Purple Mountains (RIP David Berman, August 2019)

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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


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