Face facts: whether it's printed or prominently displayed on the web, content only goes so far for a magazine. Without an adept eye for layout and design, any piece of criticism designed for public consumption will have a much more difficult time displaying its wares if it can't keep the wandering eye affixed. Fortunately, you’re in store for a hefty smearing of visual glue that’ll keep you staring at these pages for quite some time.
Copper Press #5 is indeed an attention whore, as its elegant layout is as entertaining as the content of its pages. The CP gang takes turns interviewing skateboarding anomalies like the frightfully unhurried Brad Staba and the skillful and engaging Jeff Budro. It's almost like being 15 and reading Thrasher all over again! Whether you're a hardcore skater or just sitting on the sidelines nursing your busted knees, you'll read all about longboards and t-shirt collections and get hip on the latest skate slang.
However, the focal point of #5 has to be the multi-page article about Tom Wright. Written in first person, Tom discusses his adventures in the daring world of rock 'n' roll during the early sixties. Wright has several amusing anecdotes to tell about Pete Townsend in his pre-Who days as well as the drug dens of The MC5 and Rod Stewart in his groundbreaking days. Coupled with some stunning photos of several bands that helped to define the late sixties and seventies, Wright's expose is a good read that provides plenty of interesting musical history without ever becoming repetitive or tired. If you love music history, this article alone is worth the magazine’s small price.
Señor Steve Brydges manhandles a multitude of new releases in his "SoundScrapes" department, tackling the latest from the likes of Hey Mercedes, the Teriyakis and Arab on Radar, to name a few. Indeed, that's only a small spackling, as Brydges single-handedly pens enough reviews to provide a chunky review section that'll keep you hip on today’s latest releases.
While they're not showstoppers, there are a few editorial difficulties worth mentioning as you glance through the latest issue. Foremost, while the table of contents clearly attaches page numbers to articles, I can't find a single page number, forcing me to result to the time-tested "thumb through the pages" routine. (This fault was addressed/apolgized for in the letter that accompanied the issue...which is not meant to excuse the problem, but merely to say that they know -- and we know they know. -- Ed.) A few misspellings and grammatical inconsistencies also pop up from time to time, though they don't detract from the overall reading quality of the zine.
If names like ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, Gold Sparkle Band, Paul Newman or Andy Mueller strike your musical fancy, the latest Copper Press will definitely be up your alley. There aren't too many other pieces of printed media out on the market these days that are this well laid out on a budget that's fiercely independent. It's worth buying and even worth plopping down the cash for a subscription (if you can do such a thing). I highly suggest you do your homework and get your mittens on the Wintry Edition of Copper Press #5!
-- Andrew Magilow