Silver Jews: Classic or dud

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well, which is it then?

fritz, Thursday, 1 November 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Possibly a bad "classic or dud" band, in that they're neither -- just a reasonably good and interesting project. (I suppose that means "classic," so far as the question goes.)

Nitsuh, Thursday, 1 November 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

possibly quite right, suh. no need to c or d, just interested in people's thoughts ( esp. on the new one).

fritz, Thursday, 1 November 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

there lyrics are grate , there music is grating

anthony, Thursday, 1 November 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I don't mind the music, but the vocals are just embarrassing. It's a rare poet who can do his own works justice.

Tracer Hand, Thursday, 1 November 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I want to say classic but I can't quite do it. Too many tunes are a bit on the dull side, even when (yes) the lyrics are good. But the two records I have are about 40% EXCELLENT songs, so he's pretty close. I like Silver Jews a lot, just rather hit-or-miss in the melody dept. Excited to hear the new one.

Search: Random Rules, Dallas (the line "How'd you turn a billion steers/ into buildings made of mirrors" is so great -- I always picture the skyline from the opening of the Dallas TV show) How To Rent A Room, Buckinghan Rabbit, Frontier Index, Black and Brown Shoes, Albemarle Station (god, I love that one)...a few others.

I like American Beauty and Workingman's Dead, so I like his music and voice just fine.

Mark, Thursday, 1 November 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

It just seems like he doesn't give a shit about his singing. Maybe he does, and his voice "sucks" "on purpose" but when the rest of the instrumentation is so basically competent it sounds wrong.

Lyrically he is amazing, I agree. "Last night I dreamed of Jesus" has such a great procession of verses. "trains across the sea" has got every CFO's nightmare: "half hours on earth / what are they worth? / i don't know."

Tracer Hand, Thursday, 1 November 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Two years ago I'd have said classic, but then, I'm no longer hyper indie and apt to run in terror from music that actually sounds nice. That said, still pretty good.. he does write good lyrics tho' I feel they're a little too.. Americana clever-clever, overwritten maybe. Search "Dallas," "Smith & Jones Forever," .. actually both of the last two albums are quite good all around, w/some great lines: "And so the rent became whiskey / and then my life became risky..."

daria gray, Thursday, 1 November 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

classic, no doubt - esp american water. as for the voice: as d berman himself sings: "all my favourite singers couldn't sing"

martin h, Saturday, 3 November 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Mark E S can't really sing either, and sometimes his band is fabulously competent, but the attitude that backs it up is just ferocious. He SELLS it. Dylan sold it. Cash sold it. I don't think Berman sells it. At least not to this customer. It's like he's sort of hoping you're buying but if not, hey, no biggie, come back tomorrow.

Tracer Hand, Saturday, 3 November 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

i like them better without malkmus. don't really listen to them much no more.

di, Saturday, 3 November 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I agree with Tracer on the voice but actually I find that kind of understatement charming. To abuse his selling it metaphor - it's the difference between "Can I help you?" and letting you browse. It means they're a band I listen to hardly ever but I'm always charmed and enjoy the experience when I do. Lyrics? They're best when they're moving, but they do clever intelligently, at least.

Tom, Sunday, 4 November 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

two years pass...
video of the empty bottle performance:

www.falsedawn.blogspot.com

gygax! (gygax!), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 17:53 (fifteen years ago) link

whoops, it's actually here:

http://www.multiply.org/notebook/archives/000476.html

gygax! (gygax!), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 17:54 (fifteen years ago) link

chestnut station, how i love thee!

morris pavilion (samjeff), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 18:03 (fifteen years ago) link

Classic.


True story:

I have 2 friends, room mates at college, one is a the biggest Silver Jews fan in the known universe, one just likes it cause the other one got him into it. The one who just sort of like them and wants to seem indie gets a fake ID to see the David Berman "poetry reading" in Chi-town, which of course turns out to be one of the only Silver Jews concerts ever also featuring Will Oldham and the guy from Smog and long story short he bought a poster for the real fan but still c'mon

David Allen (David Allen), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 18:19 (fifteen years ago) link

Ridiculously Classic. So many beautiful images.

"I love to see a rainbow from a garden hose /
lit up like the blood of a centerfold /
I love the city and the city rain /
suburban kids with biblical names"

Ben Boyer (Ben Boyer), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 18:27 (fifteen years ago) link

The drums march along at the clip of an ivory drip like sparks from a muffler dragged down the strip,
uh huh.

