John Vanderslice Announces David Berman Tribute EP & Rarities Comp
During last year’s COVID lockdown, the veteran indie producer and singer-songwriter John Vanderslice discovered an old postcard from the late, great David Berman, who died by suicide two summers ago. It read: “John: I can’t believe civilization is still going here in 2008! Congratulations to all of us, Love DCB.” This full inscription, updated for the times, has become the title for Vanderslice’s new EP. Although Berman is known first and foremost for his lyrics, the EP is a largely instrumental, electronic affair, billed as “glitch, crunch, and synthesizer chaos.” Further details from Vanderslice:
This EP is dedicated to the radical genius DC Berman. David was the brilliant songwriter behind Silver Jews and Purple Mountains, and a titanic figure and huge mentor in my own life. We started corresponding in 2004, we traded ideas, he gave me tons of titles for songs, taught me crazy writing hacks. We sent each other music, pro wrestler photos, and postcards.
One of those simply said: I can’t believe civilization is still going here in 2008! Congratulations to all of us, Love, DCB
We loved each other. His death fucked me up.
This is a love letter to David and an anti-sucide pact with myself.
Despite the relatively abstract nature of John: I can’t believe civilization is still going here in 2021! Congratulations to all of us, Love DCB, its first single is more of a pop song. It’s called “I Get A Strange Kind Of Pleasure From Just Hanging On.” Vanderslice — now based in LA after decades in the Bay Area — describes the track like so:
“I Get A Strange Kind Of Pleasure From Just Hanging On” is the last song I wrote for the EP. It’s a pop banger and it’s there to give you a break from the relentless synth assault of the rest of the record. I had an incredibly difficult time with the endless cycles of hope and nihilism this covid shit does to your brain. In the end, I just shut down, ate weed, and tried not to desire ANYTHING.
In addition to the EP, Vanderslice is announcing a B-sides rarities compilation called ETHICAL JUTE MOUSE: Lost Songs From Tiny Telephone 2001-2021, named for his vaunted Oakland recording studio Tiny Telephone. The 18-track comp includes an alternate version of his classic “Time Travel Is Lonely” featuring Spoon, covers of Songs: Ohia and Radiohead (the latter recorded for Stereogum’s own OK Computer tribute album OKX), a track from a Mountain Goats split released on Ben Gibbard’s old Bedside Recordings label in 2003… that kind of stuff. Both the comp and the EP are out on the same day in mid-July. Watch the “I Get A Strange Kind Of Pleasure From Just Hanging On” video below.
While we’re here, check out two recent Vanderslice songs, “It’s Unrealistic” and “Ghosty.”
01 “Uncommon Love”
02 “I Get A Strange Kind Of Pleasure From Just Hanging On”
03 “Late Life Realization”
04 “Don’t Forget About Me”
05 “The World We Had”
06 “Taverns Of The Neo Cortex”
07 “White Chalk”
01 “I’m Not Jimmy” (From 8 Second Kickstarter Songs)
02 “Theme For Terremoto Publishing”
03 “Long Dark Blues” (Songs: Ohia Cover)
05 “Studio Portrait With Apricot Backdrop, Standing, Facing Each Other, Holding Hands”
06 “Mali” (From 8 Second Kickstarter Songs)
07 “Piano Lesson – For Minna” (White Wilderness)
08 “Mother Of All Dead Time Factories”
09 “Vitas At Wimbledon”
10 “Song For Clay”
11 “860 – 633 – 1508” (From 8 Second Kickstarter Songs)
12 “Half Moon Bay 2”
14 “Jimmy Thorne(2)”
15 “For Pete And Toria” (From 8 Second Kickstarter Songs)
16 “Karma Police” (Stereogum OK Computer 10th Anniversary)
17 “Advancing Army Clip” (From Ben Gibbard’s Bedside Recordings 7″)
18 “Time Travel Is Lonely” (Feat. Spoon)
John: I can’t believe civilization is still going here in 2021! Congratulations to all of us, Love DCB and ETHICAL JUTE MOUSE: Lost Songs From Tiny Telephone 2001-2021 are both out 7/16.