Purple Mountains (RIP David Berman, August 2019)

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Listening to The Arizona Record for the first time in forever and it's inspiring to recognize the leap from, say, "The Wild Palms" to, I dunno, "I Remember Me" or [your favorite song].

j.o.h.n. (john. a resident of chicago.), Saturday, 10 August 2019 04:04 (one year ago) link

The NY Times obit has been updated with some details about his death (and a statement from his father). For those who are interested.

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Saturday, 10 August 2019 07:35 (one year ago) link

Despite it coming back in print recently, his collection of poetry is still hard to get at the moment. It’s here:

https://www.poemhunter.com/i/ebooks/pdf/david_berman_2012_3.pdf

“Self-Portrait at 28” is particularly special imo

circa1916, Saturday, 10 August 2019 07:41 (one year ago) link

thanks for that

Clay, Saturday, 10 August 2019 07:43 (one year ago) link

Despite it coming back in print recently, his collection of poetry is still hard to get at the moment.

As these things go, there was a statement on Twitter the other day from a publisher (PGM? PGB?) that there will be a reprint soon.

EvR, Saturday, 10 August 2019 08:27 (one year ago) link

from the updated nyt piece:

A spokeswoman for the city’s medical examiner said that Berman had hanged himself, and ruled it suicide.

je est un autre, l'enfer c'est les autres (alex in mainhattan), Saturday, 10 August 2019 12:00 (one year ago) link

I mean, we had been going under the reports that it was a suicide this whole time, but that still hurts to read. Suicides by hanging are also particularly sad for me.

☮ (peace, man), Saturday, 10 August 2019 12:21 (one year ago) link

somehow i had thought he had overdosed, hanging is indeed somehow a terrible way to go, one part being when the corpse is discovered.

je est un autre, l'enfer c'est les autres (alex in mainhattan), Saturday, 10 August 2019 12:35 (one year ago) link

I have had three friends kill themselves in the past ten years and they all hung themselves.

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Saturday, 10 August 2019 15:16 (one year ago) link

probably common knowledge among berman fans, but i didn't realize that (according to the intro to the PDF posted above) the final silver jews concert on jan 31, 2009, in the cavern, consisted of Berman's "15
favorite Silver Jews songs." here is that set:

We Are Real
Play Video
Trains Across the Sea
Play Video
How to Rent a Room
Play Video
Slow Education
Play Video
K-Hole
Play Video
What Is Not but Could Be If
Play Video
The Wild Kindness
Play Video
Room Games and Diamond Rain
Play Video
Suffering Jukebox
Play Video
I'm Getting Back Into Getting Back Into You
Play Video
Random Rules
Play Video
Tennessee
Play Video
We Could Be Looking for the Same Thing
Play Video
Pretty Eyes
Play Video
Smith & Jones Forever

Karl Malone, Saturday, 10 August 2019 16:00 (one year ago) link

jfc i hate the internet. it copied and pasted a bunch of "play video" links. but you get the idea.

play video

Karl Malone, Saturday, 10 August 2019 16:00 (one year ago) link

This may not be for everyone and I haven't seen it linked, but I think this is very lovely.

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/remembering-david-bermans-wild-kindness-869252/

Yerac, Saturday, 10 August 2019 16:04 (one year ago) link

wow Smith & Jones Forever is my favorite SJ song too!! ;_;
whenever my brain is idle i keep thinking about "the wild kindness"

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Saturday, 10 August 2019 16:15 (one year ago) link

grass grows in the icebox
the year ends in the next room

JoeStork, Saturday, 10 August 2019 16:32 (one year ago) link

it may be to dcb’s credit as an enigmatic poet or the fault of my aging brain that for exactly one second I thought “which b side was play video and why did he feel the need to use it as a refrain”

Clay, Saturday, 10 August 2019 17:46 (one year ago) link

video of 6 songs from that Cumberland Caverns show - the last SJ show:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9CD0D43454C6F5DF

You get a few glimpses of William Tyler on guitar, and Bob drums on Trains Across the Sea, then says a few words to the audience. Berman also tells a funny story related to the pipe organ and chandelier in the cave.

alpine static, Saturday, 10 August 2019 17:48 (one year ago) link

the fact that this was - presumably? - filmed for the Bluegrass Underground TV series gives me hope that pro footage of the entire show may someday be released. maybe?

alpine static, Saturday, 10 August 2019 17:53 (one year ago) link

So may I turn a light off and embrace
With resignation, better still with grace,
The dreamless sleep that all awake must face.

meaulnes, Saturday, 10 August 2019 23:41 (one year ago) link

Sleeping, it has been said, is the only love.

del griffith, Sunday, 11 August 2019 01:59 (one year ago) link

Thank god these songs are warm and fun when music gets added to all these lyrics.

... (Eazy), Sunday, 11 August 2019 03:44 (one year ago) link

Would be oppressively dark without it, yeah.

Since the song was released, have found myself idly singing the chorus to “all my happiness is gone” under my breath while just doing stuff around the house. Only half the time aware of how absurd that is.

circa1916, Sunday, 11 August 2019 04:33 (one year ago) link

Me too :/

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Sunday, 11 August 2019 04:57 (one year ago) link

same

it's an insanely catchy song. i know it's a direct rip of a new wave song i can't remember the title of right now, too, but as with all DB songs, the lyrics lift it completely beyond that

Karl Malone, Sunday, 11 August 2019 05:04 (one year ago) link

I Melt with You, but only kinda

circa1916, Sunday, 11 August 2019 05:20 (one year ago) link

yea

flappy bird, Sunday, 11 August 2019 05:24 (one year ago) link

I sang the chorus of darkness and cold while pushing my 1 year old on the swing today.

triple-washed (Sufjan Grafton), Sunday, 11 August 2019 06:03 (one year ago) link

and I sang it entirely bc it is stuck in my head

triple-washed (Sufjan Grafton), Sunday, 11 August 2019 06:05 (one year ago) link

That’s the other one I have in my head a lot... I assume the perverse catchiness of those particular choruses, with those particular lyrics, is “intentional.”

