Mar 032009

Surely you’ll excuse us for taking a few days to determine the Comment of the Month winner for February 2009, but there was more competition than could be expected in the year’s shortest month. Among all the great comments, from sincere to snarky and all points between, Townsman Alexmagic‘s rationale for the Cool Pass granted to Arrested Development’s Baba Oje may have been the Hall’s most piercing piece of off-the-cuff-yet-informed commentary. Here’s the gist of what the Magic Man wrote:

His importance to the band can’t be overlooked, though. When they were famous, people would often watch their videos and wonder “What’s up with that old guy? What does he do?” And when ABC had some show a few years ago where they got defunct bands back together for a performance, I’m pretty sure everybody who watched the Arrested Development episode watched to see whether the old guy would be back and if he was going to sit on stage and maybe walk around a little bit.

He was.

He did.

It was awesome.

As was this comment.

Feb 022009

As in past months there were some fine competitors for January’s Comment of the Month, but we’re going with Townsman Dr. John for this deadly serious piece of rock commentary, from a thread on moments when we’ve reached the end of the road in buying albums by a favorite artist. Along the way, we got into a side conversation on the recently reissued deluxe edition of The Bee GeesOdessa album, until recently a completely forgettable dollar-bin album that not even a red velvet cover could convince rock nerds to take a chance on buying. But that’s the beauty of rock nerd culture, isn’t it? And among the many beauties I come across on Rock Town Hall are passionate and creative defenses of albums that I wouldn’t think anyone could take so seriously. Here’s the Good Doctor’s winning comment:

Odessa’s dramatic storylines and forays into Americana remind me of a record released a year later, John Cale’s Vintage Violence.

I like Odessa a lot, especially because it has some great deep cuts, such as “Black Diamond.” This is an album for people who appreciate the band’s stylistic quirks, rather than their ability to mimic other bands to create pop hits.

Rest assured that the fun I poke is with love and empathy. We’ve all been there. We’ve all defended our own version of Odessa by tying it into an equally overlooked album. We’ve all used part of our defense of an album to take a poke at another rock nerd’s biases. Well played! I’ve got to say that my soft spot for Vintage Violence is just the sort of thing that I hope will help me when I finally get around to revisiting Odessa. And I sense that poke about people who appreciate the band’s “ability to mimic other bands to create pop hits” was directed at me, among others. I’ll show that Dr. John! you can correctly imagine me thinking when I first read this.

Sometimes people outside the Halls of Rock ask me, “What’s the point of talking about music as obsessively as you guys talk about music?” Next time I’m asked that question I may just point to this post and how it may help me open my mind next time I listen to an album I’d long ago dismissed. This, my friends, is the value of the Examined Rock Nerd Life.

Nov 032008

There are few things more delightful than the Pince Nez at Rock Town Hall. What’s great about this moment goes beyond the brazen display of rock nerd one-upmanship: those who don the Pince Nez in the Halls of Rock almost always educate us in the most unexpected way! In October, The Great 48 whipped out a motherload of education on us in response to a Townsman’s claim that Ian Whitcomb “vanished into obscurity.” The Great One wrote:

Er…Ian Whitcomb hardly disappeared into obscurity. He’s probably the leading living expert on the early days of popular music, from Stephen Foster to the 1920s. He’s written books on the subject (I have an autographed copy of his AFTER THE BALL, which my friend Janet Klein gave me in exchange for writing her official bio a few years ago; he’s something of a mentor to her), and compiled and annotated several excellent collections of said music. Plus he did a terrific album a few years ago as Ian Whitcomb and the White Star Orchestra, which was a recreation of the sort of music that would have been played on the ocean liners of the Titanic era.

Not rawk, tis true, but Ian Whitcomb is a bit of a legend in musicological circles.

Only in the Comments section of Rock Town Hall! You rock.

Oct 012008

Today marks the awarding of our second monthly Comment of the Month honors. It’s funny how the best and brightest comments emerge from our discussions each month. There were plenty of worthy candidates in the “stretch drive” over the last week of September, in particular, but our winner culminated from an off-topic discussion that took place within a completely unrelated main thread.

Somehow, while reflecting on the death of Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright, we got to talking about the Main Stage rotating banner image featuring the olde-fashioned cotton undies of a young Linda Rondstadt. cdm brought it up, but it wasn’t until this clarification that we could zone in on the specific image he had in mind.

The tension mounted in what was clearly a fierce play for mid-month consideration for these honors. Then a Townsperson stepped forward with what we’re honoring today as the winning comment!
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Sep 012008

We’ve long touted the Comments on Rock Town Hall as the distinctive quality of our collective activities. The key to any Main Stage contribution is its ability to generate discussion. Sometimes the most humble thread results in unexpectedly intelligent, witty, or otherwise insightful comments. We’ve long made reference to a Comment of the Month, but now it’s a reality. Following the jump, our first official Rock Town Hall Comment of the Month winner–and a recap of the award-winning comment.
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