Silver Jews – Secret Knowledge of the Backroads (Drag City)

SM | Here’s a back road that you could only ever find on a dime map of the reef. Blame the staff at the Silver Joos cartography clinic for always being so difficult and aloof. Because to have secret knowledge of the Silver Jews’ backroads is to be privy to some solid acid dirge. My knowledge of these backroads was never any good. I was the all-knowing backroad ignoramus. Consider this a bumpy early route towards peak Silver Jews driving conditions. It may make your hands shake!

Songs feature the kind of funny/preposterous opening lines for man to puzzle over for centuries to come: ‘So you wanted it/price the sword…’ Delivery gets a D for the kind of inebriated (d for drunk) artistry that made Westerberg so besotted with Chilton. What singer David Berman has done, I think, over his career, is speak to young people on the level of someone like F Scott Fitzgerald. Too weird, you think? Have you picked up Gatsby lately? No sword pricing, but that’s some weird shit!

Malk, who sings hippy-dippy harmonies here, tackled this tarnished angel between Pavement’s first and second albums, an era that some people (and these people aren’t dicks — I say this because I tend to agree) regard as their best. The guitar chords tell you it’s been real, funereal, conjuring the sound semi-talented MFA grads hear when they get their degrees and gaze into the fruitless horizons.

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