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Sunday, 11 August 2019 06:40 (one year ago) link

The scale of the outpouring of grief/celebration/tributes is amazing

husserl gang (rip van wanko), Sunday, 11 August 2019 08:34 (one year ago) link

I sang the chorus of darkness and cold while pushing my 1 year old on the swing today.


My 2 year old loves to sing along to this and cutely request darkness and cold

Heez, Sunday, 11 August 2019 13:30 (one year ago) link

A friend used to hang out with David back in Virginia and wander abandoned foundries with him. This pic was when he was in a band called Doom, with an infinity symbol instead of the o's.

Cow_Art, Sunday, 11 August 2019 14:53 (one year ago) link

amazing!

tylerw, Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:02 (one year ago) link

Was his hair new wave or human error?

I was traveling with my family in Savannah last week when the news about David came in. I stayed up late that night, drinking whiskey and listening to his music on shuffle in the dark. Throughout the trip we were driving around, seeing the deep south through car windows and it was a good fit. So many words hit harder than they used to.

Last night I rewatched Silver Jew and it was tough going, especially the end when he is praying and crying.

Listened to Starlight Walker on repeat flying back home. It's the album I've always neglected because I like the singer-songwriter stuff more than the Pavement sounding jams. But it clicked this time and I really enjoyed it. Lookout Mountain is my favorite though. I came to the band late in the game and never understood why that album isn't as beloved as others. Candy Jail is so great.

Cow_Art, Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:05 (one year ago) link

oh my god, that's awesome.

☮ (peace, man), Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:05 (one year ago) link

which is he -- the dude on the far left?

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:08 (one year ago) link

yep. that pic is awesome, and thanks so much for the context and story, cow_art.

i am sitting here listening to my own neglected D.C.Berman album, Tanglewood Numbers. i recently found it on my record shelves, miscategorized, away from the others, and didn't even realize i owned it! it's a special gift this morning

Karl Malone, Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:21 (one year ago) link

Good album. Small problems, but I recently started buying vinyl again and had a couple SJ albums in my list of things I absolutely need to have. I imagine they'll be backordered for quite a while now.

☮ (peace, man), Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:54 (one year ago) link

Last night I rewatched Silver Jew and it was tough going, especially the end when he is praying and crying.

Yessir, that's a heavy scene to say the least. Says a lot about the steel of the filmmaker that we even got to see it. I don't know that I would've been able to breach that highly personal (figurative) wall by getting my camera so close to him during the wailing, but I guess he was cool with it.

Heavy scenes like that one are balanced out by lighter ones in the beginning, like when he's asking the pet shop owner for a chewable menorah.

del griffith, Sunday, 11 August 2019 16:16 (one year ago) link

As much of a fan as I am, have never watched "Silver Jew". Will have to rectify that soon.

Lactose Shaolin Wanker (Raymond Cummings), Sunday, 11 August 2019 16:18 (one year ago) link

It's worth your time, for sure. This scene even has a ski vest button-style convenience store mirror in it.

https://j.gifs.com/2x1yAN.gif

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zVzxausyPo

del griffith, Sunday, 11 August 2019 16:43 (one year ago) link

That pic of D♾M is fantastic, thanks a lot for sharing. (I feel like I know the guy in the middle somehow, like he was a camp counselor or something, but I guess lots of guys looked like that.)

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Sunday, 11 August 2019 17:38 (one year ago) link

Don't know the name of the guy in the middle. The guy on the right is Rob Chamberlin. I think Rob and David were Doom. Not sure if the other guy had anything to do with the band or if they were just hanging out together.

Silver Jew was hard to watch with hindsight, not because it is inherently depressing. He was actually at a pretty good place in his life then.

Cow_Art, Sunday, 11 August 2019 18:40 (one year ago) link

it's an insanely catchy song. i know it's a direct rip of a new wave song

Listening for the first time in weeks (and really enjoying it after days of just reading lyrics quoted), I noticed how the synths really are separated from being just a signifier of 80s top-40 pop. They sound live and part of the band, rather than an imitation of or homage to the era when they were a commercial necessity.

... (Eazy), Sunday, 11 August 2019 18:40 (one year ago) link

do we think we can try to figure out the bands for the two setlists on the wall behind the guys in that Doom pic?

alpine static, Sunday, 11 August 2019 18:45 (one year ago) link

my guess for the one on the left is True Believers - I've never heard them but they have songs called:

Marianne
Hard Road
Lucky Moon
Foggy Notion
She's Got
Who Calls My Name

they are also from Austin and Club Dada on the poster next to it is in Dallas - could be the set list is from that gig?

Colonel Poo, Sunday, 11 August 2019 19:03 (one year ago) link

The keyboards are essential to the sound: I love the Mellotron on "She's Making Friends, I'm Turning Stranger" (reminds me of similar passages in Bowie's "Big Brother," oddly), for example.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 11 August 2019 19:37 (one year ago) link

This is the Twitter feed of Silver Jew director Michael Tully, scroll down a bit for some remembrances:

https://twitter.com/tullstoy

Position Position, Sunday, 11 August 2019 21:47 (one year ago) link

I like the way that WaPo piece dwells on Tanglewood Numbers; I agree that album occupies a special place in the SJ discography.

60... 90... 120 Minute IPA (morrisp), Sunday, 11 August 2019 22:14 (one year ago) link

Am I the only person whose favourite album is bright flight?

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Sunday, 11 August 2019 22:27 (one year ago) link


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