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The Annals of Rock Snobbery

July 2005 Archives

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One of the happiest experiences in the short history of Snobsite has been the opportunity to work with Mad magazine’s great Al Jaffee on “Snobby Answers to Loser Questions,” the maiden entry in our newish Snob Comix! section. (Look for a new contribution by another name cartoonist soon.) But never would we have anticipated that the 84-year-old Mr. Jaffee would enjoy a veritable summer of Rock Snobbery: not only does his work appear on this site, but Beck’s new video for “Girl,” which can be viewed on Beck’s Web site, is an elaborately constructed homage to Mr. Jaffee's famous fold-ins for Mad! In this article, Beck explains that the video is his “East L.A. tribute to Al Jaffee.” As Mrs. Jaffee, Joyce, told Snobsite, “Pretty hot stuff, eh?”

July 28, 2005 More Rock Snobbery »


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We’re periodically alerted to amusing little films trouvés on the ’Net that are shockingly Rock Snob-specific in content. Today, we’re linking to a few.

First up is Yacht Rock (pictured above), the brilliant rockumentary parody cooked up by underemployed L.A.-comedy knockabouts J.D. Ryznar and Hunter Stair for Channel 101, the guerilla ’Net “TV network.” Ryznar and Stair are determined to tell the behind-the-smoothness story of every late-’70s and early-’80s hit churned out by Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, and Christopher Cross (perhaps they’ll have time for Gerry Rafferty and Andrew Gold as well?), and they’ve just released their second chapter, Yacht Rock 2.

Also unmissable for any sun-drenched Snob is the series of Rock ’n’ Roll Dad shorts available the animation site Icebox. These shorts, by Peter Bagge and Dana Gould, have been around for a few years, but anyone who's pathologically interested in Brian Wilson’s tragic upbringing by his rage-oholic dad Murry–which is, let’s face it, anyone who visits this site–would do well to catch up on them. Surely no Beach Boys scholar, not David Leaf nor Timothy White, has as astutely captured Murry’s delusion and jealousy as Bagge and Gould have here. And Murry really did have a glass eye.

Finally, there’s this little piece of genuine verité (click on the “Gemstones Promotional Film” option), a compressed Eat the Document-style featurette depicting the touring and press-junketing life of ex-Moldy Peaches guy Adam Green, who is reviled in his native U.S.A. but revered by the Germans and the Dutch. Green, whose mouth never quite seals shut and whose hair is artfully bedheaded, is compelling to watch, a cross between Beck and Napoleon Dynamite.

July 26, 2005 More Rock Snobbery »


Alert readers of this site are most likely aware that one of us–let’s not be coy, the Glaswegian one with the funny accent who answers to the name Steven–used to be the drummer in a band that is today considered a SEMINAL influence on such crit-pop beloveds as Franz Ferdinand and Belle & Sebastian. That band was called Orange Juice, and Domino Records has at last released a collection of O.J.’s crucial early recordings–with Steven Daly on drums!–called The Glasgow School. This handsome-looking collection of plaintive jangle comes with liner notes written by Steven himself, though, alas, there is no life-size sleeve poster in the vein of Isaac Hayes’s Black Moses.

To add a happy postcript: Orange Juice’s leader, Edwyn Collins, who suffered a cerebral hemorrhage six months ago, has successfully stared down death with a trademark sneer and a dismissive bob of his quiff, and is on the road to recovery.

July 20, 2005 More Rock Snobbery »


We somehow suspected that the U.K. would warm to The Rock Snob*s Dictionary in a special way, since Great Britain has the proportionally greatest number of Rock Snobs of any country (unless you count the tiny mountain kingdom of Andorra, where everyone is legally mandated to like Robert Fripp). Well-regarded music journalist and recovering Snob Pete Paphides astutely sums up both his condition and our book in this article from the Times of London.

