Do you remember huH Magazine?
The other day when I was writing the "Track This" for Jawbox's "Cooling Card," something jogged my memory about music magazines I had read in my formative years, particularly those published while I was still in High School. Many, if not most, of them are gone now. They gave way to blogs and online publications. These include zines like Flipside, which covered mainstream and underground bands -- they also had some of my favorite columnists of all time, Punk Planet, which ventured further into Indie rock as it progressed, and MRR, which is still going strong.
The magazines that I read often included Alternative Press and Magnet, as well as Ray Gun Publishing's huH which turned me on to a ton of great music because it included a cd with each issue that served as a sampler for what had been released that month, divided by genre. While other magazines did this, huH undoubtedly was more inclusive in the types of bands these cds covered. In fact, these collections were the source for my appreciation of many of the 90's bands I have covered on this blog.
The Eels and Greenberry Woods are two that come to mind that have remained in heavy rotation because of huH. I'm thinking D Generation was another, but I know for sure that my appreciation for Tripping Daisy was magnified by reading about them in huH. I also discovered many great bands from other genres by reading the reviews. Hell, they even allowed Jello Biafra to interview Green Day.
huH might not have been entirely remarkable, but they did attempt to cover music in a much more comprehensive manner than the boy's club efforts of other larger magazines, or even the scene specific write-ups of most 90's zines. They attempted to be as inclusive as others like Flipside, and even had in-depth coverage of hip hop. The magazine had an interesting look; the issues were square and of uncommon dimensions - these efforts sort of resemble the experiments that Fantagraphic Books were doing with formatting and size at the time. Blurry, MTV style photos of the bands leap from the pages in a drastic contrast to the news print magazine formats of many of the other current magazines. I'm sure that marketing thought it would be edgy. It certainly worked for this music fan. In the tumultuous and trendy 90's, it was necessary to change it up to make a splash. I wish that more magazines were still doing this today.