First Aid Kit Share New Song About David Berman and Cover Silver Jews’ “Random Rules” | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

First Aid Kit Share New Song About David Berman and Cover Silver Jews’ “Random Rules”

New Song “Strange Beauty” in Tribute to the Recently Deceased Silver Jews and Purple Mountains Singer/Songwriter

Aug 22, 2019 Bookmark and Share


Swedish sister alt-country/folk duo First Aid Kit (Klara and Johanna Söderberg) have shared a new song, "Strange Beauty," in tribute to David Berman of Silver Jews and Purple Mountains, who took his own life earlier this month. They have also shared a cover of Silver Jews' "Random Rules," from 1998's American Water. Both tracks are out digitally now. Listen to them below.

Klara had this to say about the two tracks in a press release: "I think a lot of people were as shocked as I was upon hearing the news of David Berman's passing. It didn't seem real. It left me completely devastated. So I wrote the song 'Strange Beauty' to try to make sense of my feelings. 'Random Rules' is a long time Berman favorite of ours and a song we always thought we would record if we ever made a cover album. It holds some of the greatest lyrics ever penned and shows the genius of David Berman. We hope the songs can be some kind of comfort."

The 52-year-old David Berman was best known as the frontman (and sole constant member) of Silver Jews. But he recently returned to music after a long hiatus with a new project, Purple Mountains. Last month Berman released the self-titled debut album under the Purple Mountains name via Drag City. It was Berman's first album in 11 years, since 2008's Silver Jews album Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea. We posted our own tribute to Berman right after his passed. Then Drag City also posted a tribute.

Berman was born in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1967 and formed Silver Jews in 1989 with two members of Pavement, Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich, which was the same year that Pavement was formed. The band was formed in Hoboken, New Jersey, but Berman, Malkmus, and Nastanovich had all previously attended the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA together. Silver Jews started out as a recording project and didn't tour their first four albums: 1994's Starlite Walker, 1996's The Natural Bridge, 1998's American Water, and 2001's Bright Flight. Berman embraced touring for Silver Jews' last two albums, 2005's Tanglewood Numbers and 2008's Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea. By then Berman's wife Cassie Berman had joined the band. Malkmus and Nastanovich would come and go over the years as Pavement's stature grew, as did other members, with Berman the sole constant, disproving the initial assertion that the band was simply a Pavement side project. 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 also released two books: Actual Air (1999) and The Portable February (2009). 

First Aid Kit's last album, Ruins, came out back in January 2018, and was followed by the Tender Offerings EP in September 2018, both via Columbia.

Read our 2018 print magazine interview with First Aid Kit on Ruins.

Read our 2018 Fan Interview with First Aid Kit, where they answered questions submitted by their fans.

Read our 2018 Bucket List interview with First Aid Kit.

Read our 2014 interview with First Aid Kit.

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