Purple Mountains (RIP David Berman, August 2019)

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
Not all messages are displayed: show all messages (726 of them)

I'd been treating it as an out-the-other-side album, but it wasn't, obviously. Peace to you, DB.

― woof, Thursday, August 8, 2019 9:30 AM (two hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

Yeah it's really painful to realize he wasn't reflecting on past struggles.

Evan, Thursday, 8 August 2019 16:16 (nine months ago) link

Just want to point out that from those recent interviews posted above, it sounds like he was still in touch with his dad, who paid for his treatment etc. I also don’t recall him saying that his dad was a bad father (other than a story about his dad being competitive when they played board games, and “he wasn’t even sorry!” when he beat young David at Sorry).

I know that DCB made his shame & hatred of his father’s professional life a structuring part of his own “story,” but I wouldn’t assume that his bad relationship with his father was a two-way street, or that his dad didn’t love him or somehow caused David’s pain through bad parenting.

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Thursday, 8 August 2019 16:18 (nine months ago) link

As a closing couplet, "If no one's fond of fucking me/Maybe no one's fucking fond of me" is a pretty great/sad/hilarious/heartbreaking one.

My favorite moment on Purple Mountains is his "She was, she was" in "I Loved Being My Mother's Son."

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 8 August 2019 16:36 (nine months ago) link

I hadn't listened to Silver Jews in many years, so this didn't hit me the way Elliot Smith, Mark Linkhous, or Vic Chestnutt's suicides did, but having felt the sorrow after those (to this day I find it very difficult to listen to an Elliot Smith album all the way through and haven't been able to watch the documentary either) I know how this feels to those really close to his music. My friend Nick just posted on FB how this underscores how important it is for people to tell those whose art touched them what it means, and I agree, but I also know that in cases like Berman's it can fall on deaf ears, depression is an all encompassing and smothering force, and you often do not hear or accept words of love from others. That said I still shot Eitzel an email saying I was happy he was still around.

akm, Thursday, 8 August 2019 17:09 (nine months ago) link

I know it’s an overstatement to talk about “all” the leading men of this generation, but between the drug toll on the grunge guys and the indie suicides (and Kurt, managing to be both), it is a pretty blasted landscape.

Gen X forever skeptical of its own achievements.

It was linked earlier, but the Ringer profile from early July is hard to read as a last-days portrait (once you get past the simple comeback-album intro).


... (Eazy), Thursday, 8 August 2019 17:20 (nine months ago) link

^^ yes, that's a wonderful, heartbreaking piece

Karl Malone, Thursday, 8 August 2019 17:24 (nine months ago) link

After I read that I said to my wife, “I don’t know if he’s going to live much longer.”

Gen X forever skeptical of its own achievements.

― a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Thursday, August 8, 2019 1:14 PM (twelve minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

to be fair, the world for guys like Berman has changed a lot since he started releasing records, and not necessarily for the better

Paul Ponzi, Thursday, 8 August 2019 17:29 (nine months ago) link

Yeah, for sure.

Yeah, that one was good. Also, I just read this interview, which I guess took place sometime in the last 48 hours?


I had read the SPIN review he refers to as being the worst, including the part about the reviewer doing a bit of projecting, I guess you could say. I also didn't like it, and I thought about bringing it up here, but what's the point of criticizing critics about their criticism of a relentless self-critic. I'd just finished trying to make a point about that upthread, and at this point I don't think it could mean any less anyway.

Self-Ignition, now that was a good song.


"...and I have to remember your not wanting me doesn't make me any less here."

del griffith, Thursday, 8 August 2019 17:38 (nine months ago) link

I was really loving the new album, which despite all the scars had such a glow of tenderness and gratitude to it and it just seems so sad now

ogmor, Thursday, 8 August 2019 17:55 (nine months ago) link

The first 3 or 4 Silver Jews records were (and still are) super important to me, I need to go back and listen to the last two. I've been listening to Purple Mountains a lot and like a lot of people here I was excited about seeing him live, as I never got the chance when the Jews were still going. I remember listening to this a few weeks ago and feeling a little worried for him, though I imagined that the success of the new record might maybe bring him out of it...


pophatte (admrl), Thursday, 8 August 2019 17:57 (nine months ago) link

When I told David I was getting married 11 years ago, he asked me for some interesting details and observations about Colette and then just before our wedding day we received an eight-panel Berman cartoon in the post, as a gift for Colette. I'll try and dig it out this weekend. https://t.co/lzxeUrznuD

