Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Break Up Your Band - The Essentials #3: Silver Jews - American Water

"When I began this Break Up Your Band feature a few months ago, I had no idea (nor did I even dare to imagine) how poignant the phrase could potentially turn out to be. A few weeks ago, David Berman put his long-running and immensely beloved Silver Jews to rest at Cumberland Caverns in Tennessee, in front of a crowd of reverent and enraptured fans. News of this disbandment came as more than a shock. After years of depression and substance abuse, Berman cleaned himself up about three years ago, and subsequently released the rather optimistic and playful (and not to mention underrated) Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea just last year. Berman has always been an interesting and at times contradicting soul, dabbling in writing and art on the side while staying pretty consistent with his music for the past 20 years. He only released 6 official albums with the Silver Jews over that lengthy period, but nevertheless they felt like one of those bands that would just always be there in one way, shape or form. He wasn’t prolific by any means, but each album packed so much lyrical ingenuity into every twisting strand or turn of phrase that listeners could spend a lifetime unraveling each individual verse or couplet. 1998’s American Water, the defining statement from the Silver Jews, was the stars-aligning masterpiece that found Berman grafting definable melodies and structure onto his elusive wordplay. It’s one of the best records you’ll likely ever hear" [Continue Reading]

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