Silver Jews' David Berman dies at 52

David Berman in 2008

On Wednesday evening, Drag City Records announced that David Berman, the singer-songwriter behind the beloved rock projects Silver Jews and Purple Mountains, passed away at the age of 52.

In July, Berman's latest indie band, Purple Mountains, released a 10-track eponymous debut album. Purple Mountains was hailed near-universally as another masterpiece from a man whose career never really dipped in quality.

Berman's passing was announced by his record label Drag City on social media, just days before his band Purple Mountains were due to go on tour.

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Berman also authored two books of poetry, Actual Air and The Portable February.

No cause of death was given. The band was formed in the New York City area (Hoboken, New Jersey), but Berman, Malkmus, and Nastanovich had all previously attended the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA together. "He was a one of a kinder the songs he wrote were his main passion esp at the end".

Berman formed Silver Jews with Pavement's Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich in 1989. On the song "The Frontier Index", Berman sings: "When I was younger I was a cobra, in every case I wanted to be cool". He released six albums, including the 1998 classic American Water, under the moniker before retiring from music in 2009 following years of struggles with substance abuse. Berman embraced touring for Silver Jews' last two albums, 2005's Tanglewood Numbers and 2008's Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea (which was recorded partially in Lexington, VA, where Under the Radar is now based). Numerous songs on Purple Mountains allude to Berman's estranged wife, Cassie Berman, and the shame that accompanied their separation.

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