Friday, May 28, 2010

Silver Jews- American Water (1998)

American Water is the third album by Silver Jews, aka David Berman and friends, and I've been told it's their best. I haven't heard any of Berman's other albums as the Silver Jews, but I absolutely love American Water. It surprises me that despite all the wide recognition and acclaim that Pavement's Slanted and Enchanted and Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain get, American Water, an album which should most certainly be mentioned in the same sentence for its similarities in both level of excellence and musical sound, is often overlooked. The music, a mix of Berman's dry Southern drawl, which calls to mind the low croons of Bill Callahan, witty and surreal lyrics and twangy, raw guitar work, certainly calls to mind Pavement almost immediately, though Berman's style is unique. The similarities are not surprising given the bands' close connections; Stephen Malkmus plays on and co-wrote some of the songs on the album. "People," "Buckingham Rabbit" and "Federal Dust" are some of the record's highlights, each track loaded with Berman's impressive lyrics, either devastatingly personal or playful. The album's influence is hard to miss, both in the work of contemporaries Built to Spill, Yo La Tengo and Guided By Voices, as well as modern acts like Real Estate and Destroyer. Click the album artwork to sample or buy below.

1. Random Rules
2. Smith & Jones Forever
3. Night Society
4. Federal Dust
5. People
6. Blue Arrangements
7. We Are Real
8. Send In the Clouds
9. Like like the the the Death
10. Buckingham Rabbit
11. Honk If You're Lonely
12. The Wild Kindness

Recommended If You Like: Pavement, Guided By Voices, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Real Estate, Bill Callahan, Yo La Tengo


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