's one of the reasons why I wanna move there, but being in a band with somebody like Britt...he's a real musician, you know, he's an accomplished musician...I mean, I couldn't play with those guys, man, they're too good!

NS: So if you move to Kentucky are you still gonna be in Pavement?

BN: Sure, if I wanna be, I think.

NS: That's cool.

BN: Yeah. Alright, thank you, Jordan. [Bob splits for the stage to do a sound check.]

NS: Has there been any major label interest in Pavement?

SS: I mean, we hear about it through the grapevine. But the only person they talk to is Gary because he's the biggest sucker in the band. He just went down to CBS yesterday and acted like he was, you know...he passed out in Sony's office, this guy's office.

NS: [sarcastically] So you won't be putting out that split EP with Poi Dog Pondering?

SS: Oh, god, I wish, man!!!

NS: Have you all quit your day jobs yet?

SS: We had to. This is what we're doing full-time.

NS: What did you guys do [for a living]? I know Mark was a waiter, Bob drove a bus...

SS: Gary runs a recording studio, Steve, uh, loafed, and I worked in this hardware store. (laughs)

NS: How do you guys keep Gary under control?

SS: Well, lets see...that's a hard question to answer. [to Bob] How do we keep Gary under control?

BN: No way! It's impossible!!

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 15 August 2019 21:11 (three months ago) link

Terrific interview, thanks for posting. I love that it was the day after the infamous "Bob demands a million dollars at a major label" / "Quick, put in him in a cab to Hoboken!" incident.

Stub yr toe on the yacht rock (morrisp), Thursday, 15 August 2019 21:25 (three months ago) link

(Gary, not Bob - obv.)

Stub yr toe on the yacht rock (morrisp), Thursday, 15 August 2019 21:25 (three months ago) link

I found this quote from the Leo Weekly interview linked above interesting:

When I was younger, and people bought records, I could live on the royalties. Times have changed in those respects.

in case anyone is still clinging to the whole 'streaming is good for independent artists' thing

Paul Ponzi, Thursday, 15 August 2019 22:51 (three months ago) link

Of course, as discussed itt, Silver Jews and Purple Mountains stuff is sold out everywhere, including Discogs. Where were all these customers when DCB was alive? Oh right, they were streaming his music and listening to it for free on Youtube

Paul Ponzi, Thursday, 15 August 2019 22:53 (three months ago) link

Maybe, but I assume at least some people buying DCB's records in the past few weeks were not previously familiar with him, and interest was spurred by these tributes/articles/etc.

Stub yr toe on the yacht rock (morrisp), Thursday, 15 August 2019 23:17 (three months ago) link

and Drag City wasn't on streaming until recently

triple-washed (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 15 August 2019 23:22 (three months ago) link

ponzi scheme is just being trenchant again

bookmarkflaglink (jim in vancouver), Thursday, 15 August 2019 23:24 (three months ago) link

there's an interview upthread ... or ... somewhere, I don't know ... that i read recently where Berman was expressing pleasant surprise at how much he was making monthly in royalties off the old SJ records. obviously, that was a relatively old interview.

alpine static, Thursday, 15 August 2019 23:29 (three months ago) link

I feel a bit sad that he had the thought that no one loved the band (SJ). It makes me think of Guadalcanal Diary when they broke up saying (I am pretty sure, I really don't want to have to factcheck this) one of the reasons they stopped was because they were no one's favorite band.

Yerac, Thursday, 15 August 2019 23:41 (three months ago) link

The old records sold pretty well for Drag City.

Just over 30K for Starlite...just under 30K for Natural...almost up to 50K (that's a lot!) for American Water...back down to 23K for Bright... then, up to 25K for Tanglewood... and around 16K for Lookout.

mr.raffles, Friday, 16 August 2019 02:09 (three months ago) link

From Oldham's tribute:

/It was in recent weeks, David proposed that he, Bill Callahan and I tour together as the ‘Monsieurs of Drag City,’ with all three of us on stage trading off songs./


my god

gbx, Friday, 16 August 2019 02:32 (three months ago) link

xp: "hey boys, supper's on me/our record just went aluminum!"

