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Revamping the “Music Nerd”

How dare they replace “arrogant-hipster-douchebag” with “nerd!”

When stumbling online, webpages incorporating both “music” and “nerd” normally excite, enthrall, empower, and maybe even engulf me a little bit. However, the above illustration exemplifies the evil internet hipster-goblins trying to stockpile all music nerds into one autonomous family of esoteric, music-loathing meanies! Okay, vent over.

But music nerds, unite! We don’t have to talk smack about John Mayer just to make ourselves feel better. We talk smack about those trying to get rid of NPR, and the drunk guy at the concert who brought his two-year-old daughter and is singing the wrong lyrics.

So let’s post some good, new music that shows some off that hot nerd skin!

For instance, new Bon Iver (not exactly underground anymore but couldn’t help myself), SBTRKT and Beirut!

Bon Iver – Michicant from Simon Boury on Vimeo.

Giraffes Barely Sleep, and When They do, it's on Their Butts

Giraffes Barely Sleep, and When They do, it's on Their Butts

How Chopsticks Reveal the Secrets of Your Kneecaps

How Chopsticks Reveal the Secrets of Your Kneecaps

Schlock & Awe: There Are Almost No Words for LISZTOMANIA

Schlock & Awe: There Are Almost No Words for LISZTOMANIA



  1. Simon Boury says:

    Thanks for putting my video on your website. Nice article by the way. I couldn’t agree more with the music you’ve chosen.

    You can also find my video on youtube:

  2. Ian says:

    The music nerd certainly isn’t a comedy nerd.

  3. the new Washed Out and Coma Cinema albums are both wonderful.

  4. Braedon says:

    My suggestion is that everyone subscribe to the CBC Radio 3 podcast on iTunes, the CBC does a great job getting press for Canadian indie acts that couldn’t be heard on the radio anywhere else.

  5. Tyler says:

    I don’t know if it was intentional but I heard about all three of these artists/releases over at The Needle Drop.
    “Home of the internet’s busiest music nerd.”

  6. Craig says:

    I think hipsters are like the tech nerds who hate on Apple, etc. I’m not a fan of Apple, so I obsess over Android stuff and let the iPhone be. I’m not a fan of crappy music, so I obsess over good music and let the crappy stuff be. Apple haters, meanwhile, troll the internet, hating on Apple wherever they can find it, and hipsters, troll the world, hating on music that isn’t to their tastes wherever they can find it.

    I think there is an inherent nerdiness to hipsters, though (at least the ones that aren’t just trying to look cool), in that at least from my experience the reason I dislike some music is because I tend to over-analyze every part of it, which is pretty much the definition of nerd.


  7. Rik Taylor says:

    I’m a huge music nerd. I listen to a very wide spectrum of songs that pretty much amounts to audio schizophrenia. I’m proud of a playlist that looks like I hit the shuffle button.

    Most proudly, I’ve also never uttered the phrase “you’ve probably never heard of them” since good music should be shared.

    Jeff put it perfectly, Chris summed it up.
    (and thanks for a few new artists to check out)

  8. Lee Benningfield says:

    When I’m with my friends, I feel like a total music nerd, because they’ve never heard of, and refuse to listen to, 90% of the music I like. Stuff that’s fairly mainstream in the Indie crowd, like the Mountain Goats, or The Tallest Man on Earth

    I have fairly diverse taste in music, ranging from some mainstream pop and rock, a lot of “indie rock” (which I consider a very nebulous description and lump in a lot of stuff that’s neither rock nor indie), some metal, and a lot of stuff that defies genre or is just super niche. I’m always on the lookout for new music, and I always get excited when I discover a new band that I like, or listen to bands that I’ve only heard of and never listened to and finally figure out that they’re awesome.

    But when I’m on the internet, I feel like a total neophyte. Despite all the bands that I do know and listen to, there is so much stuff out there that is probably great, and I’m never going to listen because I’m too lazy to check out every singe band I hear about.

    Anyway, here are some of my recommendations: the aforementioned Mountain Goats are one of my favorites. John Vanderslice is great. I’ve been listening to the Postal Service album a lot, and finally started listening to some Death Cab for Cutie, after years of not really trying to get into them. Someone earlier mentioned Mike Doughty, he is totally awesome. On one of the recent Nerdist episodes, Jonah mentioned Tame Impala, I will second that.

  9. John Voorheis says:

    Dumb and awesome are not mutually exclusive.

  10. Chris Hardwick says:

    Hipsters: Like things because they are dumb.
    Nerds: Like things because they are awesome.

  11. Arran says:

    Hipsters are pretty much the polar opposite of nerds.
    Hipsters decry genuinely professing any kind of interest/passion for anything (unless it’s ironically), for the sake of being “cool”
    Whereas nerds genuinely love things & couldn’t give a toss about being cool!

  12. Graham says:

    @John Voorheis: Hipsters aren’t nerds, hipsters love to hate, nerds love to love.

  13. John Voorheis says:

    You guys do realize that hipsters and nerds are the same thing right? Just time shifted by half a decade.

  14. Scott says:

    What Jeff said.

  15. Scully says:

    At least we have the consolation of knowing this person is spending their life in eternal suffering. I’m okay with letting hipsters be tormented by their “good” taste.

    My music recommendation
    Mike Doughty

  16. Becca Gleason says:

    Huzzah! And hugs all around! These are great!

  17. CJ says:

    Jeff Edsell deserves a hug. That is all.

  18. Jeff Edsell says:

    No, no no! This is wrong! A “music nerd” should be the opposite of the music snob in the comic (and brother, have I known a lot of those). And it’s not the wide-eyed goofballs in the last panel, either.

    A music nerd is someone who loves music, regardless of genre, popularity (or lack thereof), radio airplay, perceived hipness, or anything else besides the music itself. A music nerd knows about music and the people who make it, but unlike the music snob, doesn’t read liner notes to decide if the people who made the music are cool enough to be worth listening to. (Although a music nerd may read liner notes to discover the names of the people involved, to help discover other great music.)

    A music nerd doesn’t judge music by its fans, its detractors, or the public persona of the performer (which is often at least partly the concoction of a publicist who doesn’t give a crap about the music itself). A music nerd listens and likes, or doesn’t like, based on what they hear.

    Music nerds are accustomed to hearing people say, “Hey, you like this? Cool!” right before they say “What!? You like THIS? Ugh! I thought you had TASTE!” (Yeah, a little personal experience there.)

    Nerds in general are people who love what they love, even though others think they’re crazy, or dumb, or uncool. Please don’t let the music snobs co-opt the “nerd” label because of its current perceived coolness.

  19. Caroline says:

    I consider myself a music nerd and I agree with you completely! It’s not that I’ll hate my friends if they fall into the Ke$ha trap, because sometimes a girl’s just gotta dance. But I won’t be talking to them about how excited I am for the new Beirut album, you know?

    On that note, Beirut live is one of my top five concerts ever.

  20. Sawyer says:

    Ugh, hipsters. Now they’re coming for our nerd label? Well, I’m not about to give that up without a fight.

  21. Michael M. says:

    Not really new, but nerdy as hell.

    I Fight Dragons – The Faster The Treadmill