Purple Mountains (RIP David Berman, August 2019)

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Starlite Walker - The Natural Bridge - American Water - Bright Flight is such an amazing run. I think each one is better than the one before it. Should poll the instrumentals, closing ballads, etc. I guess he thought the tambourine was mixed too loud on Transylvania Blues, and it ruined the song. It never really bothered me until I read that, but I can't unhear it now.

triple-washed (Sufjan Grafton), Friday, 16 August 2019 17:02 (two months ago) link

Tanglewood is the sleeper of the catalog imo. But I legitimately love them all. Weirdly, maybe, Starlite is my least favorite. It's the most uneven, I think.

I remember reading that DCB thought he "let up" on side 2 of Bright Flight or something to that effect, which was why it wasn't more popular, according to him. I wish I could remember where I read that. He's mostly right - that album is very front-loaded. Then again, how many songwriters would give their right arm to write something as amazing as "Death To an Heir or Sorrows?" I also have always had a soft spot for "Tennessee," even though it's pretty dumb (in the sweetest and most self-aware kind of way, of course).

Paul Ponzi, Friday, 16 August 2019 17:07 (two months ago) link

Bright Flight is often the one I return to most these days

Thus Spoke Darraghustra (Oor Neechy), Friday, 16 August 2019 18:06 (two months ago) link

Jeremiah Cymerman retweeted this email from DB to a friend going to hospital for detox.

Seven years ago I was about to go into the hospital for detox after a really rough few years. I was scared and isolated. I sent an email to David in the dark.
His response truly helped me and I will always carry it with me.
thank you dcb#dragcity #DavidBerman pic.twitter.com/VsXjJDMl2S

— Timrw58 (@Timothy17695396) August 8, 2019

EvR, Friday, 16 August 2019 20:50 (two months ago) link

I would agree the first half of Bright Flight is better than the second half, but I love Let's Not and Say We Did and Tennessee. The former has such weird nonsense lyrics describing a surreal winter wonderland. The latter is the Silver Jews' version of Jackson.

Mazzy Tsar (PBKR), Friday, 16 August 2019 21:08 (two months ago) link

Tanglewood is the sleeper of the catalog imo. But I legitimately love them all. Weirdly, maybe, Starlite is my least favorite. It's the most uneven, I think.

(...)

― Paul Ponzi, Friday, 16 August 2019

Fully agree. For me Starlite is his weakest album.

Duke, Friday, 16 August 2019 21:30 (two months ago) link

It does seem a little filler-y, but Trains Across the Sea, Advice to the Graduate, and New Orleans are all time.

circa1916, Friday, 16 August 2019 21:33 (two months ago) link

LET'S DO THIS

Natural Bridge>>>Purple Mountains>>>Bright Flight>>>American Water>>>Arizona Record>>>Tanglewood Numbers>>>Starlite Walker>>> Lookout etc

They all have great songs though

Lactose Shaolin Wanker (Raymond Cummings), Friday, 16 August 2019 21:40 (two months ago) link

agree Natural Bridge da best

husserl gang (rip van wanko), Friday, 16 August 2019 21:42 (two months ago) link

"Nights That Won't Happen" is beautiful:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPtqrXx0sJs

djh, Friday, 16 August 2019 22:24 (two months ago) link

Natural Bridge > American Water > Tanglewood Numbers > Purple Mountains = Bright Flight = Lookout Mountain > Starlite Walker > Arizona

Paul Ponzi, Saturday, 17 August 2019 00:11 (two months ago) link

whatever works for ya

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Saturday, 17 August 2019 02:31 (two months ago) link

Honestly don’t know how to rank these outside of Natural Bridge at #1 with Tanglewood >> Lookout at the end.

circa1916, Saturday, 17 August 2019 06:25 (two months ago) link

Not rly counting the lo-fi early stuff, kind of a different thing.

circa1916, Saturday, 17 August 2019 06:26 (two months ago) link

^ exactly right. i mean of course you have to rank Starlite Walker with the others, but it's not really a fair fight. Starlite is very much embryonic Joos. everything from Natural Bridge on is more fully Berman-ized and on equal footing.

alpine static, Saturday, 17 August 2019 07:48 (two months ago) link

"Nights That Won't Happen" is beautiful:

― djh, Friday, August 16, 2019 10:24 PM (yesterday) bookmarkflaglink

Was listening to Purple Mountains again the other day and when this came on I was just gutted. Not just over Berman's death, but over every death I've experienced and will experience in the future. Like, I haven't even listened to it in days, just writing a post about it, and I can feel the tears welling up in their ducts. I'm gonna go hug somebody I love now.

