Filter #17 / $4.95 / 116M / 1:30 / http://www.filter-mag.com /
Filter has all the visual things going for it. Their graphical designer(s) should be snapped up for ArtForum in a second, mixing vibrant colors with strongly-contrasting text to make the zine a visual orgasm even to those who are illiterate. While there are a few things that are a little suspect (for example, the zine takes a full fourteen pages of advertisements before it starts), how in-depth various interviews and reviews get is a worthy counter-weight. The list of bands covered is long, with some of the featured pieces being about Depeche Mode and Franz Ferdinand, but the most interesting times during this magazine come when pieces showcase lesser-known media (such as Everything Is Illuminated, which rang no bells to this Midwestern, college-educated bumpkin). I understand the need to have sections in a magazine, but the sheer amount of space given to interviews really screams to me that some differing articles should be used in-between (perhaps some more of those humorous pieces like the Michael Ian Black one that ends this issue). The sheer amount of material really places this in a coffee table magazine position, rather than something an individual can pick up and read in a short period of time. Alternating between the super-popular (Franz Ferdinand, Death Cab For Cutie) and the unknown (Nine Black Alps, The Magic Numbers), Filter successfully bridges the gap between major and independent and really fulfills its duty to the up and coming bands. Keep an eye out for this magazine, as it could supplant some of the more entrenched magazines as the definite place to get music news.