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April 20, 2005 9:51 AM   Subscribe


 
Cool link, sir. I understand you don't much care for snobs. :)
posted by hackly_fracture at 10:25 AM on April 20, 2005


Delaney and Bonnie? I have yet to meet anyone, let alone a rock snob, who tried to curry cred by liking those two.

Amusing stuff, tho'. The word "imbecilic" should be used more often. There's my resolution for the day.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:26 AM on April 20, 2005


ROCK SNOBBISH THINGS TO ASK PINK FLOYD'S NICK MASON WHEN HE APPEARS AT THE BARNES & NOBLE ON UNION SQUARE, NYC, ON TUES, APRIL 19

1. Don't you think the band was better with Syd in it?
2. How is Syd? Do you hear from Syd? Have you seen Syd lately?
3. Has Syd played you any demos of his recent work?
4. Don't you think The Madcap Laughs is better than Ummagumma?
5. Wouldn't The Rock Snob*s Dictionary be a more satisfying purchase for most of us here than your Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd?
6. Will you be jamming with Syd later at Irving Plaza?


heh...certainly one-track mind snobbery. There must be something equally snobbish to ask Nick Mason about besides Syd Barrett (like why did you use a freaking orchestra for Atom Heart Mother, hideous.)

Thank you jonmc, I now feel more elitist than ever. ;)
posted by schyler523 at 10:28 AM on April 20, 2005


I was reading this site years before anybody else was.
posted by manicroom at 10:30 AM on April 20, 2005


On reading further, I'm so confused. Some entries seem like pure snark, others are basically just informative.

I was hoping for more Crazy Horse bashing, personally. I've come out the other end of the NeilYoungPhase (tm) respecting him quite a bit, but I think that CH may be the most overrated backing band of all time. Always thought he should have been backed by fIREHOSE instead.

Snobby enough? How about: Funhouse goes downhill when the damn sax player arrives.
posted by hackly_fracture at 10:34 AM on April 20, 2005


i am a smart fish. i will not take this bait.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 10:35 AM on April 20, 2005


I was reading this site years before anybody else was.

I had the whitelabel 7" they were selling when they played at Lamours. But these guys were better before they signed with Matador.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:36 AM on April 20, 2005


hey, jonmc, selflinking is not allowed! ; >
posted by amberglow at 10:41 AM on April 20, 2005


What? No mention of Yo La Tengo? I thought that in order to qualify for rock snobbery you had to at least spend some amount of time wistfully celebrating the unappreciated genius of YLT.
posted by psmealey at 10:50 AM on April 20, 2005


Reminds me of Jaded Robot, but JR has been doing it longer. And better. Especially his early stuff. Whatever.


But seriously, thanks jon. That place made me feel at home.
posted by dhoyt at 10:54 AM on April 20, 2005


oh, this is so funny. I love how conflicted this is, it seems to really hit the whole anti-intellectual/sophisticate vs. semi-secret self-doubt/envy combo right on the head there. ("Don't you hate those Rock Snobs? hey read this and we'll tell you what they know")

I think it's interesting how much, at least in my experience, "snob" now applies as a reference of amount/quality of knowledge about something rather than its more proper (in my opinion) use as an indicator of an attitude/personal presentation.

I think maybe there needs to be some sort of "taste liberation" movement a la the sexual revolution. and if you really want to make this thread interesting, take it to ILM.
posted by Swampjazz! at 10:54 AM on April 20, 2005


I'll give 'em points for mentioning the Sundazed label on the 'explained' page. If you are a vinyl collector and haven't heard of this label, you may be missing out.
posted by mischief at 11:03 AM on April 20, 2005


but anyway, has anyone heard that rap is the new rock?
posted by gorgor_balabala at 11:05 AM on April 20, 2005


I can't believe RADIOHEAD isn't capitalized.
posted by The Dryyyyy Cracker at 11:07 AM on April 20, 2005


Cool link, sir. I understand you don't much care for snobs. :)

Dude, I am a card-carrying uber rock snob. It's the indie-yuppies who get my goat. ;> This was actually emailed to me by a co-worker who said "this has you written all over it."

