Like like the the the POLL: SILVER JEWS = American Water

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Poll Results

OptionVotes
1. "Random Rules" – 4:00 15
12. "The Wild Kindness" – 3:54 8
5. "People" – 4:45 7
2. "Smith & Jones Forever" – 3:20 7
9. "Like Like the the the Death" – 4:00 5
8. "Send in the Clouds" – 5:26 4
11. "Honk If You're Lonely" (Berman/Pratt) – 2:49 1
10. "Buckingham Rabbit" – 4:58 1
7. "We Are Real" – 4:24 1
6. "Blue Arrangements" (Berman/Malkmus) – 4:40 1
4. "Federal Dust" (Berman/Malkmus) – 4:03 0
3. "Night Society" – 2:19 0


┌∩┐(◕_◕)┌∩┐ (Steve Shasta), Wednesday, 13 January 2010 04:49 (eight years ago) Permalink

The Late, Great Silver Jews

Silver Jews leader/poet David Berman understands that there's a risk in naming his upcoming album of pensive, literate, country-tinged rock The Late, Great Silver Jews. Still, he doesn't want fans to think that he's hanging up his guns just yet. In fact, he wouldn't have chosen the title if he didn't think that the Jews -- including recently returned guitarist Steve Malkmus of lo-fi alt-rockers Pavement -- still had a few more records up their sleeves.

"It's only good if it's, like, the third record of five," Berman said Thursday, phoning from Brooklyn, N.Y.'s Rare Book Room studio. There, he and his collaborators were wrapping up 22 straight days of rehearsal and recording for the album, the Jews' fourth.
"I guess there's a certain amount of 'Well, no one else is gonna to say it, so we're gonna say it,' " Berman said of the album title. "We're gonna canonize ourselves. We're not gonna wait around for anyone else to say we're great. It's a little funny, it's a little sad, it's a little arrogant."

The album, due out this fall on Chicago's Drag City label, marks the homecoming of Malkmus to the Jews clan. Fans will recall that for 1996's The Natural Bridge album, songwriter Berman amicably parted company with collaborators Malkmus and drummer Bob Nastanovich, also of Pavement, in favor of working with the New Radiant Storm Kings' guitarist Matt Hunter and bassist Peyton Pinkerton. Now both Berman and Malkmus describe their reignited collaboration as a mutually beneficial venture between best friends.

"I wanted a really professional-sounding band, and Steve [Malkmus] is a really good guitarist," the 30-year-old Berman said. "The leads he's playing on this record are to me the best things he's ever done, by far. Very soulful. He's not doing the anti-solos he does with Pavement. They're very beautiful, very talky."

"The songs are pretty traditional arrangements and tunings, and I'm just playing along with it," Malkmus said humbly on a break from the studio. "Pavement songs call for something different. If you played a traditional solo in a Pavement song, it would stick out. But in these songs, there's totally room for it. It's fun to do it tasteful and straight-up, without sounding too much like new country."

That said, Malkmus explained that three or four "really heartbreaking country numbers" form the backbone of the 11-song album. He and Berman have developed a symbiotic creativity, he added, whereby Malkmus brings musical and recording experience to Berman's songwriting expertise.

"It's a lyrical record in the end," the 30-year-old Malkmus said. "It's a record you sing along to. In that way, it's kind-of country. You expect maybe the next melody, but you don't know what [Berman is] going to say. There's a cleverness to do that in a way that's not hacked or generic."

During a brief pause in conversation, the delicate sound of ringing guitar from a song called "Self-Ignition" escaped through a studio door. Berman described the song as a future B-side, explaining that the band had run through the track too quickly for it to make the final cut for the album. "We've never sounded tight like this," Berman said. "There's hard-rocking songs where we've never had that level of intensity before. They're really charged songs."

In addition to Malkmus, Berman also recruited Mike Fellows (ex-Rites of Spring, ex-Royal Trux bass), Tim Barnes (drums) and Chris Stroffolino (piano, keyboards) to help out with the disc, which he intends to issue on Oct. 14. That would be two years to the day after the release of The Natural Bridge, which came exactly two years after 1994's acclaimed Starlite Walker album. Berman added that he hopes the Silver Jews will set out for a rare tour of the U.S. and Europe following the release of the new recording.