Nobody writes lyrics better.

otto, Tuesday, 30 March 2004 20:11 (fifteen years ago) link

Utter CLASSIC for Natural Bridge and American Water.

scott m (mcd), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 20:32 (fifteen years ago) link

classic, and I am almost sure that Actual Air will always be much better than the Tweedy-man's upcoming poetry volume, sad but true

Donna Brown (Donna Brown), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 23:13 (fifteen years ago) link

the best band. ever.

comic book guy, Friday, 9 April 2004 13:39 (fifteen years ago) link

concur!

andrew s (andrew s), Friday, 9 April 2004 14:38 (fifteen years ago) link

"Nobody writes lyrics better."

Otto OTM.

Classic, if it needed saying.

Snnap Dragon (snnap dragon), Friday, 9 April 2004 17:48 (fifteen years ago) link

There are plenty of non-singers who made it big, Dylan,
Lou Reed, Malkmus, etc.

But despite their lack of technical ability, they had charisma
and an infectious sense of rhythm.

I don't hear either in Berman's voice. But that's just me.
They have a few great songs, so I can't in fairness dud them.

Squirrel_Police (Squirrel_Police), Friday, 9 April 2004 18:35 (fifteen years ago) link

and you're supposed to be the people who know about music? a few great songs??? this is a joke! best band ever!

comicbookguy, Saturday, 10 April 2004 20:25 (fifteen years ago) link

silver jews are a classic to me, and thats all that really matters. the natural bridge is a record that literally hasnt left my stereo since 1996.

maria tessa sciarrino (theoreticalgirl), Saturday, 10 April 2004 20:34 (fifteen years ago) link

ok, that's scary.

stockholm cindy (Jody Beth Rosen), Saturday, 10 April 2004 20:35 (fifteen years ago) link

uh oh... hehehe.

gygax! (gygax!), Saturday, 10 April 2004 22:23 (fifteen years ago) link

five months pass...
Starlite Walker is so good in parts.

adam. (nordicskilla), Sunday, 19 September 2004 20:51 (fifteen years ago) link

On the last day of your life, don't forget to die
aha

adam. (nordicskilla), Sunday, 19 September 2004 20:59 (fifteen years ago) link

new orleans

lauren (laurenp), Sunday, 19 September 2004 21:56 (fifteen years ago) link

really amazing lyricist, that silver jews dude...i wonder what darn1e11e thought of him...they seem somewhat similar in some respects....

M@tt He1geson (Matt Helgeson), Sunday, 19 September 2004 23:06 (fifteen years ago) link

i can't believe no one's even mentioned my favorite song - "Pet Politics"

I say classic, all the way, but i didn't buy his last album. Was it good?

roger adultery (roger adultery), Sunday, 19 September 2004 23:41 (fifteen years ago) link

the only song of theirs i really know is tennessee; my friend Austin plays it all the time. i think i should get their records based on the opinions of those i trust.

Ian c=====8 (orion), Monday, 20 September 2004 00:43 (fifteen years ago) link

i love this band like no other. the wild kindness, inside the golden days of missing you,
horseleg swastikas, send in the clouds, buckingham rabbit.
one of the best pure writers of any kind.

plugz, Monday, 20 September 2004 01:00 (fifteen years ago) link

I am listening to them now.

adam. (nordicskilla), Monday, 20 September 2004 01:04 (fifteen years ago) link

ian, my favorites are starlite walker and american water. if my stuff is ever delivered, i can burn something for you.

lauren (laurenp), Monday, 20 September 2004 01:12 (fifteen years ago) link

'american water' is a classic, one of the best opening lines to an album ever

'in 1984 i was hospitalized for approaching perfection /
slowly screwing my way across europe, they had to make a correction

6335, Monday, 20 September 2004 01:39 (fifteen years ago) link

lauren: my friend joe's got em; it'd probably just be easier for him to burn for me. but thanks for the offer! for some reason they were a band i never got into when i went through my Matador/corny indie phase.

Ian c=====8 (orion), Monday, 20 September 2004 01:45 (fifteen years ago) link

Their last album is close to my favorite actually. He's developed his song writing to still have the same surreal observations, but to fit into a story format.

David Allen (David Allen), Monday, 20 September 2004 02:34 (fifteen years ago) link

its all about Natural Bridge for me

roger adultery (roger adultery), Monday, 20 September 2004 04:29 (fifteen years ago) link

What other artists/bands would you compare the Silver Jews too? I haven't heard them but have been curious. I'm guessing in the territory of neutral milk, mountain goats, microphones. Or is more trad like dylan or cash?

piers (piers), Monday, 20 September 2004 05:03 (fifteen years ago) link

Or none of the above...

piers (piers), Monday, 20 September 2004 05:10 (fifteen years ago) link

Read James Tate then imagine the music of Smog.