Delaney and Bonnie? I have yet to meet anyone, let alone a rock snob, who tried to curry cred by liking those two.

I love those two. Plus since many of their backup musicians (Duane Allman, Carl Radle, Jim Gordon) became part of Joe Cocker's backup band on Mad Dogs & Englishmen and Derek & The Dominos, thus making them an important nexus. I'm a dork for knowing that.
posted by jonmc at 11:13 AM on April 20, 2005


OK. They nailed me -- Richard Lloyd fanatic that I am -- with this one... This is right on the money -- though I do think many of the songs on the eponymous 1990 album stand right up there with Marquee Moon and See No Evil:
Television. Late-’70s guitar band lumped into the New York punk movement by dint of connections to the CBGB’s scene (Blondie, Talking Heads, Ramones) but actually wont to do unpunk things such as play eight-minute songs featuring noodly guitar duels between second banana Richard Lloyd and ornery, beanpole-ish front man Tom Verlaine (whose ex-girlfriend Patti Smith described his playing as sounding “like a thousand bluebirds screaming”). Considered by Rock Snobs to be more important than any other New York band of the era, despite having released just two albums, 1977’s Marquee Moon and 1978’s Adventure (plus an obligatory 1990s reunion album).

posted by psmealey at 11:31 AM on April 20, 2005


I've spent a lot of time lately trying to decide if A) I can really justify calling myself a rock snob and B) if I'm being a self-deluding horse's ass for considering myself one. It ended up turning into a longish article on a website I edit.

(the short version: no, my musical taste isn't really that special, and neither is yours, probably; but who cares, as long as we're enjoying it?)
posted by COBRA! at 11:45 AM on April 20, 2005


What? No mention of Yo La Tengo?

What're you, 15? Yo La Tengo's for soft indie kids who can't hack the bad craziness of SST-era Sonic Youth. ;)

Which is to say that I'm a card-carrying Rock Snob myself (the "card" in question is my vinyl copy of Big Star's #1 Record, thank you very much). Great link, jonmc - loved this stuff when it first appeared in Vanity Fair, and I'm sure I'll eventually have a copy of this book (and the Movie & Food Snob guides if and when they're published) permanently ensconced on the back of my toilet. Perfect bathroom reading.

I find myself both amused and informed - I laugh at the entries I recognize and scribble down album titles from the ones I don't - and the writing's often positively coruscating in its faux-academic, post-ironic distillation of the subject matter. To wit:

Prog. Abbreviation for progressive rock, a term used to describe the single most deplored genre of postwar pop music, inhabited by young musicians who, entranced by the eclecticism, elaborate arrangements, and ostentatious filigrees of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper era, distorted their enthusiasm into a 1970s morass of eternal song suites with multiple time signatures, ponderous space-cadet or medievalist lyrics, ridiculous capes and headpieces (especially where Yes’s keyboard player, Rick Wakeman, was concerned), and an overall wretched bigness of sound, staging, and hair.
posted by gompa at 11:52 AM on April 20, 2005


I'm definitely with COBRA! on that. I consider myself to be fairly discerning and expansive tastes, and have a tendency to indie elitism, but I'll be the first to admit that I own a copy of Frampton Comes Alive, and I really don't like Neutral Milk Hotel or Radiohead.

On preview: gompa, my YLT remark was meant in parody.
posted by psmealey at 11:55 AM on April 20, 2005


No, i think Rubenstein does Chopin better. Even in his latter days, his weakness if anything made him more like the composer in temperament, and he was never out of control.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 11:59 AM on April 20, 2005


well, COBRA!, I guess the ultimate question is are we "rock snobs," or merely "rock geeks." "Snob," implies a willfully exclusive, I-was-there-first, you're-not-cool-enough-to-get-it type of attitude.