☮ (peace, man), Saturday, 17 August 2019 12:46 (two months ago) link

been spinning my peak trio today. hard to argue with American Water's popularity goddamn it what an album.

triple-washed (Sufjan Grafton), Saturday, 17 August 2019 22:43 (two months ago) link

apologies if it’s been linked but some Nashville folks talking Berman

https://www.nashvillescene.com/music/features/article/21082123/friends-and-bandmates-reflect-on-the-life-of-david-berman

A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Chooglin (will), Saturday, 17 August 2019 23:36 (two months ago) link

Great stories in that one, thanks

circa1916, Sunday, 18 August 2019 00:50 (two months ago) link

yes, very good. thank you.

triple-washed (Sufjan Grafton), Sunday, 18 August 2019 01:47 (two months ago) link

David had a universe of one-liners that were as profound as zen koans. One night, when load-out was taking too long and some of the band wanted to go out partying, he yelled: "We're adults — we are too old to make new friends." He was a true humanist both in his work and his outlook on life. He hated pretension. He told me his favorite novel was Dog Soldiers by Robert Stone. He valued real storytelling and real connection. I was always self-conscious about not going to college and reading the classics, and I remember one time he said, kind of dismissively: "You have to go to an academy to have someone walk you through Joyce and Ezra Pound." On an eight-week tour in 2008, I am pretty sure all we listened to in the S-Jews van was country oldies, Black Sabbath, Grateful Dead and Tennessee Titans games.

William Tyler OTM. I like his records, too.

del griffith, Sunday, 18 August 2019 02:04 (two months ago) link

his new album is wonderful. "nights that won't happen" is of a different tone than anything else i've heard from him

Karl Malone, Sunday, 18 August 2019 02:09 (two months ago) link

'tide to the oceans' such a standout track from starlite walker... played it about five times today

meaulnes, Sunday, 18 August 2019 22:10 (two months ago) link

jfc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZKMa-ByLBQ

Karl Malone, Monday, 19 August 2019 04:54 (two months ago) link

Was lurking BobNasty's IG, found these older posts:

https://www.instagram.com/p/17OfckD87t/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BhrOqjnl8G2/

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Monday, 19 August 2019 05:04 (two months ago) link

Yeah that Darkness and Cold video is difficult to watch. xpost

Duke, Monday, 19 August 2019 16:23 (two months ago) link

Wow: “For pleasant accidents, “Nights That Won’t Happen”, came out of mishearing “Knight In White Satin” ”

— Marc Masters (@Marcissist) August 21, 2019

... (Eazy), Thursday, 22 August 2019 02:54 (one month ago) link

^^ from another new recent interview:

https://www.metro.us/entertainment/metro-remembers-david-berman-1967-2019

... (Eazy), Thursday, 22 August 2019 02:55 (one month ago) link

if you're into thinking about "pleasant accidents" or even unpleasant accidents I recommend clicking through the long history of the mostly desolately populated jibberish infested Silver Jews Bulletin Board, past all the dumb seemingly nonsensical pecker posts, to get to the the 2012-2015 era to find lots of rough drafts of now-familiar song lyrics and a lot of originals about marital dissolution, extramarital sex, Nashville, Brooklyn, alcoholism, homosexuality, suicide, and lots more (probably about 20-25 posts) posted by the poster breedlove, most often also under the lyrical pseudonym Kingston Bunkley, and also sometimes attributed to a "Craig Breedlove." ("Craig" of course being David's pre-Cloud middle name.) It's the same poster at the same time that posted the lyrics to songs called "The Veranda Over the Toy Shoppe" and "Wacky Package Eyes" that seems to line up with up what Bob Nastanovich was saying at the time about two new Silver Jews songs he said they'd written, but then later retracted as a joke. I'd post links to the posts directly but they don't seem to work. Other posts from around the same time suggest this is maybe an account operated by or shared with Chris Stroffolino, but then again there are also posts from breedlove saying "this is not Chris." I'll let the Nick Broomfields of ilx figure that out.

https://i.imgur.com/cYBV2N9.png

http://disc.yourwebapps.com/Indices/18043.html

del griffith, Thursday, 22 August 2019 04:02 (one month ago) link

btw that IP address can be traced to Brooklyn, New York.

del griffith, Thursday, 22 August 2019 04:04 (one month ago) link

(also, he said in an interview that he intentionally chose "Nights that Won't Happen" as a titleplay on "Knights in White Satin," and was surprised when his friends didn't immediately realize it. so, there's that)

del griffith, Thursday, 22 August 2019 04:10 (one month ago) link

breedlove
Snow is Falling, New York City
Mon Jan 26, 2015 22:03
68.175.60.236

Snow is falling in Manhattan, I’ve got my coat, I’ve got my hat on
Falling deepler down in Brooklyn, someone cold that I just took in
Snowflakes causing quite a scene, Staten Island, The Bronx and Queens
Softly falling, oh so pretty, snow is falling, New York City

