Yesterday afternoon word spread quickly that Paste magazine had ended its eight-year run — and judging by the heartbreaking tweets from employees, it seems like the news came as a surprise to even the core editorial staff. While we may not have always agreed with Paste , we certainly read it often and enjoyed its generally smart writing and passion for music. And, of course, we feel awful for the magazine’s suddenly unemployed ranks.
In the midst of this print-media apocalypse, each announcement that a publication is stopping its presses tends to raise the question, What’s left? Luckily, despite the demise of so many fantastic music magazines (and the complete dominance of webzines and blogs, plus the persistence of dinosaurs like Rolling Stone and Spin), a number of fiercely independent periodicals remain. After the jump, check out five magazines that may help fill the Paste-shaped hole in your heart.
Wax Poetics Those who complain that long-form, niche music journalism is dead need to take a look at Wax Poetics. Conceived in 2001 to fill “an editorial void between contemporary artists and classic greats,” the bimonthly journal focuses on current and classic jazz, soul, R&B, blues. The articles definitely skew toward the record-collector crowd, but they are written with such energy and style that anyone with an open mind and a love for music is bound to be won over.
Under the Radar Perhaps the most similar to Paste of all the magazines on this list, Under the Radar is a monthly dose of straight-up indie music. The nine-year-old publication prints five issues a year and prides itself on breaking new bands. Mark Redfern and Wendy Lynch Redfern, the husband-wife team who run the magazine, have also come up with some incredible theme issues. The current, summer issue is called “Wasted on the Youth” and features bands’ and actors’ favorite pop-culture memories from their youth.
The Wire Yes, it’s expensive to buy imported from the UK, but for those of us who like to get really obscure with our music, it’s the only option. Although its sweet spot is the international experimental and avant-garde scene, The Wire is full of intelligent, fascinating features on a variety of genres — and its impossibly thorough reviews section is a sight to behold. We’re especially intrigued by September’s cover piece, on how the music of the past is influencing the music of the present.
The FADER Rarely do we find a publication that runs such a great website and manages to put out a strong magazine. The FADER, which is best known for its indie hip hop coverage but casts a wide net, is a godsend for music junkies and street style fanatics alike. This year, they’ve profiled M.I.A. and made Animal Collective guest editors. The new fall fashion issue features Glasser and Spoek Mathambo.
XLR8R This bi-monthly magazine, a FADER partner that focuses on electronic music but encompasses a wide range of genres and also includes other culture and lifestyle content, is always a good read. Minimal techno trailblazer Robert Hood has XLR8R’s July/August cover story, for an issue that also features Oval and Actress. While XLR8R does have a strong online presence, it gorgeous design reminds us of why we’re so worked up about the future of print music magazines in the first place.