"Geek" implies simply being knowledgeable, extremely enthusiastic, and (most importantly) evangelical about what you like. If I find something obscure that I like, I don't hoard it, I bug everyone I know to check it out.

Some music is marginal because it's an aquired taste. Other music is marginal for no clear reason. I remember playing uber-rock-snob acts Big Star and The Fastbacks for freinds of very mainstream tastes and they were all "who are these guys and why haven't I heard them before?!" And that's my biggest joy as a music fan. So I guess I'm a geek rather than a snob.

I'll be the first to admit that I own a copy of Frampton Comes Alive, and I really don't like Neutral Milk Hotel or Radiohead.

Hell, that proves you have discerning tastes, my freind. I once was going to write an essay positing that Frampton was punk as fuck for ditching the teen-idol life of The Herd to join up with ugly, sweaty lug-rockers Humble Pie.

Me and buddy Paul (who's an even bigger music geek than me) were just saying that anyone who fawns over an obscure alt.country act or "recently uncovered" folk gem mentioned in some zine or blog, but who scoffs at Dolly Parton or George Jones are the ones who are truly clueless.
posted by jonmc at 12:01 PM on April 20, 2005


well, COBRA!, I guess the ultimate question is are we "rock snobs," or merely "rock geeks." "Snob," implies a willfully exclusive, I-was-there-first, you're-not-cool-enough-to-get-it type of attitude.

Y'see, I come at it from a slightly different angle (although I see where you're coming from with your definitions); I was thinking about the way rock- (or music-, for that matter) obsessives, either consciously or unconsciously, base part of their self-worth on having fantastic musical taste. And I think that can be the case with someone who falls into either of your definitions.

Like, with your example: you take joy in exposing people to quality music that they hadn't heard of (which, I agree, is an excellent and satisfying thing to do). The payoff there for you is that their enjoyment of the music you recommended validates the fact that yeah, you have good taste in music.

And that's a good way to feel; I guess the part that I've been thinking about is that, being a rock geek who enjoys turning people on to new music (and whose idea of self comes at least partly from this), it's really tough not to occasionally think "Wow, I have all sorts of awesome music in my head... nobody has quite the awesome, refined sensibility that I do." And at that point, your definition of "rock snob" applies.

Oh, and yeah, George Jones rules.
posted by COBRA! at 12:17 PM on April 20, 2005


I liked the link, but jesus fuck, is this the most reflexive thread evah?
I like the girls with the rumps and the pumps.
Somewhere, far from here, I'll give you all the rules to making the best mix tapes ever.
posted by klangklangston at 12:29 PM on April 20, 2005


the "card" in question is my vinyl copy of Big Star's #1 Record, thank you very much

**falls down, worships**
posted by kgasmart at 12:34 PM on April 20, 2005


Somewhere, far from here, I'll give you all the rules to making the best mix tapes ever.

you'd have to fight me for that title, klangston, as anyone who's recieved discs from me in various exchanges could tell you. ;>
posted by jonmc at 12:34 PM on April 20, 2005


the "card" in question is my vinyl copy of Big Star's #1 Record, thank you very much

**falls down, worships**


Have I shown you my fan-club only Big Star live album?
posted by jonmc at 12:37 PM on April 20, 2005


Yeah, well...I'm Alex Chilton!
posted by The Dryyyyy Cracker at 12:46 PM on April 20, 2005


gompa, my YLT remark was meant in parody.

psmealey: So was my YLT remark.

Have I shown you my fan-club only Big Star live album?

jonmc: I can only compete with that laterally. Radiohead's Kid A on double 7" vinyl, w/sleeve signed by the entire band. And/or an original German pressing of the Beatles' Help!, which I'm not actually obsessive enough to know the value of. (Maybe it isn't even rare?)
posted by gompa at 12:48 PM on April 20, 2005


An original pressing of the eponymous album by Mitch Ryder's post-Wheels hard-rock band Detroit. Cost me $40.

