Purple Mountains (RIP David Berman, August 2019)

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i thought SJ/DB were more popular than bill callahan, but as i compare YT view counts (not exactly definitive, i know) I seem to be wrong

I learned over the weekend that my mother, of all people, is apparently a big Callahan head ("Do you know him, and his band, Smog? He's so talented, he has an amazing voice... there's no one else like him!").

She's not an "indie" type at all. I was pretty surprised.

dad genes (morrisp), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 19:03 (seven months ago) link

Regardless though, once I got to know Silver Jews, I thought (and still think) them >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Pavement

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 19:04 (seven months ago) link

(him)

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 19:04 (seven months ago) link

There are hundreds of bands that were offshoots and side projects of better known indie bands whose albums currently languish in dollar bins worldwide. If SJ was ever considered a Pavement "side project," it transcended this, by my estimation, around the time of The Natural Bridge and became its own thing with its own distinct fanbase. To claim SJ might have been "virtually unknown" is incorrect. When I think of virtually unknown bands that feature members of relatively well-loved Drag City and Matador acts, I think of Pale Horse Riders, Drinks, Dan'l Boone, The Sundowners, New Bums, Nervous Cop, Preston School of Industry, etc.

fwiw idgaf about Pavement but I'm a longtime Silver Jews fan, and I can't imagine I'm the only person who fits this description

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 4 February 2020 19:13 (seven months ago) link

Hey Paul, totally off-topic – how did you like that Fiery Furnaces album you ordered on eBay?

dad genes (morrisp), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 19:17 (seven months ago) link

My "favorite" Silver Jews/Pavement related obscure band:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WId0rLAItJo

They played CBs a few times. Nobody remembers them. This video has 568 views in 9 years, probably a dozen from me.

vox/guitar is UVA roommate/best-friend of DCB who was also a former member of Ectoslavia... and Mark Ibold replaced him as bass player of Pavement after a few gigs. Also a Swans & Live Skull connection.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 19:25 (seven months ago) link

(^this is the definition of virtually unknown imho)

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 19:28 (seven months ago) link

Hey Paul, totally off-topic – how did you like that Fiery Furnaces album you ordered on eBay?

― dad genes (morrisp), Tuesday, February 4, 2020 2:17 PM (seventeen minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

I loved it, actually, and it made me want to go back to the others I neglected. Meant to thank you for the tip! "Drive to Dallas" and "Charmagne Champagne" are top shelf FF, and I laughed out loud every time the "Take Me Round Again" chorus repeated ("listen, Lester!"). Dunno why I ever stopped paying attention to this band when they were around, especially since I was crazy about their first few albums, and have also enjoyed all of Eleanor's solo stuff.

Sorry for the derail!

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 4 February 2020 19:39 (seven months ago) link

Great, glad to hear it! (and the derail is my fault, lol)

dad genes (morrisp), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 19:53 (seven months ago) link

If SJ was ever considered a Pavement "side project," it transcended this, by my estimation, around the time of The Natural Bridge and became its own thing with its own distinct fanbase.

Pavement was a Silver Jews side project

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 20:26 (seven months ago) link

that's a false myth:

first pavement recording: jan 1989, released july 1989
first silver jews recordings: 1991, released may 1992

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 21:14 (seven months ago) link

i know nothing, but recording dates don't necessarily prove that one thing existed before the other. they just mean that one sloppy unheard band decided to record something before the other

But guess what? Nobody gives a toot!😂 (Karl Malone), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 21:17 (seven months ago) link

Wikipedia says they were formed at roughly the same time, fwiw, both in 1989

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 21:52 (seven months ago) link

Pavement was not a side project of the Silver Jews. Like I said upthread, they were operating in parallel. One was some drunk roommates living room "recordings", and one was a cross-country project that would record on the occasional holiday break.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 22:05 (seven months ago) link

Al -- thx for posting that Sugartime single. I love the riff... the vocals are SO in that '80s NYC zone, they sound like Das Damen or any number of other bands.

dad genes (morrisp), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 22:24 (seven months ago) link

As far as the Sliding Doors game, if Berman had stayed only a poet, he probably would be at the fame level of Matthew Zapruder or Dean Young.

... (Eazy), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 22:54 (seven months ago) link

Thx @morrisp,

Both David & Rob were huge Cure/Echo fans, you never heard it in David's voice but I hear a lot of goth/crossover in Rob's. I have a pic of them looking pretty gothy somewhere, it was sent to me around the time of David's passing.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 23:15 (seven months ago) link

This is a good one (Rob & David):

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2srCfuDSFp/

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 23:23 (seven months ago) link

This IG account was their other roommate at the time, she has a bunch of old pics of Rob & David:

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2stEsKjxWl/

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 23:24 (seven months ago) link

Re: the 2nd pic (with the cig) -- looks like Malkmus borrowed that shirt at one point (or vice-versa).

dad genes (morrisp), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 23:31 (seven months ago) link

Good eye, the first pic was taken ~86, the Starlite Walker pix ~8 years later.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 4 February 2020 23:34 (seven months ago) link

i had that exact shirt around 9th grade lol. surprised i didn't make the connection before

otm into winter (rip van wanko), Wednesday, 5 February 2020 00:22 (seven months ago) link

https://i.imgur.com/PE32eVG.jpg

PaulTMA, Thursday, 13 February 2020 13:22 (seven months ago) link

two weeks pass...
three weeks pass...

https://youtu.be/nsjQ3Gblzys?t=177

enochroot, Thursday, 26 March 2020 19:50 (five months ago) link

Weeeiiiird. I've never been able to get into Avalanches, but I guess it's cool to see them pay tribute to David.