David Allen (David Allen), Monday, 20 September 2004 05:14 (fifteen years ago) link

If Pavement were alt country and had better lyrics

roger adultery (roger adultery), Monday, 20 September 2004 05:46 (fifteen years ago) link

OK - sounds pretty damn good.

piers (piers), Monday, 20 September 2004 05:53 (fifteen years ago) link

brilliant, heavy, warm, charming.

1.American Water
2. Natural Bridge
3.Bright Flight
4. Starlite Walker

james, Monday, 20 September 2004 16:44 (fifteen years ago) link

What happened to the reissue that was supposedly coming out on Drag City - the early singles + EPs...? I know it's discussed on another Silver Jews thread somewhere.
I just heard the cover of "Cocksucker Blues" from one of the rare Silver Jews live shows - it was on a Rolling Stones tribute CD that came with an issue of Uncut, and on a 7".... anyway, it's fantastic.

Taxi Dancing in the Soft Prison (Ben Boyer), Monday, 20 September 2004 16:59 (fifteen years ago) link

What happened to the reissue that was supposedly coming out on Drag City - the early singles + EPs...? I know it's discussed on another Silver Jews thread somewhere.

According to gygax, it is still coming out. I hope so, because I Ebayed my copy of The Arizona Record when I was broke and hungry and now I miss it. :(

adam. (nordicskilla), Monday, 20 September 2004 17:01 (fifteen years ago) link

According to gygax, it is still coming out.

when smog was on tour last year, i asked dan k. about it and he said it was coming out. as expose sang many moons ago: "seasons change, people change..."

gygax! (gygax!), Monday, 20 September 2004 17:05 (fifteen years ago) link

I think I started that board.

RAP GAME SHANI DAVIS (Raymond Cummings), Tuesday, 10 February 2015 02:27 (four years ago) link

o rly

pplains, Tuesday, 10 February 2015 03:00 (four years ago) link

I could be wrong, the one I started was very basic and barebones, back in...oh god, 1999? 2000? maybe earlier.

RAP GAME SHANI DAVIS (Raymond Cummings), Tuesday, 10 February 2015 03:13 (four years ago) link

disc server, very basic. similar color scheme to this board. it's riddled with ads, but still it was fun to fuck around on in 2002.

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Tuesday, 10 February 2015 03:21 (four years ago) link

the original board for Civil Jar fans to dig

del griffith, Tuesday, 10 February 2015 03:57 (four years ago) link

I'm against people who are against reunions in general so I'd welcome their return, if only to enjoy the inevitable UB40 comparisons

PaulTMA, Tuesday, 10 February 2015 10:53 (four years ago) link

hour-long podcast interview with bob, talks a lot about jews: http://vishkhanna.com/2015/02/18/ep-165-bob-nastanovich-of-silver-jews/

calstars, Friday, 20 February 2015 02:08 (four years ago) link

apparently berman doesn't have wifi in his house because he believes it inhibits creativity, so he goes to coffee shops in Nashville to get his fix

calstars, Friday, 20 February 2015 02:19 (four years ago) link

I read something about how lack of boredom in the post-iPhone era is affecting creativity. He's probably onto something.

Iago Galdston, Friday, 20 February 2015 02:27 (four years ago) link

he also says berman is looking and feeling well and sounds like all the pieces are in place to make shit happen

calstars, Friday, 20 February 2015 02:40 (four years ago) link

one month passes...

oh man, the quote that's basically like "he's discovered that there are a lot of very funny people on the internet these days..."

how's life, Saturday, 28 March 2015 22:47 (four years ago) link

two months pass...

Having a major Silver Jews phase after "rediscovering" them while drunk. When I say "rediscovering" I mean "seeing a CD on the shelf and happening to play it". But I really, really am enjoying them.

djh, Wednesday, 17 June 2015 18:26 (four years ago) link

three weeks pass...