Work on the Silver Jews album has precluded Berman from editing his forthcoming collection of poetry -- tentatively titled "Governors On Sominex" -- which he hopes to have out on Open City Press by Christmas. Despite the fact that the book has languished on the back-burner, Berman has said that he's happy to push through the recording process.

"I never worked this hard in my fucking life," he said. "It's really gratifying, because I'm such a lazy lay-about at home, just reading, lying around. So I've had something to do everyday. It's good. It's labor."

Among the songs to be included on The Late, Great Silver Jews are: "Buckingham Rabbit," "Random Rules," "Police Conversation, 1783," "The Wild Kindness," "Blue Arrangements," "Like Like, The The The Death," "People," "Send In The Clouds," "Smith And Jones Forever!" and "Honk If You're Lonely Tonight."

┌∩┐(◕_◕)┌∩┐ (Steve Shasta), Wednesday, 13 January 2010 04:57 (eight years ago) Permalink

gut feeling says S&J forever. haven't listened to this in S&J forever tho

dyao, Wednesday, 13 January 2010 05:08 (eight years ago) Permalink

wait what malkmus and berman are basically MY age????

everybody's into weirdness right now (gbx), Wednesday, 13 January 2010 05:09 (eight years ago) Permalink

that article's from '98

"smith & jones forever" - the second mp3 i ever downloaded

louis malle-rat (donna rouge), Wednesday, 13 January 2010 05:12 (eight years ago) Permalink

boring choice but "random rules" by a mile

k3vin k., Wednesday, 13 January 2010 05:15 (eight years ago) Permalink

#s 5-9 are unfuckwithable imo

┌∩┐(◕_◕)┌∩┐ (Steve Shasta), Wednesday, 13 January 2010 05:21 (eight years ago) Permalink

you can't change the feeling
but you can change your feelings about the feeling in a second or two
uh huh huh
people always come around...

┌∩┐(◕_◕)┌∩┐ (Steve Shasta), Wednesday, 13 January 2010 05:22 (eight years ago) Permalink

Rad poll timing. I had "We are Real" in my head yesterday and actually thought "I wonder if that's the best song on American Water"
Couldn't decide tho.

"I get through more mojitos.." (bear, bear, bear), Wednesday, 13 January 2010 05:23 (eight years ago) Permalink

i actually did the titular thing and voted for "like like the the the death." "we are real" and "buckingham rabbit" were strong contenders too.

The Détourn of the Depressed (get bent), Wednesday, 13 January 2010 05:27 (eight years ago) Permalink

berman's lyrics are a strong influence on this very slow-going music project i'm concocting. if it ever sees the light of day i'll thank him in the liner notes.

The Détourn of the Depressed (get bent), Wednesday, 13 January 2010 05:29 (eight years ago) Permalink

soi-disant roi
they don't want ta

┌∩┐(◕_◕)┌∩┐ (Steve Shasta), Wednesday, 13 January 2010 05:56 (eight years ago) Permalink

I thought we did this already, but I'll vote for "Random Rules" again for the greatest opening lines of the last 15 years.

Hell is other people. In an ILE film forum. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 13 January 2010 12:19 (eight years ago) Permalink

'random rules' is the obvious but correct choice.

Michael B, Wednesday, 13 January 2010 13:16 (eight years ago) Permalink

Yeah. Wild Kindness is #2 for me probably.

Mark, Wednesday, 13 January 2010 13:59 (eight years ago) Permalink

that article's from '98

LOL

i am retarded

everybody's into weirdness right now (gbx), Wednesday, 13 January 2010 14:01 (eight years ago) Permalink

Send in the Clouds

pithfork (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 13 January 2010 19:32 (eight years ago) Permalink

I am the trick my mother played on the world
Seventeen doctors couldn't decide
whether I should be allowed in the game.

pithfork (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 13 January 2010 19:33 (eight years ago) Permalink

hold the world to its word

kamerad, Thursday, 14 January 2010 00:22 (eight years ago) Permalink

Seems weird to me that this was a record made by 30 yr olds somehow

thomp, Thursday, 14 January 2010 01:10 (eight years ago) Permalink

will ride for "people" as it's one of my favorite songs to listen to with a buzz on

Mr. Big STFU (ojo), Thursday, 14 January 2010 01:12 (eight years ago) Permalink

blue arrangements looks like it needs a vote.