— Andrew Male (@Andr6wMale) August 8, 2019

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 8 August 2019 18:02 (nine months ago) link

disappointed but not surprised he dislikes "Old Town Road" tbh

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 8 August 2019 18:15 (nine months ago) link

very fair criticism of OTR imo

Vape Store (crüt), Thursday, 8 August 2019 18:33 (nine months ago) link

In 2016, we asked David Berman for a quote about the mid-90s early days of Jagjaguwar in Charlottesville. Instead, he sent a loving, hilarious and slyly beautiful poem about UVA football, the early Internet and plant life. Now, we share it with you.https://t.co/JvKfDy65t7 pic.twitter.com/oJnUWHJcwS

— JAGJAGUWAR (@jagjaguwar) August 8, 2019

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 8 August 2019 18:38 (nine months ago) link

I had some feelings.


Raymond, thanks for that. I remember thinking the same thing after seeing him at the merch table after a show in 2006 ("what if, accidentally, we broke him?"), and then deciding that's bullshit. I'm a reserved fella, but if he could sack up for a US tour against his inner will, I could at least sack up to express my appreciation for it. I'm glad I got to.

a kind person who was really afraid he wasn't kind enough, a person driven by shame that he never did anything to deserve, who couldn't believe that he was good enough.

Yes, this. I had the same read on his personality.

I'd been following his blogs since 2011 or whenever, and he'd occasionally post youtubes of songs he liked, always new to me. I held his taste in pretty high esteem, so I'd always give them a few listens even if I didn't like them at first.

This one had to grow on me.

This one I liked right away.

This one he posted in the summer of 2015 before going dormant for two years. I realize now that when he posted it, it was around the same time he had been taking care of his mother in Ohio while she was dying of cancer.

del griffith, Thursday, 8 August 2019 19:01 (nine months ago) link

Following some of these links brought me to this long 2008 interview with a lot of interesting stuff in it... worth a read / revisit.

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Thursday, 8 August 2019 19:14 (nine months ago) link

That Spin review he referenced is by Brian Howe, who’s also responsible for my least favorite Pitchfork review ever, which was a cruel and faintly misogynist takedown of a very good Edith Frost record.

omar little, Thursday, 8 August 2019 19:25 (nine months ago) link

Regarding Cassie I just suddenly had the line "If it ever gets really really bad, if it ever gets really really bad/let's not kid ourselves, it gets really really bad" pop into my head, which is kind of heartbreaking in this new context.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Thursday, 8 August 2019 19:29 (nine months ago) link

Ned, thanks for that. I had to send it to my UVA-grad brother-in-law with a "wahoowah" attached.

I'm not even prepared to let myself start thinking about what this must be like from Cassie's side. I mean, he was well aware that the suffering gets done by the ones we leave behind.

Here's a lighter shade of his apocalypse from 1994:

A drawing David Berman sent me entitled “At The End of the World” after I interviewed him for my fanzine in 1994 pic.twitter.com/JZqLycyRNQ

— John Masters (@johnnymetro) August 8, 2019

del griffith, Thursday, 8 August 2019 20:09 (nine months ago) link

Just saw these posted - three long interviews from 2013/2014. Below is the first, the other two are on the same Youtube channel.

"This is an audio-only phone interview I conducted with David Berman in late Dec 2013 when I was working on a book proposal for the 33 1/3 series on American Water. The book was never made but I thought in the wake of his death today that others might like to hear it. He talks about the difficult process of making the Natural Bridge and how American Water was so much easier, his mental health throughout that period, his writing process and more."


city worker, Thursday, 8 August 2019 20:13 (nine months ago) link

If, over the last month, you'd caught me staring into the distance and asked me what I was thinking about, my honest answer would likely be one of the following:

a) nothing. the words 'ceaseless feasts of schadenfreude' are just circling round in my head.

b) the words 'ceaseless feasts of schadenfreude' have been circling round in my head for days - without a melody - and I am part-meditating on, part-wondering at David Berman's pure and precise mastery of the magic of language-sound - how can he work this phonemic hypnosis on me?

c) I'm thinking about about how 'that's just the way I feel' syntactically/formally moves perfectly, really perfectly over those first verses and god the funny/bleak/honest tone; and how I think it falls off a little with that 'I met failure in Australia' section, which almost feels like quotebait - but then he caps it with 'That’s the shit I'm talkin bout/When I talk to you about/Ceaseless feasts of schadenfreude', and that second 'ceaseless feasts' makes it feel like the trap has closed and the joke is properly deadly again.

d) Nothing. The words 'Trotting the sod of the visible with no new word from God' are just circling round in my head.