Falling down on Brooklyn Bridge, from Riverdale down to Bay Ridge
From the narrows, to the heights, falling on the city lights
See the city in a rush, transformed with a quiet hush
Come tomorrow it’s all gone, still it falls on and on

Snow along the sidewalk sweeps, across the city that never sleeps
Children sledding in the park, couples skating after dark
Sounds of laughter in the air, snow plows rushing here and there
Snowmen, snowballs, snowflakes fall, snow draped buildings big and small

Snow is falling in Manhattan, I’ve got my coat, I’ve got my hat on
Falling deeply out in Brooklyn, someone cold that I just took in
Snowflakes causing quite a scene, Staten Island, The Bronx and Queens
Softly falling, oh so pretty, snow is falling, New York City
---
Kingston Bunkley

Karl Malone, Thursday, 22 August 2019 04:17 (one month ago) link

The more I listen to this, the more I believe it's his finest group of songs (really a musical suicide note). I applaud him for finding a way to write this stuff while (likely) suffering through the worst depression of his life. This album is as chilling as any in recent memory. The fact that it's also hilarious at times is all the more remarkable. Album of the year.

Wally P. Doyle, Thursday, 22 August 2019 06:07 (one month ago) link

(also, he said in an interview that he intentionally chose "Nights that Won't Happen" as a titleplay on "Knights in White Satin," and was surprised when his friends didn't immediately realize it. so, there's that)

― del griffith, Thursday, August 22, 2019 4:10 AM (thirteen hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

Had a feeling that was the case.

☮ (peace, man), Thursday, 22 August 2019 17:34 (one month ago) link

oh duh haha I'm so dense

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 22 August 2019 17:58 (one month ago) link

Bill Callahan did a couple Silver Jews songs last night:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sNdNyan_h4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CStDjTZnh2s

Vaguely Threatening CAPTCHAs, Friday, 23 August 2019 15:43 (one month ago) link

I became momentarily and unwittingly internet famous for posting a bad 40-second-clip of one of those. Glad someone else did a better job capturing.
http://pitchfork.com/news/watch-bill-callahan-cover-silver-jews-i-remember-me/

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Friday, 23 August 2019 19:22 (one month ago) link

("internet famous" on a very low level but high relative to my day-to-day anonymity)

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Friday, 23 August 2019 19:22 (one month ago) link

how many rt

husserl gang (rip van wanko), Friday, 23 August 2019 19:44 (one month ago) link

instagram - hundred someodd likes and climbing, but point being that it's in pitchfork

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Friday, 23 August 2019 19:48 (one month ago) link

This might have been mentioned but reading that alternative version of Snow is Falling in Manhattan i wonder if it's an (not that) oblique reference to Joyce's The Dead.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Sunday, 25 August 2019 10:08 (one month ago) link

It's interesting what he changed with the released version of Snow is Falling in Manhattan - I think its vastly superior to the version KM posted above. Changes the song from a one-dimensional observation/scene of a winter day to a multi-dimensional metaphor for writers/musicians and their relationship with readers/listeners. The song became less repetitive, but deeper.

Mazzy Tsar (PBKR), Sunday, 25 August 2019 16:34 (one month ago) link

Put off listening to this until finally today, driving through the mountains of Vermont. Seemed like a good setting. It was a very hard, rewarding listen. Held it together until the 1-2 punch of “I Loved Being My Mother’s Son” and “Nights That Won’t Happen.”

Western® with Bacon Flavor, Sunday, 25 August 2019 23:03 (one month ago) link

For any Toronto-based fans, there's a tribute happening on the night that would have been the Purple Mountains show

Simon H., Sunday, 25 August 2019 23:07 (one month ago) link

this briefly warmed my spirits

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dl__2ILE8k

"there is no leisure with dignity in an unfinished world"

Western® with Bacon Flavor, Tuesday, 27 August 2019 06:33 (one month ago) link

https://anmlcollectve.bandcamp.com/track/ballad-of-reverend-war-character-silver-jews-cover-2

A few weeks ago we planned on seeing Purple Mountains together. Instead we spent the night listening to David’s records and talking about how much his music and art meant to us. He was an inspiration for decades. One we wouldn’t be here without. We’ve been playing covers of his music since 1994 when we first picked up guitars together, so it felt like one of the few things we could do to get through the sadness. The next day we worked on this cover of “Ballad of Reverend War Character”. Per the request from David’s family, all of the proceeds will be donated to MusiCares and Music Health Alliance, so pay as much as you want.
- Avey Tare & Geologist

flappy bird, Saturday, 31 August 2019 06:40 (one month ago) link

Looks like Drag City is taking preorders on their website for represses of all the Silver Jews LPs

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Saturday, 31 August 2019 17:56 (one month ago) link

https://boingboing.net/2019/09/02/my-unfinished-sound-project-wi.html

na (NA), Tuesday, 3 September 2019 16:45 (one month ago) link

two weeks pass...

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