Purple Mountains (RIP David Berman, August 2019)

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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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) link

hasnt stopped any of us before tbf

One Eye Open, Tuesday, 4 June 2019 15:28 (one year ago) link

lol

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

Cassie not Carrie

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 4 June 2019 19:20 (one year 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 (one year ago) link

Cassie not Carrie

Yes! Sorry Cassie.

Duke, Tuesday, 4 June 2019 19:29 (one year ago) link

xp Thanks, I missed or glossed over that

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

intentional sabotage?

calstars, Wednesday, 5 June 2019 00:06 (one year ago) link

Listening to the promo right now, as it happens.

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

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

mizzell, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 14:20 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) link

Lol at the Steve McNair action figure.

Mazzy Tsar (PBKR), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 14:46 (one year ago) link

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

... (Eazy), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 15:41 (one year ago) link

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

calstars, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 16:58 (one year ago) link

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

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

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

I'm struggling to like these two new tracks.

Duke, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 20:36 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) link

Thanks Al

calstars, Friday, 14 June 2019 16:32 (one year ago) link

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

calstars, Friday, 14 June 2019 18:13 (one year ago) link

Yeah its great hearing about his process & approach here

One Eye Open, Friday, 14 June 2019 18:32 (one year ago) link

The “hundred nights” comment was pretty harrowing

calstars, Friday, 14 June 2019 18:53 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) link

"commerce is a purgatory"

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

del griffith, Saturday, 29 June 2019 22:20 (one year ago) link

^ song of the year, IMO

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

of all the songs on the snow is falling in manhattan is the least grim to me and the most pretty and kind

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 10 August 2020 16:05 (three days ago) link

I agree

Duke, Monday, 10 August 2020 16:18 (three days ago) link

I also thought the new record seemed hopeful, then and now. Obviously presenting super heavy stuff, but in a way that felt like ripping off a band aid rather than diving into the abyss or w/e. Ending it with "Stoyline Fever" and "Maybe I'm the Only One For Me" seemed like a big statement to me, a powerful combination of songs that seems to have something to say about how with some work you may discover that you're bigger than your problems. I couldnt really get on board when after his death people started parsing the lyrics for any reference to absence, exit, or finality as saying that the record felt like a suicide note, I just didn't see it. (Also I feel like if David Berman actually sat down and wanted to do a Blackstar-style album about his own impending death, it would be like 100x more scary and intense than PM.)

That being said I've barely been able to listen to it since his passing, aside from "Snow" which I'm more & more convinced is the best thing he ever did.

turn the jawhatthefuckever on (One Eye Open), Monday, 10 August 2020 16:28 (three days ago) link

^all OTM

Washington Foosball Team (morrisp), Monday, 10 August 2020 16:33 (three days ago) link

That's a take I would like to believe in even if I'm not sure. Definitely OTM about "Snow", however.

Mom jokes are his way of showing affection (to your mom) (PBKR), Monday, 10 August 2020 16:43 (three days ago) link

I don't find the album that depressing, there's a lot of funny stuff

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 10 August 2020 16:49 (three days ago) link

depressing is never depressing because it's ~relatable~

Thicc Nhat Wanh (rip van wanko), Monday, 10 August 2020 16:57 (three days ago) link

I still have trouble listening to it (or any Silver Jews, to be honest). i'll dig back in at some point, but for now it feels rough.

tylerw, Monday, 10 August 2020 16:57 (three days ago) link

"Nights That Won't Happen" does feel a bit morbid now, I admit.

the quar on drugs (Simon H.), Monday, 10 August 2020 17:14 (three days ago) link

very much so. i think the album is full of really sad, poignant observations on life, much like his other albums. squint a little bit and you can see hints of the darkness to come, both on PM and the earlier SJ albums, but you can also see him coming to grips with what it would mean to push on. it's all of those things, throughout his work.

The GOAT Harold Land (Karl Malone), Monday, 10 August 2020 17:17 (three days ago) link

It's very probably not a deliberate "suicide note", but describing an album containing the thoughts of Nights... or That's Just... or All My Happiness... as "hopeful" just seems way off to me. He was in a bad place.

Duke, Monday, 10 August 2020 20:02 (three days ago) link

it's hopeful to me because, for the most part, it seems like he was making an effort. there's hope in the effort.

the quar on drugs (Simon H.), Monday, 10 August 2020 20:07 (three days ago) link

the weird thing about people who kill themselves is often that just before they do it, they seem happy and relaxed. when the decision is made there must be a big load coming off their back.

walking towards the sun since 2007 (alex in mainhattan), Monday, 10 August 2020 21:04 (three days ago) link

personally that's not the vibe I get tbh

the quar on drugs (Simon H.), Monday, 10 August 2020 21:30 (three days ago) link

i think it's an album about facing depression, frankly, with humility and humor. the self-deprecating parts of the album are humane, not self-lacerating, and actually finding that narrow line and walking it.

treeship., Monday, 10 August 2020 21:36 (three days ago) link

the disease took him in the end but this is the testimony of a survivor. if it wasn't, then "nights that won't happen" would have been the final track rather than "maybe i'm the only one for me."

treeship., Monday, 10 August 2020 21:37 (three days ago) link

otm

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 10 August 2020 21:38 (three days ago) link

Has this made the rounds? I found it today and it made me smile:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXLcpX2xUt4

For all his grouchy reclusive mystique, I get the impression that it seems like he really enjoyed dishing out little bits of himself like that, little painless things that he knew people would find special.

turn the jawhatthefuckever on (One Eye Open), Tuesday, 11 August 2020 14:59 (two days ago) link


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