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top 5: rock magazines

July 7, 2007

The rock magazine is an integral piece of the music industry, even as a large part of their up-to-the minute-news are now on the web. They serve a unique position as being a tangible link to our music, as well as providing us with articles and exposes on culture through a music lens. I might be the only girl in the airport with a stack of music magazines and not an US Weekly. Why do so many girls read that shit?

Paste ‘Signs of Life in Music, Film, and Culture’

Paste Magazine has been around for about 5 years. They do a really good job of reporting on the least amount of mainstream stuff possible. The free CD sampler that comes with every issue is a nice added bonus.

Spin ‘Music For Life’

Spin has been around since 1985. Spin’s focus on ‘fringe music’ early on helped it evolve credibility in the shadow of Rolling Stone. They were the first to utilize contributing writers, having musicians write special pieces for the magazine. When they sold to a large publisher 10 years ago, they lost a lot of their cool. However, Spin continues to be a solid magazine for great feature articles.

Blender ‘The Ultimate Guide to Music and More’


Blender is the most sensational of the lot, with splashing headlines, shorter articles, and a bit more dirty gossip. First existing in only digital form, Blender became a magazine in 1999. I guess this one would be the US Weekly for music geeks. They’ve been called out several times for fabricating facts taken from interviews. However, Blender is still a fun read- they do lots of lists, which, as you know, I like.


OK, so Jane isn’t quite a music magazine…but they do have a substantial music component. When Jane used to be Sassy, they were even more so based on music driven culture- thriving in the grunge lifestyle of the early ’90s. Today, while Jane is a bit more girly and mainstream, they have little music touches throughout the magazine that are great. They include playlists on style pages, matching the style to a group of artists. Oftentimes, their celebrity interviews include good chunks on their music obsessions. It’s a good read for the music-minded girl.

Rolling Stone

rolling stone

This wouldn’t be a review of the top rock magazines without Rolling Stone. Unfortunately, Rolling Stone is suffering from mainstream-ism, as an aging giant would. Still run by the same man, Jann Wenner, after 40 years, the magazine has maintained consistency in journalism credit over time. Rolling Stone can still keep up with other ‘legit’ news reporting in its articles on politics and current events. In fact, I would often prefer to read their no agenda version than a news agencies, plus, they have some of the best writers around. Rolling Stone also has some of the best pictures around– Annie Leibowitz’s work has served them well. Do I go to Rolling Stone for my music news? Yes and no. I wouldn’t count on them to introduce me to a new band, but I do read their rock daily religiously. Because they are Rolling Stone, they are privy to information and have access to events in a way most music journalists could only dream of.

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