☮ (peace, man), Friday, 16 August 2019 11:22 (three months ago) link

Wouldn't have anticipated quite so substantial a contraction for Bright Flight. Oh well. (Some days that feels like my favourite.)

Nag! Nag! Nag!, Friday, 16 August 2019 12:37 (three months ago) link

I wonder how many Domino sold, I would assume significantly less? (did they cover Europe or just the UK) I find the sales of cult artists endlessly fascinating, particularly the relationship between such modest sounding figures and the number of times you spot them second hand. That said, i have hardly ever seen Silver Jews records resold. The last two lps have aged wonderfully, esp. lookout mountain.

cw, Friday, 16 August 2019 13:28 (three months ago) link

In one of the interviews linked above (i think from 2002?) he bemoans that hes one of the biggest selling Drag City artists but sells very little on Domino

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Friday, 16 August 2019 13:58 (three months ago) link

Wouldn't have anticipated quite so substantial a contraction for /Bright Flight/. Oh well. (Some days that feels like my favourite.)


This record is always brushed over for some reason. Definitely has some of my favorite SJ tracks.

circa1916, Friday, 16 August 2019 13:58 (three months ago) link

Starlite Walker - The Natural Bridge - American Water - Bright Flight is such an amazing run. I think each one is better than the one before it. Should poll the instrumentals, closing ballads, etc. I guess he thought the tambourine was mixed too loud on Transylvania Blues, and it ruined the song. It never really bothered me until I read that, but I can't unhear it now.

triple-washed (Sufjan Grafton), Friday, 16 August 2019 17:02 (three months ago) link

Tanglewood is the sleeper of the catalog imo. But I legitimately love them all. Weirdly, maybe, Starlite is my least favorite. It's the most uneven, I think.

I remember reading that DCB thought he "let up" on side 2 of Bright Flight or something to that effect, which was why it wasn't more popular, according to him. I wish I could remember where I read that. He's mostly right - that album is very front-loaded. Then again, how many songwriters would give their right arm to write something as amazing as "Death To an Heir or Sorrows?" I also have always had a soft spot for "Tennessee," even though it's pretty dumb (in the sweetest and most self-aware kind of way, of course).

Paul Ponzi, Friday, 16 August 2019 17:07 (three months ago) link

Bright Flight is often the one I return to most these days

Thus Spoke Darraghustra (Oor Neechy), Friday, 16 August 2019 18:06 (three months ago) link

Jeremiah Cymerman retweeted this email from DB to a friend going to hospital for detox.

Seven years ago I was about to go into the hospital for detox after a really rough few years. I was scared and isolated. I sent an email to David in the dark.
His response truly helped me and I will always carry it with me.
thank you dcb#dragcity #DavidBerman pic.twitter.com/VsXjJDMl2S

— Timrw58 (@Timothy17695396) August 8, 2019

EvR, Friday, 16 August 2019 20:50 (three months ago) link

I would agree the first half of Bright Flight is better than the second half, but I love Let's Not and Say We Did and Tennessee. The former has such weird nonsense lyrics describing a surreal winter wonderland. The latter is the Silver Jews' version of Jackson.

Mazzy Tsar (PBKR), Friday, 16 August 2019 21:08 (three months ago) link

Tanglewood is the sleeper of the catalog imo. But I legitimately love them all. Weirdly, maybe, Starlite is my least favorite. It's the most uneven, I think.

(...)

― Paul Ponzi, Friday, 16 August 2019

Fully agree. For me Starlite is his weakest album.

