At his best, David Berman is one of those dudes who can break your heart or blow your mind wide open with a simple, baritone lyric. At his worst, he’ll still do that, but maybe you’re just not in the mood to feel bad about yourself.Early Times, which will be out June 19th on Drag City, is exactly what it sounds like: a collection of lo-lo-lo-lo-fi early Silver Jews tracks, when the band wasn’t just made up of Berman, but also included Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich of Pavement. A lot of the stuff on the record gets by on charm—you can virtually hear the desperation to just make something dripping off these tracks, even if you sometimes can’t hear much else. “Secret Knowledge of Back Roads” is especially illuminating because it sounds like Berman is working out what Silver Jews would later become as the track is being recorded.
Download: Silver Jews, “Secret Knowledge of Back Roads”