Monday, July 10, 2006

Say hello to Skronk Box (and goodbye to Spin)

An old buddy of mine has finally decided to take the plunge into the blogosphere, so I thought I'd give him a welcome and shout-out. (I'd love to take some credit for nudging/nagging him into doing a blog, but I'm sure I had very, very little to do with it.)

Joe Lunday and I (along with Matt S., whom you often see in the comments) used to write about comic books in another lifetime. Not only does that seem like a long time ago, but it actually has been many years since then. But our conversations about music always made it clear that he should focus his writing talents there, because he has such a passion and sharp critical eye for it. And he was inspired by one of the best critics out there, Robert Christgau.

So I'm glad to see Joe's making music the focus of his new blog, Skronk Box. For his first post, he laments the demise of the formerly cool, culturally relevant Spin magazine.

I thumbed through Spin for the first time in months over the weekend, and I can only imagine long-time readers would set fire to the thing - if they could even be troubled to look at it. As Joe points out, it's almost shocking how brazenly they've copied other magazines such as Blender. I thought its page design has a distinctly US Weekly feel to it, also.

It's troubling to see a magazine that had some edge and grit to it, that often gave attention to music, art, and literature outside of the mainstream, and featured some talented writers, scrubbed so clean and given such a vapid personality.

I don't have nearly the appetite for music that I used to, so I definitely don't read much about it anymore. What little contact I had probably disappeared when I finally let what was becoming a lifetime subscription to Rolling Stone run out. And their music coverage has slipped severely over the years, too. So I can't say with much confidence or certainty which music mags are "good" these days.

Off the top of my head, I'd say Paste is the best of the bunch right now. It's a beautiful looking magazine, with good writing, and the CD included with each issue always has new stuff worth listening to. Mojo, Uncut, and The Big Takeover also come to mind. And Creem is back, which should be worth keeping an eye on. If anybody has other suggestions (Pop Candy had quite a few last month), I'd love to hear 'em.

But I've digressed a bit. Check Skronk Box out, if you get a chance. And Joe, it's nice to read your stuff online again.