Duke, Friday, 16 August 2019 21:30 (three months ago) link

It does seem a little filler-y, but Trains Across the Sea, Advice to the Graduate, and New Orleans are all time.

circa1916, Friday, 16 August 2019 21:33 (three months ago) link

LET'S DO THIS

Natural Bridge>>>Purple Mountains>>>Bright Flight>>>American Water>>>Arizona Record>>>Tanglewood Numbers>>>Starlite Walker>>> Lookout etc

They all have great songs though

Lactose Shaolin Wanker (Raymond Cummings), Friday, 16 August 2019 21:40 (three months ago) link

agree Natural Bridge da best

husserl gang (rip van wanko), Friday, 16 August 2019 21:42 (three months ago) link

"Nights That Won't Happen" is beautiful:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPtqrXx0sJs

djh, Friday, 16 August 2019 22:24 (three months ago) link

Natural Bridge > American Water > Tanglewood Numbers > Purple Mountains = Bright Flight = Lookout Mountain > Starlite Walker > Arizona

Paul Ponzi, Saturday, 17 August 2019 00:11 (two months ago) link

whatever works for ya

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Saturday, 17 August 2019 02:31 (two months ago) link

Honestly don’t know how to rank these outside of Natural Bridge at #1 with Tanglewood >> Lookout at the end.

circa1916, Saturday, 17 August 2019 06:25 (two months ago) link

Not rly counting the lo-fi early stuff, kind of a different thing.

circa1916, Saturday, 17 August 2019 06:26 (two months ago) link

^ exactly right. i mean of course you have to rank Starlite Walker with the others, but it's not really a fair fight. Starlite is very much embryonic Joos. everything from Natural Bridge on is more fully Berman-ized and on equal footing.

alpine static, Saturday, 17 August 2019 07:48 (two months ago) link

"Nights That Won't Happen" is beautiful:

― djh, Friday, August 16, 2019 10:24 PM (yesterday) bookmarkflaglink

Was listening to Purple Mountains again the other day and when this came on I was just gutted. Not just over Berman's death, but over every death I've experienced and will experience in the future. Like, I haven't even listened to it in days, just writing a post about it, and I can feel the tears welling up in their ducts. I'm gonna go hug somebody I love now.

☮ (peace, man), Saturday, 17 August 2019 12:46 (two months ago) link

been spinning my peak trio today. hard to argue with American Water's popularity goddamn it what an album.

triple-washed (Sufjan Grafton), Saturday, 17 August 2019 22:43 (two months ago) link

apologies if it’s been linked but some Nashville folks talking Berman

https://www.nashvillescene.com/music/features/article/21082123/friends-and-bandmates-reflect-on-the-life-of-david-berman

A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Chooglin (will), Saturday, 17 August 2019 23:36 (two months ago) link

Great stories in that one, thanks

circa1916, Sunday, 18 August 2019 00:50 (two months ago) link

yes, very good. thank you.

triple-washed (Sufjan Grafton), Sunday, 18 August 2019 01:47 (two months ago) link

David had a universe of one-liners that were as profound as zen koans. One night, when load-out was taking too long and some of the band wanted to go out partying, he yelled: "We're adults — we are too old to make new friends." He was a true humanist both in his work and his outlook on life. He hated pretension. He told me his favorite novel was Dog Soldiers by Robert Stone. He valued real storytelling and real connection. I was always self-conscious about not going to college and reading the classics, and I remember one time he said, kind of dismissively: "You have to go to an academy to have someone walk you through Joyce and Ezra Pound." On an eight-week tour in 2008, I am pretty sure all we listened to in the S-Jews van was country oldies, Black Sabbath, Grateful Dead and Tennessee Titans games.

