I’ve always considered myself musical tastes to be pretty eclectic. The flip side of that is that I find the mainstream to be as boring as plain steamed rice. As a result, there are very few magazines out there that fascinate me from cover to cover — I feel like I’m gleaning that one accidental chunk of fried pork from a tasteless mass of white. Mean , however, is a full-course gourmet meal, from start to finish. Issue 6, which features Beck on the cover, has extensive coverage of Nigerian musical/political superstar Fela Kuti (including perspectives from the likes of Bootsy Collins, Ginger Baker, and Ian Mackaye, and tagged with a pretty comprehensive overview of Afrobeat music), an overview of space pioneer Jack Parson’s strange mixture of rocket science and black magick, brief profiles of musical weirdoes like German techno-DIY phenomenon Bodenstandig 2000 and one-man-orchestra Bob Log III, interviews with directors Kevin Smith ( Dogma ) and Tim Burton, and cartoonist/author Lynda Barry. The magazine closes with a rousing conversation with existentialist comic Brother Theodore, 93 years old and as bracing as a cup of black coffee on an empty stomach. I’ve read Mean #6 from cover to cover — the only other magazine I do that with is the one you’re holding in your hands — and I have nothing but praise for their editorial direction and quality of text and image. A perfect 10, worth at least a nickel for every penny of the $18 subscription.
Mean Magazine, 2619 Hyperion, Suite B, Los Angeles, CA 90027; http://www.meanmag.com