My truly rare shit is mostly digital.
posted by jonmc at 12:55 PM on April 20, 2005


Oh and also, from the Snobsite:

Oh, and by the way, the cool Beatles song for Snobs to like is “Cry Baby Cry,” off Side 4 of the White Album.


I respectfully disagree. I submit instead "I've Just Seen A Face," which in addition to being a sort of "forgotten gem" that's as least as good as any other single they ever released and boasting a wicked melody that kind of loop-de-loops on itself, also has the added snobbish appeal of appearing on the UK pressing of Help! but not getting a Stateside release until Rubber Soul.
posted by gompa at 12:56 PM on April 20, 2005


I respectfully disagree. I submit instead "I've Just Seen A Face,"

Actually, it's even cooler to like the Dilliards' bluegrass version. But I'd nominate "And your Bird Can Sing," as my Beatles snob fave.
posted by jonmc at 12:58 PM on April 20, 2005


Oh, and by the way, the cool Beatles song for Snobs to like is “Cry Baby Cry,” off Side 4 of the White Album.

And the really cool version of that song to like is by Ramsey Lewis.
posted by The Dryyyyy Cracker at 1:03 PM on April 20, 2005


Great link! This is brilliant:

For all intents and purposes, there are two Dions and two Dexyses, the Snob and non-Snob versions. The latter versions, being accessible and commercially successful and all, don’t warrant our consideration here.

But they shouldn't be dissin' Captain Beefheart, and to say that Lester Bangs' writing has worn less well than Richard Meltzer's is to say something truly stupid.

Of course y'all know Erma Franklin's original "Piece of My Heart" kicks Janis's ass.

And did I mention that I have original US and UK pressings of Ogden's Nut Gone Flake?
posted by languagehat at 1:10 PM on April 20, 2005


My truly rare shit is mostly digital.

Somewhere I have an MP3 with alternate lyrics to "Something To Believe In."

*flees*
posted by Cyrano at 1:13 PM on April 20, 2005


Of course y'all know Erma Franklin's original "Piece of My Heart" kicks Janis's ass.

Erma's cover of "Light My Fire" is better than the Doors, as well.

For all intents and purposes, there are two Dions

I'm a huge fan of both Dions, plus the third Dion who did "King Of The New York Streets," and an awesome cover of "The Heart Of Saturday Night," but folkie Dion's version of "Purple Haze," is just too weird.

Meltzer is a terrible writer, though, and Tosches is Ok when he writes about stuff other than music. But Bangs is the best, with Marsh, Legs McNeill, Nelson George and Peter Guralnick right behind him.
posted by jonmc at 1:15 PM on April 20, 2005


Jon: I'll swap ya here and now, no CDX infrastructure required. Drop me an email. (In fact, I was just listening to the mix I made for the Monkeyfilter cdx and noting how much it kicks ass. I bus genres like y'all bus tables!)
The only classic rock I listen to, I play backwards on my reel-to-reel for the satanic messages. Paul is dead and Freddy is the devil!
posted by klangklangston at 1:19 PM on April 20, 2005


But Bangs is the best, with Marsh . . . right behind him.

And if you haven't already, get yourself a copy of Dave Marsh's Louie, Louie, which is one of the best rock & roll books I've ever read and is the one least often listed (in my experience) in lists of essential rock journalism.
posted by gompa at 1:23 PM on April 20, 2005


*reads link*

Ech. Goddamned hipsters.

posted by koeselitz at 2:21 PM on April 20, 2005


big star is pop, not rock. rock sucks.
posted by mr.marx at 2:29 PM on April 20, 2005


anyone who fawns over an obscure alt.country act or "recently uncovered" folk gem mentioned in some zine or blog, but who scoffs at Dolly Parton or George Jones are the ones who are truly clueless.