William Tyler OTM. I like his records, too.

del griffith, Sunday, 18 August 2019 02:04 (two months ago) link

his new album is wonderful. "nights that won't happen" is of a different tone than anything else i've heard from him

Karl Malone, Sunday, 18 August 2019 02:09 (two months ago) link

'tide to the oceans' such a standout track from starlite walker... played it about five times today

meaulnes, Sunday, 18 August 2019 22:10 (two months ago) link

jfc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZKMa-ByLBQ

Karl Malone, Monday, 19 August 2019 04:54 (two months ago) link

Was lurking BobNasty's IG, found these older posts:

https://www.instagram.com/p/17OfckD87t/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BhrOqjnl8G2/

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Monday, 19 August 2019 05:04 (two months ago) link

Yeah that Darkness and Cold video is difficult to watch. xpost

Duke, Monday, 19 August 2019 16:23 (two months ago) link

Wow: “For pleasant accidents, “Nights That Won’t Happen”, came out of mishearing “Knight In White Satin” ”

— Marc Masters (@Marcissist) August 21, 2019

... (Eazy), Thursday, 22 August 2019 02:54 (two months ago) link

^^ from another new recent interview:

https://www.metro.us/entertainment/metro-remembers-david-berman-1967-2019

... (Eazy), Thursday, 22 August 2019 02:55 (two months ago) link

if you're into thinking about "pleasant accidents" or even unpleasant accidents I recommend clicking through the long history of the mostly desolately populated jibberish infested Silver Jews Bulletin Board, past all the dumb seemingly nonsensical pecker posts, to get to the the 2012-2015 era to find lots of rough drafts of now-familiar song lyrics and a lot of originals about marital dissolution, extramarital sex, Nashville, Brooklyn, alcoholism, homosexuality, suicide, and lots more (probably about 20-25 posts) posted by the poster breedlove, most often also under the lyrical pseudonym Kingston Bunkley, and also sometimes attributed to a "Craig Breedlove." ("Craig" of course being David's pre-Cloud middle name.) It's the same poster at the same time that posted the lyrics to songs called "The Veranda Over the Toy Shoppe" and "Wacky Package Eyes" that seems to line up with up what Bob Nastanovich was saying at the time about two new Silver Jews songs he said they'd written, but then later retracted as a joke. I'd post links to the posts directly but they don't seem to work. Other posts from around the same time suggest this is maybe an account operated by or shared with Chris Stroffolino, but then again there are also posts from breedlove saying "this is not Chris." I'll let the Nick Broomfields of ilx figure that out.

https://i.imgur.com/cYBV2N9.png

http://disc.yourwebapps.com/Indices/18043.html

del griffith, Thursday, 22 August 2019 04:02 (two months ago) link

btw that IP address can be traced to Brooklyn, New York.

del griffith, Thursday, 22 August 2019 04:04 (two months ago) link

(also, he said in an interview that he intentionally chose "Nights that Won't Happen" as a titleplay on "Knights in White Satin," and was surprised when his friends didn't immediately realize it. so, there's that)

del griffith, Thursday, 22 August 2019 04:10 (two months ago) link

breedlove
Snow is Falling, New York City
Mon Jan 26, 2015 22:03
68.175.60.236

Snow is falling in Manhattan, I’ve got my coat, I’ve got my hat on
Falling deepler down in Brooklyn, someone cold that I just took in
Snowflakes causing quite a scene, Staten Island, The Bronx and Queens
Softly falling, oh so pretty, snow is falling, New York City

Falling down on Brooklyn Bridge, from Riverdale down to Bay Ridge
From the narrows, to the heights, falling on the city lights
See the city in a rush, transformed with a quiet hush
Come tomorrow it’s all gone, still it falls on and on

Snow along the sidewalk sweeps, across the city that never sleeps
Children sledding in the park, couples skating after dark
Sounds of laughter in the air, snow plows rushing here and there
Snowmen, snowballs, snowflakes fall, snow draped buildings big and small

Snow is falling in Manhattan, I’ve got my coat, I’ve got my hat on
Falling deeply out in Brooklyn, someone cold that I just took in
Snowflakes causing quite a scene, Staten Island, The Bronx and Queens
Softly falling, oh so pretty, snow is falling, New York City
---
Kingston Bunkley

Karl Malone, Thursday, 22 August 2019 04:17 (two months ago) link

The more I listen to this, the more I believe it's his finest group of songs (really a musical suicide note). I applaud him for finding a way to write this stuff while (likely) suffering through the worst depression of his life. This album is as chilling as any in recent memory. The fact that it's also hilarious at times is all the more remarkable. Album of the year.

