Purple Mountains (RIP David Berman, August 2019)

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The scale of the outpouring of grief/celebration/tributes is amazing

husserl gang (rip van wanko), Sunday, 11 August 2019 08:34 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) link

amazing!

tylerw, Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:02 (one year 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 (one year ago) link

oh my god, that's awesome.

☮ (peace, man), Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:05 (one year ago) link

which is he -- the dude on the far left?

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:08 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) link

Am I the only person whose favourite album is bright flight?

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Sunday, 11 August 2019 22:27 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) link

Bright Flight is my second favorite, about The Natural Bridge.

Lactose Shaolin Wanker (Raymond Cummings), Sunday, 11 August 2019 23:31 (one year ago) link

"after"

Lactose Shaolin Wanker (Raymond Cummings), Sunday, 11 August 2019 23:31 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) link

Oh are there bogus poems in that link? My bad.

circa1916, Sunday, 11 August 2019 23:54 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) link

Ah, I didn’t know that reference.

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Monday, 12 August 2019 01:08 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) link

*both working the door

... (Eazy), Monday, 12 August 2019 01:47 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) link


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