Silver Jews Prep First New Music Since 2009 Farewell

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 01.08.15 in News

Silver Jews are moving toward potentially releasing their first new music since poet/frontman David Berman disbanded his cult-adored indie-rock project in 2009.

Drummer and Pavement member Bob Nastanovich confirmed to Wondering Sound that Silver Jews had a band practice last night in Nashville. The group has “begun working on a song called ‘The Veranda over the Toy Shoppe’ about the women of Bucharest,” he said in a text message. Pressed for further details, he said they’d “maybe do two songs. The other is ‘Wacky Package Eyes.’”

Silver Jews fans shouldn’t expect too much from the reunion, though. Nastanovich said it’s “doubtful” they’d tour. And they won’t work on any other music for at least a month, as Nastanovich has left Nashville.

Wait, “the women of Bucharest”? “Wacky Package Eyes”? Is Nastanovich just pulling our legs about new Silver Jews music? “Not pulling leg,” he texts. “But if sub par, it will be binned.”

Nastanovich posted a photo on Facebook (via Stereogum) last night showing him with Berman and fellow Silver Jews drummer Brian Kotzur. The caption reads: “After Jews practice tonight!!!! ’tis cold in Nashville.”

Berman called an end to Silver Jews in a blog post almost exactly six years ago. “Can’t be like all the careerists doncha know,” he wrote. “I always said we would stop before we got bad. If I continue to record I might accidentally write the answer song to ‘Shiny Happy People’.” He went on to write a scathing critique of his father, lobbyist Richard Berman, who’s against consumer, safety and environmental groups as well as unions.

Silver Jews have had a shifting lineup, always centered around Berman, since he formed the group in New York in 1989 with Nastanovich and Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus. The band released landmark ’90s indie-rock albums such as Starlite Walker and American Water before going on to bigger stages (Silver Jews headlined the 2006 Pitchfork Music Festival) with later albums, including 2005′s Tanglewood Numbers. Their last new album was 2008′s Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea, though a compilation of Nastanovich- and Malkmus-era recordings, Early Times, arrived in 2012 via the band’s usual label home, Drag City.

Listen to “How to Rent a Room,” from 1996′s The Natural Bridge, below, and don’t miss Lindsay Hood’s moving essay, Playing Catch-Up: Learning to Love Pavement in 2014.