Wally P. Doyle, Thursday, 22 August 2019 06:07 (two months ago) link

(also, he said in an interview that he intentionally chose "Nights that Won't Happen" as a titleplay on "Knights in White Satin," and was surprised when his friends didn't immediately realize it. so, there's that)

― del griffith, Thursday, August 22, 2019 4:10 AM (thirteen hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

Had a feeling that was the case.

☮ (peace, man), Thursday, 22 August 2019 17:34 (two months ago) link

oh duh haha I'm so dense

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 22 August 2019 17:58 (two months ago) link

Bill Callahan did a couple Silver Jews songs last night:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sNdNyan_h4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CStDjTZnh2s

Vaguely Threatening CAPTCHAs, Friday, 23 August 2019 15:43 (two months ago) link

I became momentarily and unwittingly internet famous for posting a bad 40-second-clip of one of those. Glad someone else did a better job capturing.
http://pitchfork.com/news/watch-bill-callahan-cover-silver-jews-i-remember-me/

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Friday, 23 August 2019 19:22 (two months ago) link

("internet famous" on a very low level but high relative to my day-to-day anonymity)

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Friday, 23 August 2019 19:22 (two months ago) link

how many rt

husserl gang (rip van wanko), Friday, 23 August 2019 19:44 (two months ago) link

instagram - hundred someodd likes and climbing, but point being that it's in pitchfork

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Friday, 23 August 2019 19:48 (two months ago) link

This might have been mentioned but reading that alternative version of Snow is Falling in Manhattan i wonder if it's an (not that) oblique reference to Joyce's The Dead.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Sunday, 25 August 2019 10:08 (two months ago) link

It's interesting what he changed with the released version of Snow is Falling in Manhattan - I think its vastly superior to the version KM posted above. Changes the song from a one-dimensional observation/scene of a winter day to a multi-dimensional metaphor for writers/musicians and their relationship with readers/listeners. The song became less repetitive, but deeper.

Mazzy Tsar (PBKR), Sunday, 25 August 2019 16:34 (two months ago) link

Put off listening to this until finally today, driving through the mountains of Vermont. Seemed like a good setting. It was a very hard, rewarding listen. Held it together until the 1-2 punch of “I Loved Being My Mother’s Son” and “Nights That Won’t Happen.”

Western® with Bacon Flavor, Sunday, 25 August 2019 23:03 (two months ago) link

For any Toronto-based fans, there's a tribute happening on the night that would have been the Purple Mountains show

Simon H., Sunday, 25 August 2019 23:07 (two months ago) link

this briefly warmed my spirits

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dl__2ILE8k

"there is no leisure with dignity in an unfinished world"

Western® with Bacon Flavor, Tuesday, 27 August 2019 06:33 (two months ago) link

https://anmlcollectve.bandcamp.com/track/ballad-of-reverend-war-character-silver-jews-cover-2

A few weeks ago we planned on seeing Purple Mountains together. Instead we spent the night listening to David’s records and talking about how much his music and art meant to us. He was an inspiration for decades. One we wouldn’t be here without. We’ve been playing covers of his music since 1994 when we first picked up guitars together, so it felt like one of the few things we could do to get through the sadness. The next day we worked on this cover of “Ballad of Reverend War Character”. Per the request from David’s family, all of the proceeds will be donated to MusiCares and Music Health Alliance, so pay as much as you want.
- Avey Tare & Geologist

flappy bird, Saturday, 31 August 2019 06:40 (two months ago) link

Looks like Drag City is taking preorders on their website for represses of all the Silver Jews LPs

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Saturday, 31 August 2019 17:56 (two months ago) link

https://boingboing.net/2019/09/02/my-unfinished-sound-project-wi.html

na (NA), Tuesday, 3 September 2019 16:45 (two months ago) link

two weeks pass...

