Purple Mountains (RIP David Berman, August 2019)

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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


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