Anyway I'm drunk and just listening and staying up late.

woof, Thursday, 8 August 2019 22:21 (nine months ago) link

absolutely devastating

flopson, Thursday, 8 August 2019 22:22 (nine months ago) link

That Spin review he referenced is by Brian Howe, who’s also responsible for my least favorite Pitchfork review ever, which was a cruel and faintly misogynist takedown of a very good Edith Frost record.

Also her last one so far...

... (Eazy), Thursday, 8 August 2019 22:24 (nine months ago) link

this guy sounds like bad company

triple-washed (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 8 August 2019 23:13 (nine months ago) link

the world is and will always be a david berman lyric. i miss you so much, david.

— Bill Callahan (@BillCallaman) August 8, 2019

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 8 August 2019 23:15 (nine months ago) link

A great David Berman concept...: pic.twitter.com/GBnIq0flpm

— Neil Hamburger (@NeilHamburger) August 8, 2019

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 8 August 2019 23:17 (nine months ago) link

posting a pitchfork link (replete with FB tracker tag) in this thread is pretty crass imho.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 9 August 2019 02:17 (nine months ago) link


flappy bird, Friday, 9 August 2019 04:38 (nine months ago) link

pitchfork didn't kill him

Simon H., Friday, 9 August 2019 05:03 (nine months ago) link

Standing room only on the sidewalk outside the Met for David Berman. pic.twitter.com/IO4TH1XHkJ

— Brian Heater (@bheater) August 8, 2019

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 9 August 2019 05:30 (nine months ago) link

need more embedded tweets by indie guys to atone (xp)

husserl gang (rip van wanko), Friday, 9 August 2019 05:33 (nine months ago) link

That article doesn't not read like a composite of several of the ones I read yesterday that preceded it

Paul Ponzi, Friday, 9 August 2019 10:50 (nine months ago) link

More kind words: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/postscript/david-berman-made-us-feel-less-alone

EvR, Friday, 9 August 2019 11:30 (nine months ago) link

There's something so annoying to me about the new yorker piece. maybe it's in part bc of all of the bad press nyt has been getting lately bc of their constant faux pas's and i am just lazily conflating them and the new yorker, but these days i get almost angry when i see the new yorker's dumb logo and pretentious faux old graphic design etc. wow! shocker that some person has an oblique connection with him from back in the day that they can work into their article about his life and death.

as if I were strolling through a gorgeous museum whose construction I’d glimpsed through a peephole

like wtf. there is that book "miller bukowski and their enemies" (yeah, i know but.) which i think sums it up well... the posthumous adulation for people that one never would have deigned to shake hands with during their creative period or actual messiness of their lives. i'm so sure that the writer gave a fuck or ever thought about him while he was like, living in a literal crackhouse or whatever. but thankfully now he can be packaged safely! i mean, i realize i probably sound like ppl who complained about kurt cobain obits back in the day, but there's something so insulting about it. a comeback from addiction makes money and a death from related issues does too. it's just gross to me. whatever...

dell (del), Friday, 9 August 2019 15:10 (nine months ago) link

"Listening to his songs, I always feel an active wonder."

there are not enough "ughs" in the world!

dell (del), Friday, 9 August 2019 15:22 (nine months ago) link

The New Yorker suxx... not in the same way as the NY Times (whose offenses are worse than mere “faux pas”), but I always regret clicking into & reading a New Yorker “essay.” I guess they still run long, investigative articles that are worthwhile.

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Friday, 9 August 2019 15:25 (nine months ago) link

if i ever felt an "active wonder" listening to something I would ask my gp to up my depends scrip.

dell (del), Friday, 9 August 2019 15:26 (nine months ago) link


flappy bird, Friday, 9 August 2019 15:28 (nine months ago) link

yah, and despite my bile i think they have actually gotten much better in the last 2-3 years. but, it's always so jarring to see an attempt to sum up someone's life/death mated w the dumb happy caricature face and other graphic design stuff that i guess is supposed to be super-endearing but to me is just like, borderline-enraging at this point. but whatever. i have issues!

dell (del), Friday, 9 August 2019 15:29 (nine months ago) link

their long, investigative articles remain worthwhile

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 9 August 2019 15:30 (nine months ago) link

i have issues!

So do I -- they accumulate on my living room table week after week!

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 9 August 2019 15:30 (nine months ago) link

ummm I think y'all are doing some very strange projecting onto that very sweet & mild obit essay but w/e

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Friday, 9 August 2019 15:30 (nine months ago) link


tylerw, Friday, 9 August 2019 15:39 (nine months ago) link

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.