"Nights That Won't Happen"
...........................................................................Fuck

flappy bird, Tuesday, 24 September 2019 04:54 (one month ago) link

Yes.

Simon H., Tuesday, 24 September 2019 06:43 (one month ago) link

three weeks pass...

Episode 100: a tribute to the life, words, and music of David Cloud Berman. Songs from Silver Jews and Purple Mountains, stories from @BNastanovich. https://t.co/iu4DjR3Yus

— 3 Songs Podcast (@3songspod) October 14, 2019

drunk on hot toddies (morrisp), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 02:01 (one month ago) link

That was enjoyable, thanks for sharing that link. It'd be great to hear an unfiltered account of DCBs hijnks, understandable why people would be hesitant to do so though

badg, Tuesday, 15 October 2019 16:56 (one month ago) link

Heartening (&heartbreaking) to hear about Jeffrey Lewis and DBs respect & admiration for him, Jeff was over the moon to be collabing with him & took it hard afterward.

I so glad that Bob has this podcast, I could listen to him talk about anything for pretty much any length of time.

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:47 (one month ago) link

Jeffrey Lewis is a treasure. One of the few lyricists I can think of that can measure up to DCB (though obviously coming from a very different place).

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:52 (one month ago) link

still best album of the year, even if i can only listen to it in very specific moods and so not really that often.

Hmmmmm (jamiesummerz), Monday, 28 October 2019 15:45 (two weeks ago) link

in fact i'd say it's Mr Berman's best since Bright Flight.

Hmmmmm (jamiesummerz), Monday, 28 October 2019 15:50 (two weeks ago) link

"i loved being my mother's son" is the most heartbreaking song of 2019. oh my god. in the villa or ormen

reggie (qualmsley), Tuesday, 5 November 2019 20:17 (one week ago) link

Tennessee Titans honor David Berman with scoreboard message https://t.co/vU9qnaUDt4 pic.twitter.com/pEXsArZxSG

— Stereogum (@stereogum) November 11, 2019

quinn morgendorffer stan account (morrisp), Tuesday, 12 November 2019 21:18 (four days ago) link

That rules so much -- I would love to know how it happened, i.e. did someone pay for it, is there a fan in the ownership or mgmt, is he better recognized in Nashville than I realized, etc.

I haven't been able to listen to the record for months -- it's just too heartbreaking.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 12 November 2019 21:24 (four days ago) link

I can't resist listening, despite it being a long suicide note. Some beautiful songs. Definitely one of his best.

Duke, Tuesday, 12 November 2019 21:45 (four days ago) link

Oral history of DCB's time in Virginia/NYC:

https://news.virginia.edu/content/portrait-artist-oral-history-david-berman-uva

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 15 November 2019 05:34 (yesterday) link

& WTJU is having a tribute/memorial concert this weekend. They put together a band called The Wild Kindness. I am out of the loop so I don't know all the people involved but I see Matt D4tesman, Sh4nn0n W0rrel, G4te, N3d Oldh4m.

Yerac, Friday, 15 November 2019 12:22 (yesterday) link

closest i've been able to get to listening to the album has been listening to covers & tributes, including repeat listens to this one of Dean Wareham doing 'Snow Is Falling In Manhattan (cant remember if its been posted itt): https://soundcloud.com/section26/dean-wareham-snow-is-falling-in-manhattan

Initially thought of 'Snow' as a pleasant romantic interlude on an otherwise very intense album, its gradually risen in my estimation to my favorite song on the record

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Friday, 15 November 2019 13:20 (yesterday) link

I had never listened to this guy before his death (I’m a pavement skeptic) but this album is really great. I know no one needed to hear that, but I wanted to say it.

L'assie (Euler), Friday, 15 November 2019 13:23 (yesterday) link


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