Purple Mountains (RIP David Berman, August 2019)

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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 (two years 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 (two years 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 (two years ago) link

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

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

very fair criticism of OTR imo

Vape Store (crüt), Thursday, 8 August 2019 18:33 (two years 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 (two years 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 (two years 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 (two years 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 (two years 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 (two years 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 (two years 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 (two years 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 (two years ago) link

absolutely devastating

flopson, Thursday, 8 August 2019 22:22 (two years 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 (two years ago) link

this guy sounds like bad company

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


flappy bird, Friday, 9 August 2019 04:38 (two years ago) link

pitchfork didn't kill him

Simon H., Friday, 9 August 2019 05:03 (two years 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 (two years ago) link

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

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


flappy bird, Friday, 9 August 2019 15:28 (two years 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 (two years ago) link

their long, investigative articles remain worthwhile

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


tylerw, Friday, 9 August 2019 15:39 (two years ago) link

lol, yes and see my 2-3 yrs thing... their longform stuff has if anything improved in the last couple yrs imo


the obit essay bummed me. likely i am strangely projecting. but why should everything be neatly wrapped up into a new yorker obit or pitchfork piece? his life was evidently severely messy, as most of ours probably are upon reasonable inspection, and the tone of her piece rubs me the wrong way.

Berman’s friends were supporting him, caring for him; his record label, Drag City, was, too, even housing him in recent months. His fans were eager for his tour, which was to begin this weekend. We wish he hadn’t suffered; we’re grateful he existed. We loved him to the max.

um, ok? it just seems weirdly antiseptic. i mean i guess I am just bitter for the very fact of him killing himself, and it's spilling over, but i hate the attempt to wrap it up into a neat package by legacy media or whatever.

dell (del), Friday, 9 August 2019 15:45 (two years ago) link

Death, unfortunately, is great PR. But I don't see what makes this piece any worse (or any better) than any of the other mostly identical 15 or 20 I've read over the past 24 hours.

Paul Ponzi, Friday, 9 August 2019 15:50 (two years ago) link

I liked the New Yorker piece and I don't really understand these criticisms.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Friday, 9 August 2019 16:06 (two years ago) link

As advanced as we consider ourselves,
we still allow ad copy to pander to us.
The scam exposed, it endures with our permission
as a parallel narrative running beside our lives
where we sit with an unbuttered baked potato
and a warm beer in multiple versions of Akron
leavened with foreclosure, heartburn and rain.

Great-grandfather’s hobbies, whether they be botany or magic,
can barely make sense to a boy named Occupant III.

Their genius was to let us criticize them
until it became boring and obvious to do so.

Meanwhile they were up ahead, busily constructing a world
in which boring and obvious criticism
was about the worst thing you could do,
and when we reached them in time they were waiting
with their multiple Akrons,
always one link ahead in the chain of consent.

del griffith, Friday, 9 August 2019 16:22 (two years ago) link

OTOH I listened to the Kreative Kontrol interview and I found the host's joviality painful--I guess to no fault of his own since it's not like he knew Berman was going to die, but some of his readings of things annoyed me, particularly when he missed the fact that drinking margaritas at the mall is obviously supposed to evoke something depressing, not something "fun"--in fact it's the bad simulacra of fun that makes it especially depressing. I think the host even said something about it being like a "resort"--no dude, it's fucking called "margaritas at the mall"! Not at a resort!

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Friday, 9 August 2019 16:26 (two years ago) link

man, don't you just hate it when people are wrong

del griffith, Friday, 9 August 2019 16:35 (two years ago) link

just seems fucked up in light of the overall thrust of his lyrics and stuff. but whatever... everything sucks, for real.

dell (del), Friday, 9 August 2019 16:58 (two years ago) link

(meant for the people defending the new yorker article).

dell (del), Friday, 9 August 2019 17:00 (two years ago) link

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


ayo those are his friends and colleagues, not a gaggle of "indie" (your word) edgelords who deleted their negative tweets/subtweets (in shame?)

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 9 August 2019 17:08 (two years ago) link

didn't know his hatred for his dad was so well deserved

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 9 August 2019 17:19 (two years ago) link

oh totally

sleeve, Friday, 9 August 2019 17:21 (two years ago) link

I've now read the New Yorker thing and I think it's fine for what it is, but I agree w/del about how it feels a little weird to be summing up the "messiness" of this guy's life in a patly written thinkpiece; especially when he has so many interviews online that you can go back and read to really get a sense of who he was, what he was about, and the stuff he was dealing with. But these third-person essays aren't written for me, I don't need the hundredth piece quoting the lyrics of "People" or whatever; I guess they're intended to bring DCB to the attn. of readers who weren't aware of him (...but even then, in this context, it's like... ok? better late than never, I guess?)

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Friday, 9 August 2019 18:02 (two years 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, August 9, 2019 4:26 PM (two hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

i lold

cheese canopy (map), Friday, 9 August 2019 18:07 (two years ago) link

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