CD-R80: A Silver Jews Compilation

What If Not Could Be If
Night Society
Like Like The The The Death
Inside The Golden Age of Missing You
I Remember Me
Ballad of Reverend War Character
The Frontier Index
How To Rent A Room
People
Dallas
Black and Brown Blues
Albermarle Station
Random Rules
Federal Dust
Send In The Clouds
The Wild Kindness
Pet Politics
Honk If You're Lonely
Smith and Jones, Forever
Strange Victory, Strange Defeat
The Right To Remain Silent

* Compiled from "Bright Flight", "Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea", "The Natural Bridge" and "American Water".

djh, Tuesday, 14 July 2015 19:21 (four years ago) link

Would anything make it on from "Starlite Walker", "Tanglewood Numbers" or "Early Times"?

djh, Tuesday, 14 July 2015 19:22 (four years ago) link

Sorely missing New Orleans, Advice to the Graduate, Trains Across the Sea, and Punks in the Beerlight off the top of my head.

circa1916, Tuesday, 14 July 2015 19:25 (four years ago) link

I'm Getting Back into Getting Back into You, How Can I Love You If You Won't Lie Down, and Sleeping Is the Only Love from Tanglewood are three of my favorites

mizzell, Tuesday, 14 July 2015 19:30 (four years ago) link

v fond of starlite walker

New Orleans, Advice to the Graduate, Trains Across the Sea

otm, especially new orleans & trains across the sea

drash, Tuesday, 14 July 2015 19:46 (four years ago) link

Marvellous. Ta.

djh, Tuesday, 14 July 2015 19:52 (four years ago) link

"there is a place" closes tanglewood numbers on kind of the same oracular high as "the wild kindness" does american water

reggie (qualmsley), Tuesday, 14 July 2015 20:19 (four years ago) link

one month passes...

http://gothamist.com/2015/08/30/rick_berman_times_square_billboard_fast_food.php

Oh God, David's dad is up to it again...

Iago Galdston, Tuesday, 1 September 2015 01:55 (four years ago) link

Found the Silver Jew doc on youtube last weekend, the one that's about their 2006 tour through Israel, but is really just a prelude to the scene of David crying through a prayer at the wailing wall (in a trucker hat). Other scenes of honorable mention include the shopping for dog toys scene, and the broom shopping scene. Both good scenes also.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5fb3vD4uYU

del griffith, Tuesday, 1 September 2015 03:03 (four years ago) link

seven months pass...

Bob N. talks state o' Silver Jews and Pavement, but it's a video, and my inboxes are crammed stuck w those; watch it and tell me what he says, okay? Thanks in advance.
http://consequenceofsound.net/video/exclusive-bob-nastanovich-offers-update-on-silver-jews-and-pavement/

dow, Monday, 25 April 2016 22:09 (three years ago) link

Basically the only news there is that Berman's writing lyrics for other bands now.

You'll learn more from this: http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/ct-bob-nastanovich-ott-0401-20160325-story.html

Crazy Eddie & Jesus the Kid (Raymond Cummings), Monday, 25 April 2016 22:50 (three years ago) link

appreciate that, rc

dow, Monday, 25 April 2016 22:57 (three years ago) link

My pleasure.

I kinda wish Bob could find a new, raw band to be part of, you know? (Though the other news in that video is that his hearing's pretty bad now.)

Crazy Eddie & Jesus the Kid (Raymond Cummings), Monday, 25 April 2016 23:02 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5fb3vD4uYU
wasn't aware of this til now

rip van wanko, Tuesday, 2 May 2017 10:16 (two years ago) link

📹
wasn't aware of this til now
where did you find that???

It's always (sunny successor), Wednesday, 3 May 2017 12:59 (two years ago) link

Ah nice! I've been wanting to see that.

how's life, Wednesday, 3 May 2017 14:34 (two years ago) link

sunny, i searched "david berman" on twitter, hoping to find out what's he's been up to lately (didn't uncover much), and saw this mentioned in a random tweet

rip van wanko, Wednesday, 3 May 2017 20:59 (two years ago) link

I believe he is in Cali writing a screenplay

It's always (sunny successor), Thursday, 4 May 2017 05:43 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

Anyone has seen the documentary about his tour in Israel?

