Silver Jews’ David Berman Releases Surprise Single As Purple Mountains

Poet and singer-songwriter David Berman ended his legendary indie rock project Silver Jews in early 2009, not long after the release of 2008 swan song Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea. He’s kept a low profile since then, but last year Berman’s Silver Jews co-founder Bob Nastanovich, also of Pavement, revealed Berman would return this year with a new band called Purple Mountains, which is also the name of Berman’s blog. Well gird your loins because it has officially come to pass.

Today Purple Mountains released their first music via a surprise 12″ single. The A-side is “All My Happiness Is Gone.” It’s accompanied by two remixes on the B-side, “All My Happiness Is Wrong” by Noah Count and “All My Happiness Is Long” by Mark Nevers featuring Dave Cloud. The music was recorded at Jamdek in Chicago and released by Drag City, Silver Jews’ longtime label home. Joining Berman on the record are Woods members Jeremy Earl, Jarvis Taveniere, Aaron Neveu, and Kyle Forester plus Woods affiliate Anna St. Louis, a singer-songwriter signed to Kevin Morby’s Woodsist imprint Mare Records. The single is only available over the counter in record stores — not only is it not streaming, it won’t even be sold online. (There is already a band called Purple Mountains on Spotify et al, but I am guessing that is not the reason Berman has opted for this release strategy.)

A message accompanying the single reads:

Introducing Purple Mountains! David Berman’s first post-Silver Jews music is ready to go (and it only took him ten years!). “All My Happiness Is Gone” is the debut 12″ single from Purple Mountains, featuring David at the height of his powers. Let’s stop the world together, shall we? Then check out the remixes. The full album is still a couple months away; until then.

So there you have it: An album is coming in a couple months! Until then, get thee to your local record shop and/or pray for a leak.

UPDATE: Until 5/26, “All My Happiness Is Gone” is streaming via an archived episode of Downhill Swing, a radio show on WHUP out of Hillsborough, North Carolina hosted by Merge Records employee Cecile Duncan. Go here and skip ahead to the second hour of the show, and then to the 53:50 mark. Enjoy!

“All My Love Is Gone” is out now via Drag City.