July 18, 2005 More Rock Snobbery »


Two especially choice quotes from the new (August) issue of Uncut:

“‘Laika,’ with Pixies-ish call and response, has Tom Verlaine guitar harmonics over ? & the Mysterians staccato rhythms.”
–from a review of a concert by the Arcade Fire

“...‘Chelsea Burns’ is a frazzled, Mazzy Cohen hymn to beautiful losers.”
–from a review of Keren Ann’s new album, Nolita

Wonder if even Leonard Cohen gets the “Mazzy” part.

July 15, 2005 More Rock Snobbery »


A young reporter from San Antonio’s WOAI (the call letters of both a radio station and an NBC television affiliate) recently trawled the city’s record shops and her own station’s offices in search of Rock Snobs. Here’s what she found. (Video seems to work better in Explorer than in Firefox or Safari.)

July 12, 2005 More Rock Snobbery »


Via Andrew Hearst’s ever-fulfilling Panopticist site, we have learned of a brilliant, gratifyingly out-there rockumentary parody that actually has an actor playing Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (!!!), who is an entry on page 9 of our book. Entitled Yacht Rock and featured on the Channel 101 site, a Web-based de facto guerilla TV network that runs small-time filmmakers’ shorts, the parody purports to tell the story of how Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins came to write the Doobie Brothers hit “What a Fool Believes.” (The actors playing McDonald and Loggins seem to have real beards, but otherwise the production values are early Dr. Who-level.) If you’re a Rock Snob, make a point of watching this right away–it’s wonderfully barmy in the tradition of peak-period Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas on SCTV.

With the U.K. publication of The Rock Snob*s Dictionary has come our first pissy writeup by a self-hating British Rock Snob! For good measure, this fellow, from the Independent, condemns our employer, Vanity Fair, as a “celebrity puff sheet” with a “grimly flip style.” (The nonsensical juxtaposition of “grimly” and “flip” aptly encapsulates his equivocating I-love-this/I-hate-this stance.) And yet a search of articles by this vexed little turnip reveals that he has used the term “rock snob” in his writings six times since we first started doing the dictionary feature in Vanity Fair in 2000, and his usage isn’t some example of a midlantic convergence of like minds, but a clear lift from us, e.g., from an article he wrote on November 17, 2000, just days after our first installment of the dictionary was published, “The film-star handsome 20-year-old is extraordinarily talented, hitting all the Rock Snobs’ favourite reference points (Alex Chilton and Jeff Buckley, for instance) while retaining his individuality.” And onward he goes, right up thru 2004. That’s a lot of grim flipping through a celebrity puff sheet.

Finally, re: U2’s Live 8 performance with Macca [p. 65 in the book], Bono was moved to say before the show that Sgt. Pepper “was a SEMINAL Beatles album.” Snobbily done, Mr. Hewson!

July 06, 2005 More Rock Snobbery »


We are pleased to announce that the New York Times Book Review has bestowed its stamp of approval upon us with a cracking good review, thanks to Alan Light, editor of the sadly print-dormant (but still Web-active) Tracks magazine. In the same round-up of music titles (in the July 3 edition of the Review, with a cover illustration by Milton Glaser in which Bruce Springsteen looks curiously like Snob fave Garland Jeffreys), Mr. Light also gives favorable notices to Like a Rolling Stone by our Snob Overlord acquaintance Greil Marcus, and to A House on Fire, a book about Philly soul, which is itself an item on pp. 94-95 of our book.

For those of you who are new to this site, we’ll take a moment to tell you about its various riches and wonders. The Nitpicker’s Corner is our section in which readers of the book are welcomed to chastise us for our glaring omissions or errors, and for us to make fun of people who care too much about prog or the history of French yé-yé pop. Snob Comix! is our new section wherein acclaimed cartoonists do Rock Snobbery-themed comix; Mad’s Al Jaffee is our first contributor. And we also have a generous offering of excerpts from the book and a section in which we explain Rock Snobbery with David McCullough-like thoroughness and gravity. Enjoy, and buy the book for every Enoist and Beefheartian in your circle of severe friends!

July 03, 2005 More Rock Snobbery »

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