Silver Jews started off as essentially a vehicle for poet David Berman (4 January 1967, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA), with the backing of co-writers Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich from Pavement. The trio had first played together while studying at the University Of Virginia. The lo-fi ambience of two EPS, Dime Map Of The Reef (1990) and The Arizona Record (1992), preceded the bands debut album, Starlite Walker. This was a more fully realized recording which attracted admiring glances throughout the underground community for its experimental mixture of angular pop and acoustic balladry, garnering comparisons to the Palace Brothers and Violent Femmes despite its billing as a concept album. Fans of Pavements askew narratives would certainly not be disappointed with the track selection - ranging from improvisational pieces such as The Moon Is The Number 18 to charming, anecdotal dioramas Advice To The Graduate and Trains Across The Sea.
Berman chose not to record with Malkmus and Nastanovich on the follow-up, 1996s The Natural Bridge. He proved his point with this remarkably confident and mature set, which earned critical accolades across the board. Malkmus returned to add lead guitar to Bermans most fully-realized album to date, 1998s American Water, with stand-out tracks We Are Real and People encapsulating Bermans sardonic world view. The following July saw the publication of Bermans first book of poetry. Silver Jews fourth album, 2001s Bright Flight was accompanied by the simultaneous release of the Tennessee EP, which featured three tracks not included on the album. A chemically-induced hiatus ensued before the revitalized Berman reconvened the Silver Jews to record 2005s Tanglewood Numbers.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.