Purple Mountains (RIP David Berman, August 2019)

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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 years 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 years 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 years ago) link



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

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


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

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

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

^^ from another new recent interview:


... (Eazy), Thursday, 22 August 2019 02:55 (two years 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.



del griffith, Thursday, 22 August 2019 04:02 (two years ago) link

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

del griffith, Thursday, 22 August 2019 04:04 (two years 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 (two years ago) link

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

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

Bill Callahan did a couple Silver Jews songs last night:



Vaguely Threatening CAPTCHAs, Friday, 23 August 2019 15:43 (two years 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.

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

how many rt

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

this briefly warmed my spirits


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

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


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 (two years 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 (two years ago) link


na (NA), Tuesday, 3 September 2019 16:45 (two years ago) link

two weeks pass...

"Nights That Won't Happen"

flappy bird, Tuesday, 24 September 2019 04:54 (two years ago) link


Simon H., Tuesday, 24 September 2019 06:43 (two years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Episode 100: a tribute to the life, words, and music of David Cloud Berman. Songs from Silver Jews and Purple Mountains, stories from @BNastanovich. https://t.co/iu4DjR3Yus

— 3 Songs Podcast (@3songspod) October 14, 2019

drunk on hot toddies (morrisp), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 02:01 (two years ago) link

That was enjoyable, thanks for sharing that link. It'd be great to hear an unfiltered account of DCBs hijnks, understandable why people would be hesitant to do so though

badg, Tuesday, 15 October 2019 16:56 (two years ago) link

Heartening (&heartbreaking) to hear about Jeffrey Lewis and DBs respect & admiration for him, Jeff was over the moon to be collabing with him & took it hard afterward.

I so glad that Bob has this podcast, I could listen to him talk about anything for pretty much any length of time.

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:47 (two years ago) link

Jeffrey Lewis is a treasure. One of the few lyricists I can think of that can measure up to DCB (though obviously coming from a very different place).

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:52 (two years ago) link

still best album of the year, even if i can only listen to it in very specific moods and so not really that often.

Hmmmmm (jamiesummerz), Monday, 28 October 2019 15:45 (two years ago) link

in fact i'd say it's Mr Berman's best since Bright Flight.

Hmmmmm (jamiesummerz), Monday, 28 October 2019 15:50 (two years ago) link

"i loved being my mother's son" is the most heartbreaking song of 2019. oh my god. in the villa or ormen

reggie (qualmsley), Tuesday, 5 November 2019 20:17 (two years ago) link

Tennessee Titans honor David Berman with scoreboard message https://t.co/vU9qnaUDt4 pic.twitter.com/pEXsArZxSG

— Stereogum (@stereogum) November 11, 2019

quinn morgendorffer stan account (morrisp), Tuesday, 12 November 2019 21:18 (two years ago) link

That rules so much -- I would love to know how it happened, i.e. did someone pay for it, is there a fan in the ownership or mgmt, is he better recognized in Nashville than I realized, etc.

I haven't been able to listen to the record for months -- it's just too heartbreaking.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 12 November 2019 21:24 (two years ago) link

I can't resist listening, despite it being a long suicide note. Some beautiful songs. Definitely one of his best.

Duke, Tuesday, 12 November 2019 21:45 (two years ago) link

Oral history of DCB's time in Virginia/NYC:


Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 15 November 2019 05:34 (two years ago) link

& WTJU is having a tribute/memorial concert this weekend. They put together a band called The Wild Kindness. I am out of the loop so I don't know all the people involved but I see Matt D4tesman, Sh4nn0n W0rrel, G4te, N3d Oldh4m.

Yerac, Friday, 15 November 2019 12:22 (two years ago) link

closest i've been able to get to listening to the album has been listening to covers & tributes, including repeat listens to this one of Dean Wareham doing 'Snow Is Falling In Manhattan (cant remember if its been posted itt): https://soundcloud.com/section26/dean-wareham-snow-is-falling-in-manhattan

Initially thought of 'Snow' as a pleasant romantic interlude on an otherwise very intense album, its gradually risen in my estimation to my favorite song on the record

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Friday, 15 November 2019 13:20 (two years ago) link

I had never listened to this guy before his death (I’m a pavement skeptic) but this album is really great. I know no one needed to hear that, but I wanted to say it.

L'assie (Euler), Friday, 15 November 2019 13:23 (two years ago) link

Snow is the beating heart of the album. It is the song where you get the sense of Berman's warmth and humanity without the weight of his depression.

Mazzy Tsar (PBKR), Saturday, 16 November 2019 02:31 (two years ago) link

i've mulled that "songs build little rooms in time" verse over in my head so many times this year and i'm in awe at how perfect it is

Heez, Saturday, 16 November 2019 03:47 (two years ago) link

Initially thought of 'Snow' as a pleasant romantic interlude on an otherwise very intense album, its gradually risen in my estimation to my favorite song on the record

Totally agree on these takes on that song. Initially disliked it, but it’s absolutely swelled in me as something enormous and special.

circa1916, Saturday, 16 November 2019 03:48 (two years ago) link

Most of us haven’t even gotten a winter day to fully appreciate it in.

circa1916, Saturday, 16 November 2019 03:52 (two years ago) link

The horns on Snow... are so damn perfect.

And I crapped on about this upthread but it's become so entwined with Joyce in my head I'm convinced Berman was communing with The Dead when he wrote Snow is Falling on Manhattan.

Generous tears filled Gabriel’s eyes. He had never felt like that himself towards any woman, but he knew that such a feeling must be love. The tears gathered more thickly in his eyes and in the partial darkness he imagined he saw the form of a young man standing under a dripping tree. Other forms were near. His soul had approached that region where dwell the vast hosts of the dead. He was conscious of, but could not apprehend, their wayward and flickering existence. His own identity was fading out into a grey impalpable world: the solid world itself, which these dead had one time reared and lived in, was dissolving and dwindling.

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

Life is a meaningless nightmare of suffering...save string (Chinaski), Saturday, 16 November 2019 11:04 (two years ago) link

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