This is a release we are particularly proud of, if only because, from a personal friendships perspective, we managed to curate this one without drawing knives or resorting to pistols at dawn in order to decide which songs made the cut. Yes, we’ve made more progress than the UK government, in as much as we managed to cobble together something agreeable to everyone, and we managed to do it in one hedonistic Sunday evening versus two unbelievably tedious years of shit. Audio Snobbery, 1, UK Government, nil.
As ever, we felt it necessary to add some personal words about our choices. Enjoy!
“You are an important person, a rare individual,
A unique creature.
There has never been anyone just like you,
and never will be.”
Sometimes albums are one-in-a-million, and rockstar photographer Lynn Goldsmith’s alter-ego Will Powers’ 1983 album Dancing For Mental Health is one such example. Featuring guest appearances from Todd Rundgren, Sting and Nile Rogers, her incisive satire of self-help gurus is a master-stroke, perfectly encapsulating the entire ‘80s vibe in one, 42-minute piss-take. I just wanted to give a particular shout-out to the really excellent, nicher-than-niche track, Adventures in Success, before I forgot.
Curating AVDIO SNOBBERY, however, is no piss-take – the other Snobs may be all smiles at how much more readily this playlist came together as we nurture our own understanding of one-another but, for me, this was all blood, sweat, tears and agonising decisions.
It may not be original or edgy, but I’m going to give a big shout out to Janelle Monáe, who released a corker of a pop album last year, full of intelligent, upbeat messaging for the young ‘uns and some cracking melodies for snobs like me. Shoving Make Me Feel in here felt obvious given the whole Prince thing, so I went for the track that stuck in my head like a worm: Take A Byte. Honestly, this album is really worth spending some time on (Brian Wilson’s on it!). Other favourites from this playlist that I feel important to listen to are:
Lou Reed’s New Sensations – just… listen to it! And the whole album’s great! Everyone’s listening to Transformer like “yoooo, I’m so hip” but no, New Sensations brings the good vibes, too.
Caroline Rose’s To Die Today – in which she proves she’s got more depth to come.
Deerhunter’s No One’s Sleeping – yep, they’ve still got it.
There’s a lot more I want to mention (Nasrawi, Sharon Van Etten, The Magnetic Fields, and the fact that I spent two weeks trying to get John to listen to Let’s Eat Grandma before the penny dropped), but damn, this is a good playlist.
It always gets better after your first time – the nervousness and trepidation that used to greet you as you made that first foray into a previously unknown world dissipate as the excitement takes hold. This proved to be true. As in all mighty romances documented since the beginning of time, we worked out what made one another tick, or in this case either: sing terribly (John), dance terribly and turn yourself into a poo emoji (Cuzomano), or nothing (El Mascarado). Otacon’s entrance into our harem is a breath of fresh air and helped counter Cuzomano’s Bad Vibes on the most romantic day of the year.
Gaz Coombes continues to be a great source of enjoyment for the snobs and Wounded Egos showcases the former Supergrass front man at the zenith of his musical powers. As the Stevie Wonder / Ray Charles rally team, otherwise known as the British Government, continues to drive the UK off a global cliff edge I point you to Boards of Canada’s take on WHY?. The careless nature of the song should help you navigate the monotony of a daily newsreel.
Jarvis Cocker’s Black Magic sees the best of the frontman in a post-Pulp environment, while A Kind of Magic encapsulates the Queen zeitgeist for one of the greatest rock bands to ever grace our small blue planet. As we look to pastures new, Sharon Von Etten’s Seventeen reveals a new dimension to her existing talent; the entirety of Remind Me Tomorrow is worthy of a listen. While, The Chemical Brothers’ latest gift, Got To Keep On is nothing short of a belter. I must thank my cohabitant snob, John, for the addition which we proceeded to blare out during a particularly unwarranted evening of hedonism on a school night.
