Silver Jews Biography

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 band’s debut album, Starlite Walker. This was a more fully realized recording which attracted admiring glances throughout the underground community for it’s 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 Pavement’s 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, 1996’s 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 Berman’s most fully-realized album to date, 1998’s American Water, with stand-out tracks ‘We Are Real’ and ‘People’ encapsulating Berman’s sardonic world view. The following July saw the publication of Berman’s first book of poetry. Silver Jews’ fourth album, 2001’s 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 2005’s Tanglewood Numbers.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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