☮️ (peace, man), Thursday, 26 March 2020 20:03 (five months ago) link

i'm sure this is in this thread elsewhere, but

https://youtu.be/7XTrz0yvxe0

circa1916, Thursday, 26 March 2020 20:08 (five months ago) link

Oh, I didn't know they had worked together.

☮️ (peace, man), Thursday, 26 March 2020 20:14 (five months ago) link

i'm sure this is in this thread elsewhere, but

https://youtu.be/7XTrz0yvxe0🕸


if it was upthread i missed it. that’s really lovely.

Fizzles, Thursday, 26 March 2020 20:17 (five months ago) link

i've listened to this album far more than any other over the past 8 months.

treeship., Thursday, 26 March 2020 20:27 (five months ago) link

four months pass...

good album. one year. miss him.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Friday, 7 August 2020 18:12 (one month ago) link

<3

the quar on drugs (Simon H.), Friday, 7 August 2020 18:16 (one month ago) link

It doesn’t seem like a year but here we are. On 8/7/19 the world lost one of the greats. I was lucky to call him a friend & a mentor; he was that & more for so many. Tried to think of a way to mark the date w/o focusing on the awful end. Here’s my idea. Tomorrow at @tresgatosjp. pic.twitter.com/VIYESE6T7l

— Ryan H. Walsh (@JahHills) August 6, 2020

mizzell, Friday, 7 August 2020 18:16 (one month ago) link

From someone's private collection:

"Dime Map Of The Reef"
https://i.imgur.com/ah2mX4l.jpg

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Saturday, 8 August 2020 05:41 (one month ago) link

And housed within the song's design
Is the ghost the host has left behind
To greet and sweep the guest inside
Stoke the fire and sing his lines

Mule, Sunday, 9 August 2020 12:51 (one month ago) link

that's a very nice image. but somehow i find self-referential lyrics still very heavy especially when they anticipate the disappearance of the songwriter. there is something coquettish about it. on the other hand there is also something very resolute about it. but of course i would have preferred him to be inconsistent, i.e. to write that song and not do it.

walking towards the sun since 2007 (alex in mainhattan), Sunday, 9 August 2020 20:03 (one month ago) link

I don't take those lines as self-referential, or anticipating his suicide, necessarily. It's just a lovely way of saying that something of the songwriter lies within every song, forever. Taken with the lines before it, and the overall theme of the song, for me it evokes how a great piece of music can make you feel less alone, warm, comforted, human.

triggercut, Monday, 10 August 2020 00:47 (one month ago) link

Yeah, I agree with that. There’s of course added poignancy following his death, but the lines stand out for me first and foremost because his songs are really like that, they are places you can go and experience the sensibilities, wit and intellect of a really special songwriter.

Mule, Monday, 10 August 2020 06:34 (one month ago) link

I find PM to be quite a hopeful record for the most part tbh

the quar on drugs (Simon H.), Monday, 10 August 2020 15:00 (one month ago) link

I dunno. Songs 1, 2, 3 and 8 are pretty devastating.

Duke, Monday, 10 August 2020 15:55 (one month ago) link

of all the songs on the snow is falling in manhattan is the least grim to me and the most pretty and kind

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 10 August 2020 16:05 (one month ago) link

I agree

Duke, Monday, 10 August 2020 16:18 (one month ago) link

I also thought the new record seemed hopeful, then and now. Obviously presenting super heavy stuff, but in a way that felt like ripping off a band aid rather than diving into the abyss or w/e. Ending it with "Stoyline Fever" and "Maybe I'm the Only One For Me" seemed like a big statement to me, a powerful combination of songs that seems to have something to say about how with some work you may discover that you're bigger than your problems. I couldnt really get on board when after his death people started parsing the lyrics for any reference to absence, exit, or finality as saying that the record felt like a suicide note, I just didn't see it. (Also I feel like if David Berman actually sat down and wanted to do a Blackstar-style album about his own impending death, it would be like 100x more scary and intense than PM.)

That being said I've barely been able to listen to it since his passing, aside from "Snow" which I'm more & more convinced is the best thing he ever did.

turn the jawhatthefuckever on (One Eye Open), Monday, 10 August 2020 16:28 (one month ago) link

^all OTM

Washington Foosball Team (morrisp), Monday, 10 August 2020 16:33 (one month ago) link

That's a take I would like to believe in even if I'm not sure. Definitely OTM about "Snow", however.

Mom jokes are his way of showing affection (to your mom) (PBKR), Monday, 10 August 2020 16:43 (one month ago) link

I don't find the album that depressing, there's a lot of funny stuff

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 10 August 2020 16:49 (one month ago) link

depressing is never depressing because it's ~relatable~

Thicc Nhat Wanh (rip van wanko), Monday, 10 August 2020 16:57 (one month ago) link

I still have trouble listening to it (or any Silver Jews, to be honest). i'll dig back in at some point, but for now it feels rough.

tylerw, Monday, 10 August 2020 16:57 (one month ago) link

"Nights That Won't Happen" does feel a bit morbid now, I admit.

the quar on drugs (Simon H.), Monday, 10 August 2020 17:14 (one month ago) link


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