They say practice makes perfect. I must say that in the case of Audio Snobbery’s curating sessions, this is certainly true. Accompanied by an exquisite chicken curry (courtesy of Easy C’s culinary snobbery), our HQ was filled with music for hours in what was a much more peaceful curating session than the previous one. Hell, we were even able to connect our external correspondent, Otacon, to join in for most of it – with the obvious limitation of not being able to taste the Indian delicacy. Relationships were restored, past scars healed and the battle axe was finally buried – if you exclude given and anticipated stressful situations, such as Cuzomano’s Bad Vibes. The end result is a perfectly-balanced playlist, with a bit for everyone’s taste: from old school to freshly-released, mellow music to absolute headbangers, and politically-correct to the most explicit pieces, I trust you will find your little slice of heaven somewhere in the middle of AVDIO SNOBBERY. As we became aware last time around, limiting a couple of months of music to a set number of tracks is a very hard task, and several strong contenders unfortunately had to be left out. For that, I also recommend that you take a look at AVDIO B-SIDES – there are some true gems in there that did not make the final cut, but nevertheless deserve the praise.
Personal highlights from this latest playlist include Blur’s On Your Own (which Damon himself describes as “one of the first ever Gorillaz tunes”, having been released one year before he formed his own virtual band), Donnie Darko (in retrospect, I should have included Let’s Eat Grandma’s 2018 album I’m All Ears in my top 10 contenders list), After the Storm (Isolation was one of the great surprises of 2018), the fuzzy and emotionally powerful Seventeen by Sharon Van Etten and Black Milk (Massive Attack are always a great choice and Mezzanine is by far their best record, and one of my favourites of all time).
Given no playlist from us Snobs is complete without a little South American rhythm, take a look at tango-like Notas, from Gotan Project’s second record Lunatico (the entire record is worth the listen), A Minha Menina from Os Mutantes (shout out to El Mascarado for the good vibes) and Zum Zum from Edu Lobo – more proof of how unbelievably good Brazilian music was in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
I would like to finish by thanking Spotify for its contribution to AVDIO SNOBBERY – hey, despite all our snobbery, we are not crazy and all recognize it’s a great app! I had been hopelessly trying to Shazam my own phone recordings of live sets from James Murphy and 2manyDJs collaborative project, Despacio, and The Chemical Brothers before “Made for You” suggested I listened to Like an Eagle and Got to Keep On, the very two tracks I had been searching for, for months! The latter is actually the banging closer of AVDIO SNOBBERY. So, speakers on, favourite choice of drink in one hand (and maybe a gin and tonic chaser in the other), and enjoy the ride.
…Sooo, 2019 is well into gear and, as I feared, the world continues to fall apart. But fear not sweet listener, we are here to brighten up your lives with our latest love child: AVDIO SNOBBERY.
I will not bore you with a detailed account of the curation process as my fellow snobs have already done an excellent job of describing the beautiful madness. Instead, I will embarrass myself by quoting Andre 3000 and forewarn that ‘drip drip drop there goes an eargasm’.
My favorite thing about this particular release, is that while it covers almost every conceivable genre, it still manages to tie together. Like a michelada, it’s not supposed to make sense, but somehow it does. Personal favorites include: Sopwith Camel’s Orange Peel (be sure to also check out Fazon on AVDIO B-SIDES), Pete Rock’s Appreciate, Os Mutantes’ Minha Menina and J.J. Cale’s Ride Me High (spoiler alert!: more to come on J.J…. much more).
We hope you enjoy this one as much as we enjoyed putting it together!
Dear reader, in the words of the Gil Scott-Heron, “Somebody’s always got to be on the job because there is always a job out there to do.” It is no small feat to whittle down over 150 songs into a single playlist, but after a 3-hour FaceTime and a few drinks, I am happy to see the release of AVDIO SNOBBERY. This marks my first major contribution to one of our releases and I am happy to see quite a few of my selections grace both AVDIO SNOBBERY and AVDIO B-SIDES.
One of the most noteworthy tracks for me was the surf-punk trio SadGirls’ Little Queenie (do yourself a favor and check out the accompanying music video), a dreamy love song that just tugs at your heart strings. I also have to shout out three particular soulful jams that I particularly enjoyed, even if some of them just barely missed making it into the main playlist. A live version of Gil Scott-Heron’s We Almost Lost Detroit, from which I took my opening quote. Then there’s Richard Swift’s Broken Finger Blues which was a part of the posthumous release The Hex, followed by Lee Fields & The Expressions’ All I Need.
Lastly, I have to give it up to my fellow Snobs for selecting the title track from the upcoming Karen O – Danger Mouse project, Lux Prima. I don’t think that I have been this excited for an upcoming release in some time. Keep your eyes peeled for some sort of review come March.