Prospective Liberal Troll (will), Thursday, 14 January 2010 01:16 (eight years ago) Permalink

Seems weird to me that this was a record made by 30 yr olds somehow

― thomp, Wednesday, January 13, 2010 8:10 PM Bookmark

In what sense?

pithfork (Hurting 2), Thursday, 14 January 2010 03:34 (eight years ago) Permalink

The drums march along at the clip of an I.V. drip
like sparks from a muffler dragged down the strip.
I really hope you'll come around.

It's sunny and 75. It feels so good to be alive.
Come on baby don't stay inside.
Everybody's coming out tonight.

Moreno, Thursday, 14 January 2010 04:27 (eight years ago) Permalink

also night society is some of malkmus' finest guitar playing on record.

Moreno, Thursday, 14 January 2010 04:31 (eight years ago) Permalink

Seems weird to me that this was a record made by 30 yr olds somehow

― thomp, Wednesday, January 13, 2010 8:10 PM Bookmark

In what sense?

― pithfork (Hurting 2)

i dunno, actually. i guess the worldview therein works as 'late 20s'. something about the 'just a bunch of guys in a room playing' aesthetics of the sound -- i'd never considered that in relation to how long these guys had been playing music for, before. it's probably just that i heard it as a teenager.

thomp, Thursday, 14 January 2010 17:28 (eight years ago) Permalink

fucking love this record

i know a puppy
who walked from Kentucky
made it to East Virginia by dawn
he had seventeen ideas in his head

that sex version of "blue thunder." (Mr. Que), Thursday, 14 January 2010 17:30 (eight years ago) Permalink

Definitely my fave Silver Jews record (though I like the others just fine). This one makes me think of Dylan, but it doesn't sound derivative of him at all. I guess the CD case spine is derivative of Dylan ... or at least Columbia Records. Love Malkmus' guitar on this, as well. I will probably be boring and vote for Random Rules ... Every line is perfect on that song. Sounded great live, too.

tylerw, Thursday, 14 January 2010 17:36 (eight years ago) Permalink

i'm trying to think of a bad lyric on this record

that sex version of "blue thunder." (Mr. Que), Thursday, 14 January 2010 17:40 (eight years ago) Permalink

haha, yeah, that's true.

tylerw, Thursday, 14 January 2010 17:42 (eight years ago) Permalink

people

nostragaaaawddamnus (Hunt3r), Friday, 15 January 2010 00:16 (eight years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Saturday, 30 January 2010 00:01 (eight years ago) Permalink

i like this better than BTC and TT after a few rescreens

┌∩┐(◕_◕)┌∩┐ (Steve Shasta), Saturday, 30 January 2010 02:06 (eight years ago) Permalink

oh no doubt

that sex version of "blue thunder." (Mr. Que), Saturday, 30 January 2010 02:15 (eight years ago) Permalink

Random Rules and Smith & Jones v popular with me, but the 'bye, bye, good-bye, bye' in Wild Kindness gets me every time, and was also how I stumbled upon this album, so that.

'virgin' should be 'wizard' (GamalielRatsey), Saturday, 30 January 2010 17:33 (eight years ago) Permalink

'Very popular with me'? What sort of f'ing statement is that? I like 'em, is what I mean to say.

