Scouring the magazine racks at Borders, my senses nearly dulled from early Christmas shopping, I was revived by Fiona Apple’s name on the cover of The Fader Magazine.
Desperate to see what Apple has been up to lately, I flipped frantically through The Fader’s December 2003/January 2004 issue right there in the music magazine section.
To my frustration, I could not quickly locate the Fiona feature, but in the meantime I was exposed to the artistic intelligence and integrity that is The Fader.
Kanye West makes his cover appearance as one of ‘the ten artists who will top all pop charts in ’04.’ Other artists on this list? Also included are The Stills, who grace The Fader’s back cover. Sit tight for the rest, they’re coming later in the issue!
Fashion comes first. The Fader covers fashion news (more about the designers and less about the fashions themselves) from newcomer Patrik Rzepski and one-of-a-kind vintage line Red Toenails. Next come pages, starting on 34, that make me want to go shopping: read about aromatherapeutic household cleaning supplies (try Mint Ylang Ylang instead of Fresh Lemon) and Black Box, a ‘whole new magazine concept’ that accounts for and addresses global events and trends, much like a black box recorder records everything that occurs in an airplane cockpit.
Seemingly random tidbits continue this introduction to The Fader, collectively called ‘NWSPRNT / F 20.’ Here, readers find information on the No-Contact Jacket, outerwear armed with circuitry that shocks a predator touching the torso. Also featured is a day in the life of a pastry chef. And you thought I was kidding when I said ‘random!’
‘NWSPRNT / F 20’ takes up the first 80 pages of The Fader, but after some more fashion pages (now more about the fashion than the designers) and Gin Palace, Laptop and The Decemberists in ‘Gen / F’ comes the music that was promised on the cover. The ‘Pop Life’ story promises that ‘these are the people whose time has come’ (page 116).
Kanye West and The Stills introduce the ‘Pop Life’ features. Dizzee Rascal, a producer and emcee, and The Corals, a band whose ‘outsider status [is] beginning to work in their favor,’ are next. And finally comes Apple, set to release her long-anticipated third album in February. Also featured as part of ‘Pop Life’ are John Mayer, the guy mainstream knows and loves, and country music icon Loretta Lynn.
The Fader moves along with a piece on skateboarders disguised as vampires and then a photographic portfolio on Afghanistan’s struggles with the Taliban.
Next, as you may or may not have guessed, is another fashion feature called ‘Home Alone,’ showcasing quirky sweatshirts and nipple-baring turtlenecks (I just wanted to make sure you were paying attention!).
And of course, there are music reviews. These include CD reviews, The Fader’s favorite DJs and compilation favorites hand-picked by The Fader’s editorial staff.
Published bimonthly, The Fader Magazine avoids classification, apparent in the fact that it seemingly covers as many genres of music as it can manage: Issue #5 featured Bjork. Issue #17 coaxed The Mars Volta onto its cover, and Issue #18 sported Outkast’s Big Boi and Andre 3000.
To further add to The Fader’s variety, the introduction of fashion early-on throws readers off and made me want to re-check the cover to ensure I was still reading the same magazine. But this confusion does not lend any objections to The Fader’s credibility. Like I said, I was originally only interested in reading about the fabulous Fiona, but The Fader really caught my eye with the rest of its equally interesting and valuable features.
Pick up the next issue on newsstands in February, or grab the current issue of The Fader to read more about ‘Pop Life’s featured artists or the day in a life of the previously mentioned pastry chef.
Although this concludes the existence of Alternative Newsstand, I appreciate any attention you’ve given to the media mentioned here and I encourage exploration of your local bookstore’s magazine rack. While mainstream entertainment publications are consistently and predictably serving up flavorful movie and music news parallel with MTV, E! Entertainment and KROQ, there is much to be desired beyond Rolling Stone magazine, which I hope this column has demonstrated.
For the quickest fix, visit http://www.the fader.com. Any and all comments are appreciated: hit me up at email@example.com.