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The Silver Jews
Tanglewood Numbers
Drag City

The Silver Jews are fronted by David Berman and feature Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich who were (and are) Silver Jews before enjoying relative fame as founders of Pavement. On Tanglewood Numbers, Berman’s gravelly voice and the detailed imagery of his lyrics set the album’s tone from the first line of the opener, “Punks in the Beerlight,” as he asks, "where's the paper bag that holds the liquor?” The narratives of the tunes are like a heavy night of drinking; they convey and exaggerate life’s up and downs.

The songs include frequent hooks and Malkmus’s guitar notes noodle, riff and soar. The music, though often rocking hard, provides a lighter contrast to Berman’s words, and as do his wife Cassie’s backing vocals. Tanglewood Numbers is full of songs about real people with real problems, almost like a Raymond Carver collection of short stories set to music—and as such, no matter how bleak things get, a sense of humanity and grace shines through.

Favorite Track: Track 3, “K-Hole”

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Roland Goity is a writer of fiction, non-fiction and freelance business pieces.  His background includes marketing and promotion in the music industry and an inability to capably play his guitar no matter how hard he practices.  He can be reached at or at his web site


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