'virgin' should be 'wizard' (GamalielRatsey), Saturday, 30 January 2010 17:33 (eight years ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Sunday, 31 January 2010 00:01 (eight years ago) Permalink

not much water coming over the hill :(

ciderpress, Sunday, 31 January 2010 00:14 (eight years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

wait, no its send in the clouds

malicious humor victim (Hunt3r), Thursday, 4 March 2010 22:28 (eight years ago) Permalink

whoever voted for buckingham rabbit is my buddy

self-ignition would have placed sooo high on this had it been an option

iiiijjjj, Saturday, 6 March 2010 01:16 (eight years ago) Permalink

i miss the joos :(

iiiijjjj, Saturday, 6 March 2010 01:17 (eight years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

this album rules so much

smith & jones 4ever imo

brodie to the max (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 13 June 2011 19:55 (seven years ago) Permalink

^^holding up their pants with extension cords

brodie to the max (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 13 June 2011 20:04 (seven years ago) Permalink

I had a stoned friend explain to me one night how that song - from the "mustaches caked with airplane glue" to the midnight execution - was about "Men In Black".

Pleasant Plains, Monday, 13 June 2011 20:06 (seven years ago) Permalink

hahahahah that must have been one amazing convo

brodie to the max (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 13 June 2011 20:53 (seven years ago) Permalink

Are you honest, when no one's looking...

Pleasant Plains, Tuesday, 14 June 2011 00:13 (seven years ago) Permalink

Man, just moved back to Virginia and this album has been in constant rotation, along with some spins of "Bright Flight". Just seems to be a Virginian album.

grandavis, Tuesday, 14 June 2011 16:17 (seven years ago) Permalink

four months pass...

Top 5 album of the nineties. Question: Did Pavement have a better B-side than 'self-ignition'?

answering_machine, Friday, 14 October 2011 10:35 (seven years ago) Permalink

I've never heard of Pavement.

rustic italian flatbread, Friday, 14 October 2011 10:37 (seven years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Who is the backing band in the Random Rules video during the first chorus?

At first glance I thought it was the Demolition Doll Rods but I don't think that's right...

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Monday, 14 January 2013 05:45 (five years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

"Can you summon 'honey' from a telephone? "

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 19 February 2013 00:57 (five years ago) Permalink

five years pass...

took me way too long to give this record a proper try. this is phenomenal.

Van Horn Street, Sunday, 10 June 2018 19:23 (four months ago) Permalink

His best in my humble honest opinion

calstars, Sunday, 10 June 2018 19:54 (four months ago) Permalink

Search “self ignition” as mentioned upthread

calstars, Sunday, 10 June 2018 19:57 (four months ago) Permalink

I wish Berman and SM would just grow old making records together.

calstars, Sunday, 10 June 2018 20:01 (four months ago) Permalink

will do! might just go try the entire discography this afternoon and evening.

Van Horn Street, Sunday, 10 June 2018 20:01 (four months ago) Permalink

VHS – I recommend the LPs which happen to Malkmus on them (not claiming his presence is what makes those stand out, but for whatever reason they do).

i’m still stanning (morrisp), Sunday, 10 June 2018 20:17 (four months ago) Permalink

Yes, that's what I believe too. Although I did enjoy Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea a lot than I expected.

Van Horn Street, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 17:58 (four months ago) Permalink

Bright Flight might be my fave (coincidentally came out at the height of my Joos fandom), but after that the ones with SM are generally my go-tos.

constitutional crises they fly at u face (will), Tuesday, 12 June 2018 18:39 (four months ago) Permalink

Natural Bridge is my bummtertime favorite. That's Malkmus-less.

circa1916, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 18:42 (four months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

American Water by Silver Jews was first released two decades ago. Observing the time between then and now, the album has been half-speed mastered at Abbey Road to provide depth and nuance for all future vinyl listeners - and current ones! Additionally, a cassette version of this timeless album makes its debut, to provide an alternative aural timestamp for intrepid audio voyagers who weren't there the first time around. You can pre-order both versions NOW for the 9/28 release date. American Water - here's to the next 20 years!

(via Drag City)

empire bro-lesque (morrisp), Saturday, 11 August 2018 21:05 (two months ago) Permalink

That "Blue Arrangements" garnered only ONE VOTE in this poll is a crime for the ages.

Groove(box) Denied (Raymond Cummings), Saturday, 11 August 2018 22:04 (two months ago) Permalink

And this is emphatically my second or third favorite SJ record. (I wind up in arguments with folks about this now and again.)

