Copper Press/Second Nature
Listen, music magazines are probably one of my ten favorite sublime pleasures in life. But, at present, my magazine-buying situation has grown pretty grim. First Careless Talk Costs Lives ceases to exist, then Uncut gets all boring and then MOJO (a guilty pleasure at best) just goes bonkers with the whole “100 best lists” all over every issue, while every other magazine on earth feels like it’s printed on used Kleenex.
Copper Press suffers NONE of the afflictions mentioned above. Thank fuck. To start with, it’s made of quite high-quality thick paper, with glossy but durable softcover binding; so it’s basically more like a lil’ book than your typical shelf-clogging fare. It will last, in other words. And when I say lil’, I mean lil’ — Copper Press is about eight inches square, which is, let’s face it, a darling size for a magazine. Twice as wide as your average pocket mystery novel, but more portable than Rolling Stone or NME. In fact, man, I’d have to compare the format to an illustrated exhibition catalogue instead of a rock rag. Full marks.
Now when I say “illustrated exhibition catalogue”… if I were somehow split into two and if my other self were somehow reading this very review, a red flag would spring up at the mention of that phrase, with visions of Raygun and its bastard children racing through my head. Impenetrable tomes full of crappy “cutting-edge” graphics, unreadable (literally) interviews, and record company promo shots all cropped and photoshopped to hell. Ghastly.
Yes, Copper Press has some pretty avant-garde layouts, and is, as well, heavily-illustrated, but the editors and publishers of this monograph have learned the very valuable lesson that content is king. Flash and design will get people poring over your pages (and splattering coffee all over them to boot) at Borders, but content gets people to dash home with it and savor it slowly in the comfort of their own home. Copper Press brings the content in spades.
First off, it’s all interviews. Which is a pretty interesting gambit in this age of personality journalism and “stand aside, bands!” punditry. And the interviews are good, they even get me interested in bands I didn’t give two fucks about, and that hasn’t happened since Seconds Magazine in the early 1990s. Secondly, there are excellent photos that accompany every feature. Case in point, I only requested a review copy because I saw that the peerless Scout Niblett was going to be featured — and instead of the same crappy headshot that every magazine runs, I got three really cool pics of Scout Niblett each in a different wig, no less! Fuck yeah!
Profiled in this issue are the aforementioned Niblett, TV on the Radio, Black Cross, Swords Project, Black Cross, Craig Taborn, Driver of the Year, Ben Horton, Arab Strap, Fin Fang Foom, Heimer Goebbels, and Kilowatthours. If this mag can make me care about a band that has ex-members of Endpoint in it (Black Cross), then this mag can do anything. Wow. Copper Press made me interested in finding about bands I’d never heard of before; the long-dormant joy of discovery was actually rekindled. Man, music magazines fucking rule. Funny I should drop the Seconds reference earlier — I think this magazine is the inheritor of their old raison d’etre: The Art of The Interview. And whaddya know, I think they’ve transcended those who came before. Aesthetics and information all in perfect symmetry. More please.
Copper Press: www.copperpress.com