Van Horn Street, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 18:00 (one year ago) link

Yeah it’s on YouTube!

badg, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 18:02 (one year ago) link

https://youtu.be/K5fb3vD4uYU

badg, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 18:03 (one year ago) link

lol oops it's already there a couple of posts back

Probably where I saw it in the first place

badg, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 18:21 (one year ago) link

I liked Lookout Mountain/Lookout Sea well enough to give it an Hon Mention on my 10th Annual Nashville Scene Poll ballot ("an EP's-worth, anyway," of the good stuff, but that's what I think about most albums I like). Don't know what he thinks now, but on Rolling Country 2008, leading Scene scribe Edd Hurt went from
Meanwhile, the new Silver Jews Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea is as lugubrious as before but with a, you have to admit it, real sense of humor and some real interesting textures. The thing is, I could as easily hear these particular words, even "Aloysius, Bluegrass Drummer" done over some improvised drone or big punk chords as well as over the country-whatever he's cobbled together here.
to
I think I was wrong about Silver Jews' record; the guy or whoever made the thing did some real interesting music, the old Velvet Underground vibe, and I guess Berman actually did try to match words to music and write "country songs," and he strikes me as one of those guys for whom everything be funny and nothing is, you know. Anyway, some cool sounds on Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea.

dow, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 21:45 (one year ago) link

re "the old Velvet Underground vibe," I think Edd might agree with me that "Pale Blue Eyes" is a country classick. Here's still hoping for a Willie Nelson & Lee Ann Womack duet---if she declined, LeAnn Rimes 'ud jump on it, I feel sure---c'mon Willie, time's a-wastin'!

dow, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 21:52 (one year ago) link

The SJ song "Honk if You're Lonely" always struck me as kind of a country cousin to VU's "After Hours."

i’m still stanning (morrisp), Tuesday, 12 June 2018 21:57 (one year ago) link

Yeah---somebody told me they thought of the Silos as countryside of the VU too---of course there are obvious Velvets like "Lonesome Cowboy Bill," "Train Comin' Round The Bend," some stuff on the live double-LP Paul Nelson put together from the 1969 Texas shows, like the slow "Sweet Jane" with lyrics that didn't make the Loaded version (and Cowboy Junkies' medicated dream dirge)

dow, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 22:18 (one year ago) link

since her dad, a local barber, had been beaten to death/she had become a vocal martyr in the vegan press

flopson, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 22:47 (one year ago) link

Think this was mentioned on another thread, but there was a bit of news in a recent Malkmus interview:

I heard that there's a new Silver Jews record that's in the works, and that you may have made an appearance on it up in Canada. That is not verified, but we did some demos up there. And there are songs that are good songs, but they have not been laid to tape as I know it. Unless it's happening right now.

Would you go back up to play on it? It's not going to be in Canada if it happens, and I don't know. It depends on what the situation is. If it's really going to happen or not. There's potential. The songs exist. They're awesome. They've been vetted through multiple rewrites, and I think that almost all the lines have been put through Google to make sure no one's said them before in any way, shape, or form. (Laughs)

Oh, Google Purity! I remember that. Yeah, it's happening. It's happening in Silver Jews world. We're filthy that way, it's not going to happen with our record. So I think...I'm hoping. All I can say is I'm hoping. I'm not talking much about it. I've been told to just keep it on the down low, whatever's happening. I know there are songs, and they are good. I've heard them.

http://gothamist.com/2018/05/22/stephen_malkmus_interview_sparkle.php

Vaguely Threatening CAPTCHAs, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 23:56 (one year ago) link

Cana-daaaaahhhhhh

i’m still stanning (morrisp), Wednesday, 13 June 2018 00:04 (one year ago) link

The rumor I heard a while back from some random dude on a Facebook group was that he was recording with Dan Bejar, so now that recording in Canada has been confirmed I don't feel quite as bad about spreading it.

cwkiii, Wednesday, 13 June 2018 01:52 (one year ago) link

That’s a very beardy combo.

i’m still stanning (morrisp), Wednesday, 13 June 2018 02:44 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

i don't know if this has been posted anywhere else but this seems to be the main Silver Jews thread:

https://variety.com/2019/music/news/david-berman-dead-dies-silver-jews-1203296128/

David Berman, a singer-songwriter who formed the 1990s indie group Silver Jews as well as creating poetry and cartoons, has died, according to music label Drag City. He was 52. Musician Joe Pernice tweeted that he died by suicide.

Bee OK, Thursday, 8 August 2019 00:59 (four months ago) link

FUCK this sucks!

RIP

Bee OK, Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:00 (four months ago) link

Purple Mountains

we've been talking about it on the purple mountains thread

Clay, Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:02 (four months ago) link

i don't know Purple Mountains at all, lol. was a HUGE Silver Jews fan however

Bee OK, Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:03 (four months ago) link

anyways carry on...

Bee OK, Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:03 (four months ago) link

it was his new project that just released an album that is well worth checking out for any silver jews fan

Clay, Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:04 (four months ago) link

really like the purple mountains record

Dan S, Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:06 (four months ago) link


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