But do such people exist? I think I run into more people who would not scoff at either DP or GJ; rather, they would pretend to be into them, or to have been into them *before* the hipster nod (say, Elvis C. covering "Good Year for the Roses" or the White Stripes covering "Jolene").

Question destroying all hipster cred: Were the Dillards backing Arlo Guthrie on *his* bluegrass version of "I've Just Seen a Face?"
posted by hackly_fracture at 2:34 PM on April 20, 2005


jonmc: "Erma's cover of "Light My Fire" is better than the Doors, as well."

I haven't heard of Erma Franklin, and will have to seek her out, but when I was a kid, my dad (who hated the Doors just almost as much as I do) always used to play the Jose Feliciano version of "Light My Fire." That, along with him playing "Isn't She Lovely?" when my sister was born, is one of my happiest memories.

The song has definite possibilities so long as you remove it from Morrisson's mouth and that awful band's playing.

btw: radiohead is not as good as the song they are named after. furthermore, the song they are named after is not as good as the movie it came from.
posted by koeselitz at 3:03 PM on April 20, 2005


Oh, and by the way, the cool Beatles song for Snobs to like is “Cry Baby Cry,” off Side 4 of the White Album.

Unless you're the kind of music snob who reads The Wire then it has to be Revolution No 9.
posted by dodgygeezer at 3:16 PM on April 20, 2005


dodgygeezer is exactly right. For what it's worth, I always thought that the snob move in regard to the Beatles was to reference Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band and how awesome John's guitar playing is on it compared to his neutered playing with the Beatles. Or some such thing.

Has anybody heard the Music Snob sketch from The Best Show on Scharpling and Wurster's Chain Fights CD? I have been trying to find a download of it forever. There are some excerpts from it on the Aquarius Records site. If you can find a file of that you will be rewarded in music heaven.
posted by mokujin at 3:57 PM on April 20, 2005


But do such people exist?

Oh yeah. Hipsters are as suceptible to posturing and trendiness as the mainstream. I recall someone here saying that he "hated all country except Appalachian folk," which is the ultimate obtusity, fetishizing authenticity or liking music for political rather than musical reasons.


I haven't heard of Erma Franklin,

Aretha's sister.



I always thought that the snob move in regard to the Beatles was to reference Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band


FWIW, I think "Well, Well, Well," is one of the toughest pre-punk rock songs ever... although John's best vocal is on the Beatles cover of Barrett Strong's "Money."

yes, I realize that pointing out that Barrett Strong did the original is a total rock snob move. sue me ;>
posted by jonmc at 4:34 PM on April 20, 2005


Anybody here ever get into The Latents?
posted by klangklangston at 4:49 PM on April 20, 2005


The trouble with being a rock snob is you're so easily and utterly trumped by the 11-year-old who knows everything there is to know about any act working in the last six months and from whom the very concept of anything from, y'know, before that evokes a blank stare and a thought balloon in which one easily reads "Ghod you're OLD." That complete Zappa collection on vinyl featuring the pristine copy of Freak Out (still sporting its $1.98 loss-leader sticker) might just as well be "How Much is that Doggie in the Window?"

posted by jfuller at 4:52 PM on April 20, 2005


Reminds me of "Losing My Edge" by LCD Soundsystem. (iTunes link) Hilarious eight minute rock snob rant over a disco soundtrack. Highly recommended.
posted by fungible at 7:54 PM on April 20, 2005


Aretha has a sister? Sweet mother Mary, now I know what I'm buying when I get money.

As far as rock snobbery and the Beatles go: it's always been my feeling that John Lennon really is the prototype of the rock snob anyhow. He was pissed at the world, and he wore his influences on his sleeve. It makes sense that he made "Revolution #9."

Paul was a better soul. And he wrote songs that were more fun.
posted by koeselitz at 11:40 AM on April 21, 2005


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