Sunday, November 07, 2004

Master H.P. Butterswarth is on the Phone

Music snobbery is a thing I both despise and have come to fear I practice.

For example: I hate it when people drop names of bands they know just to show how cool they are, but at the same time I know I get a sick little rush when I say something like, "that song is totally my new, 'Kish Kash,'" and people get confused and I explain that "Kish Kash" was a fucking awesome song done by Basement Jaxx on their most recent release of the same name and how this song has the same kind of... blah, blah, blah. I mean it's like the same awful pleasure you get from stories about mountain lion kitten getting stuck to frozen railroad tracks; it's great, but wow does it feel wrong.

So on one hand, I really hate the hipster, "I only go to shows with only four other people there," bullshit, but at the same time, I'm just as much of a victim of that mind set. I tend to go to shows that aren't 5,000+ events and I feel good about it. But is that because I', supporting local/underground musicians or because I'm, "so unique." I believe it's the former, but I'm kind of biased.

Is it possible to talk about bands people don't know about without looking/sounding like a complete jackass? I like to think that I talk about music someone might not know about in a non-offensive, "this band/performer is awesome, but you might not know about them kind of way," yet it always feels like I'm being condescending. How the hell do I talk about my favorite band without coming off as all high and hauty when most people go, "who?"

The other side of this, is the criticism angle of it all (e.g. "Yellow Card sucks major ass and don't even get me started about that Good Charlotte shit."). I always feel a evil when I say things like, "I can't stand Lil' Jon. Next to RJD2, DJ Krush, DJ Abilities, DJ Signify, Ant, and about twenty million others he's just a lousy producer. Considering that he doesn't really do much in his songs, it's not even worth comparing him to Aesop Rock, Cannibal Ox, Sage Francis, P.O.S., and sooo many more, he should just be beaten for doing that to hip-hop.” Or even, "What the - 'Kill Switch Engage' what the fuck is this shit? I can't believe they put mastodon before this crap. Why didn't anyone think to bring someone like Kylesa along?"

Now even though that I may feel that way, I always wonder, if I'm not just being some hipster-prick. I mean, a lot of people really like Lil' Jon and Kill Switch Engage, so what right do I have to flaunt my college radio-ness at people? I mean, are my opinions really that better informed?

I would like to say yes, but I still feel kind of dirty saying so. Maybe it's society's hatred of the idea of a plutocracy (although the majority of Americans keep voting for it and loving it on their televisions).

It isn't wrong to love underground music, but is it wrong to talk about it when the people you're talking to don't know what it is? I'd say no, but I still feel jerky when I criticize bands and then give examples of bands that I think are better.

I mean saying, "You don't know who Outkast is?" Is a lot different than saying, "You don't know who Brother Ali is?" Or is it? I can never really decide. Maybe I'll just stick to my ways and not analyze it to death...

Nah.

-Thomas

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best part of that whole post was that it was meta-posting - you're doing what you're talking about. It feels good, no?

I do it with books all the time. "what, you haven't read A Path to Freedom in the School (1914) by Norman MacMunn? - there is a copy in a university only 200 miles from your home!"

And I enjoy hunting down random shit for that very same reason. It's cool, but it makes me cool because no one else knows about it. I don't even get to pretend that I'm doing it for some moral reason.

10:45 PM, November 07, 2004  
Blogger Greg said...

So i was totally vibing with Tom Wait's Real Gone when i decided to switch it up with a little post-punk flavor of Uncut, but then i was like omg this just makes me want to listen to Interpol, pre-Antics of course. And then i felt like shoe-gazing a bit so i decided to take it back to the days of My Bloody Valentine, but the wall-of-guitar only made me want to mellow out with a bit of laid back math-rock so i popped in some Karate, but then i was like damn I'm really in a minimalist mood so i started listening to Tortoise which eventually led me to popping in the new Album Leaf CD, jimmy is such a God when it comes to overlapping textures, goodbye tristeza... hey did i come off as pretentious?

11:08 PM, November 07, 2004  
Blogger Jack said...

Many of the bands I listen to are not necessarily "underground" yet many people manage not to know about them. I figured people knew who Le Tigre were. I was wrong in certain circles. Yet in other circles they're the biggest band ever. Many people I've met have been "getting into electronica lately" (probably because their favorite rock band has too - go figure) and they'll recognize the big names of my collection: Fatboy Slim, Chemical Brothers, Moby, Thievery Corporation, etc. You know, the ones on either a hit movie soundtrack or a commercial for prescription antacids. Yet somehow they don't know about Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Mouse On Mars and such, despite the fact that to me they are the biggest things ever and everyone should know about them. At these artists shows there always manage to be a huge crowd, and yet no one I ever talk to knows who they are. There're bands who are underground even for me that I don't even bother bringing up most of the time because NO ONE will know who they are: V9R9D,Cappa Rezza, and so forth. It all depends on the group. I definantly feel a twinge of pretention when bringing up groups no ones ever heard of, especially when I expect them to have, but they are the bands I listen to and I can't help that I like them. I know I don't like bands simply because they're underground because I'm not too proud to sell my copy of "You've Come A Long Way, Baby". I still fuckin' rock that shit. But rather than chastise, I attempt to inform the uninformed so that we can in the future have discorse on the underground bands without me feeling so high and mighty.

1:27 AM, November 08, 2004  
Blogger T Kwong said...

Yeah that's what I try to do, but sometimes you can't help it.

And, Greg, I can't think of Karatae as math rock, it's lounge music.

-Thomas

7:34 AM, November 08, 2004  

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