Purple Mountains (RIP David Berman, August 2019)

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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


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:


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"


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

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

badg, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 17:16 (one year 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 (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...

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

Thanks NA
That lying on his back / heroin comment tho

calstars, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 21:00 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) link


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 (one year 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 (one year ago) link

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

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

xpost those lines are so good

alpine static, Saturday, 15 August 2020 20:46 (five months ago) link

two months pass...

Just saw this pop up on Spotify, haven't listened yet:


Vaguely Threatening CAPTCHAs, Friday, 13 November 2020 17:52 (two months ago) link

could not get through more than 10 seconds of that garbage

a (waterface), Monday, 16 November 2020 13:00 (two months ago) link

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