Best alternative music magazines
If there’s one thing music fans love as much as their favorite bands, it’s reading about their favorite bands. Several fans have made their own magazines through the years, with varying levels of circulation. This list comprises several of our favorite print magazines, each of which has staked out its own spot in the music journalism industry. Note: even though classics like Punk will forever live in our hearts, we’re focusing on currently-running magazines for this list.
- Wax Poetics: Launched in December 2001, Wax Poetics continues to thrive as a bimonthly publication for record-collectors in the jazz/funk/soul/reggae/hip-hop/blues/R&B vein. Editor-in-Chief Andre Torres believed that these genres (and their influence on current music) were under-represented in contemporary magazines. Besides being highly informative, the magazine is always great-looking as well. Check out some of the hard-cover collections of articles from the early issues and see for yourself.
- Ugly Things: This 1960s-oriented zine first appeared in 1983, and one new issue is still released each year. The magazine is the pet project of Mike Stax, who has also started his own record label for putting out obscure treasures from the era. Stax also cowrote a novel about psychedelic group The Misunderstood called Like, Misunderstood.
- The Big Takeover: Jack Rabid started The Big Takeover in 1980 and has published it biannually since then. Each issue is approximately 200 pages long and features extensive interviews and reviews. Almost every genre of music is featured in some manner (except for hip-hop and rap). At issue 67 and counting, Rabid shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
- Decibel: For music fans with a taste for the extreme, Decibel is sure to whet your appetite. Covering the sorts of metal, hardcore, and other extreme music genres that are left out of mainstream magazines, Decibel is generally published monthly. The newest issues come with a limited-edition exclusive Flexi Disc.
- Relix: First appearing in 1974, Relix is the second-longest continuously running music magazine in the US (after Rolling Stone). It began as a newsletter for Grateful Dead fans, but expanded to include a wide variety of music. A 1-year, 8-issue subscription (with one CD each month) is 24.95 at the magazine’s website.
- Under the Radar: This magazine calls itself “the solution to music pollution.” However, you’ll also find book and movie reviews as well. The magazine is run by husband-and-wife team Mark and Wendy Redfern. Music featured is generally of the indie/alternative variety. Besides the print issues, web-exclusive content is featured for each issue.