Groove(box) Denied (Raymond Cummings), Saturday, 11 August 2018 22:07 (two months ago) Permalink

haha, i'm not sure i've ever heard anyone ever emphatically claim something as their second or third favorite! but i kind of know what you mean. i will emphatically place it in my top 2!

Karl Malone, Saturday, 11 August 2018 22:17 (two months ago) Permalink

This is the best SJ rekkid, and not just because SM is all over it

calstars, Saturday, 11 August 2018 22:45 (two months ago) Permalink

love this record but can't think of any reason why anyone would wanna shell out for an audiophile version of it

Paul Ponzi, Saturday, 11 August 2018 22:48 (two months ago) Permalink

Holdin up the trousers with extension cords

calstars, Saturday, 11 August 2018 22:48 (two months ago) Permalink

Paul — I have “Starlite Walker” on vinyl and the sound is crappy; so maybe the same was true for this album, and the remaster rectifies it(?) I have found Matador / Drag City vinyl from the ‘90s to be poorly mastered...

empire bro-lesque (morrisp), Saturday, 11 August 2018 23:03 (two months ago) Permalink

That makes sense. I just never thought of this as an album I needed to hear in pristine audiophile quality. My CD copy sounds fine! But tbf I've never heard it on vinyl, and 90s DC pressings were notoriously poor quality iirc

Paul Ponzi, Sunday, 12 August 2018 00:09 (two months ago) Permalink

Air crickets air crickets air crickets air crickets air

Fedora Dostoyevsky (man alive), Sunday, 12 August 2018 00:41 (two months ago) Permalink

Like sparks from a muffler dragged down the strip, uh huh huh

calstars, Sunday, 12 August 2018 01:58 (two months ago) Permalink

Why can’t monsters get along with other monsters?

calstars, Sunday, 12 August 2018 02:11 (two months ago) Permalink

Playin tambourine for minimum wage

calstars, Sunday, 12 August 2018 02:20 (two months ago) Permalink

People gonna come arrrooooooound

Groove(box) Denied (Raymond Cummings), Sunday, 12 August 2018 13:22 (two months ago) Permalink

the vinyl version I have of this record is perfectly fine

Neil S, Sunday, 12 August 2018 14:26 (two months ago) Permalink

how has this thread been around for eight years without one of the most unbelievable verses DB ever wrote in it

got 2 tickets for a midnight execution
we'll hitchhike our way from odessa to houston
and when they turn on the chair
something's added to the air
forever

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Sunday, 12 August 2018 14:27 (two months ago) Permalink

honestly, i thought we had a whole dedicated to that song! but i'm looking now, and don't see one.

Karl Malone, Sunday, 12 August 2018 14:39 (two months ago) Permalink

a whole thread, i meant.

but yeah, those words will always give me goosebumps. s&j was my intro to silver jews

Karl Malone, Sunday, 12 August 2018 14:44 (two months ago) Permalink

Huh — I always thought it was, “

empire bro-lesque (morrisp), Sunday, 12 August 2018 14:50 (two months ago) Permalink

...“We hitchhike away from a desolate Houston”

empire bro-lesque (morrisp), Sunday, 12 August 2018 14:51 (two months ago) Permalink

FTR, I think my favorite song on the album is “Like Like The The The Death” — both musically and lyrically (notwithstanding the bum line, “Nobody cares about a dead hooker”)

empire bro-lesque (morrisp), Sunday, 12 August 2018 16:05 (two months ago) Permalink


but yeah, those words will always give me goosebumps. s&j was my intro to silver jews


Same. I listened to Smith & Jones like a zillion times and then promptly dove headfirst into everything else.

circa1916, Sunday, 12 August 2018 22:28 (two months ago) Permalink

Here comes the coda

Not much water coming over the hill
Not much, not much, not much
Not much water coming over the hill
Not much, not much, not much

Is there a coda thread? I know Ned has talked eloquently and correctly about New Order's Regret, and that's the greatest thing. But SM's work here is immense. Love this album. Don't think I've seen this thread until today.

kraudive, Sunday, 12 August 2018 22:34 (two months ago) Permalink


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