The first studio full-length from David Berman’s Silver Jews’ project, 1994’s Starlite Walker found the Virginia native’s poetry paired with languid, lived-in instrumentation provided largely by his friends in Pavement: Stephen Malkmus, Bob Nastanovich, and Steve West. The loose experimentalism that marked Berman’s earlier recordings is still there in parts (a certain attraction to the budding minds in Animal Collective, teenagers at the time of its release) but the songwriting here is a genuine wonder, an early page in what has become one of indie-rock’s most cherished songbooks. Avey Tare: Just coming from the time we made mixes for each other. There was times I’d make mixes for Brian of seven-inches I had, and I’d have the record on the wrong speed. The song starts and I’d switch it, so he’s used to it being like rrrrrrRRRRR.
Geologist: The first Silver Jews album, I can’t listen to it without being like, ‘That’s wrong.’ I asked Dave to make a copy for me. He had it on 33 and you can hear him hit the 45 button.
Avey Tare: And now we try to do that with our music! Now we’re like, “Get the tape to bend more!” There was this weird thing going on with the tape machines when we were recording. They took a little while to catch up to each other because we were syncing them when we were recording the record. We’d be waiting for the tapes to catch up and they’d go WwrwrwrwrwrUhhhh [speeding up sound]. Why don’t we just go back and record all that stuff?