Watching lead Silver Jew David Berman cycle through phases over the past 10-plus years—from who-cares, post-grad, smart-ass nonchalance to drug-addled walking-wounded to reflective, recovering-addict husband—has been fascinating. That his curdled alt-country has improved with his health and humor is a nice bonus, as is the fact that the Jews—Berman, wife/guitarist/co-vocalist Cassie, and whichever Nashville hands are around to hit the studio—have been touring regularly for the last few years. Dynamite-if-brusque new album Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea arrives swaddled in referential hypertext and poetic rumination; "Strange Victory, Strange Defeat," for example, manages to be about Teddy Roosevelt, a young generation thrown to the wolves, and the deathless overvaluing of rock bands with pretty-boy frontmen. Onstage, Berman's a bit stiff—owing to lingering discomfort from long-ago surgeries and injuries—but the rest of the band keeps the music flowing like gravy. With the Mattoid. 18+.
Wed., Oct. 8, 9 p.m., 2008