In 1998, Pitchfork ranked Silver Jews's American Water the 12th best album of the year, saying it was "the pinnacle of a certain strain of indie rock: smart but unpolished, grounded but opaque, the down-home sound of Creedence Clearwater Revival and the country side of the Rolling Stones executed by college boys raised on punk".
David Berman, whose band Purple Mountains was to be one of the headliners at Raleigh's Hopscotch Music Festival in September, has died. This was his first new music since the disbandment of Silver Jews, and Purple Mountains were due to begin a nationwide, month+ tour this Saturday.
"Depression is crippling", wrote Berman's friend and collaborator Stephen Malkmus on Twitter Wednesday night, after news of Berman's death was announced. Berman's cause of death is not known at this time.
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He most recently formed Purple Mountains, who released their debut, self-titled LP this past July via Drag City Records. The band would go on to release six albums together (though with varying lineups), eventually disbanding after the release of Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea in 2008.
Berman was the only constant member of the Silver Jews, which he founded in 1989. In 2009 Berman announced he was retiring from music and Silver Jews played one final show on January 31, 2009 in some caverns 333 feet below the ground. Berman wrote two books of poetry, "Actual Air", and "The Portable February".
Berman had suffered from drug addiction for years and had survived several overdoses and one suicide attempt.