Arch is exactly what you're looking for.
Ubunt/Mint have an opposite design philosophy of being full-featured and ready-to-use out of the box. Three of the consequences of this are:
1. Not rolling release; apps are "frozen" for stability, so you won't automatically get the latest versions.
2. The desktop environment is not "Vanilla" but has many Ubuntu/Mint specific tweaks.
3. A few GTK apps are preinstalled because they are popular and mature apps, and the average user doesn't care if their system is "contaminated" with Gnome libraries/dependencies. Can you be specific which ones you don't think should be there?
The closest way to get what you're looking for in the Ubuntu/Mint family is to do a minimal "netinstall" as detailed here: http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/minimal
Then you can install "vanilla" Xfce as opposed to Xubuntu or Mint Xfce desktops.
But Arch is exactly what you're looking for.