The day has come that many of us have been anticipating for a while. This afternoon NME announced that its physical, print edition is to imminently end after more than 60 years in circulation. While NME will continue as an online platform, it must be recognised that this is a sad day, as another musical institution and British alt-culture monolith moves a step closer to extinction.
But don’t dismay entirely. The music press in this country isn’t what it used to be (nice one, ‘the internet’) there are still all sorts of other mags going strong in print. You just have to know where to look – literally, be that tucked away behind the counter at a gig venue, or stacked cozily in the corner of your nearest indie record store. Here are a few favourites you can check out, while weeping as you flick through old NMEs you’ve kept from years gone by.
DIY Magazine – latest issue.
I don’t think there can be any dispute over who’s next in line for NME’s throne. Founded in 2002 as an online publication before moving to print in 2011, any fan of indie music in the UK today ought to be familiar with the name DIY. As well as a website updated daily with reviews, interviews, and world class photography, their monthly mag is a perfect bite-size round-up of up-and-coming acts, as well as the big names. In recent years they’ve helped establish the careers of some of our now favourite faces – from home grown heroes Peace and Wolf Alice, to international visitors such as Courtney Barnett, St. Vincent, and Grimes.
Loud & Quiet – latest issue.
Fresh from unveiling a print re-brand this very week (conspiracy theorists, do your worst) Loud & Quiet constantly prove their worth as a defining voice in breaking underground talent to the mainstream. Their cover choices are daring, often selecting the most unusual new acts to grace the front of their broadsheet before anyone else – recent examples include Let’s Eat Grandma, Shame, and HMLTD to name a few. Their visual style incorporates classic, elegant typefaces and brilliantly stark colours, while their writing is informative and passionate.
Dork – latest issue.
The newest name on our list, Dork Magazine are all about having fun. Their ethos is ‘Down With Boring’ and that’s why every track, album or mixtape mentioned in their colourful, glossy pages is bound to be joyfully new and totally feel-good. They’re the current frontrunners documenting the pseudo-scenes and new wave of bands breaking their way into charts and festival line-ups (we’re talking Pale Waves, Black Honey, Yonaka, all that lot) and their print mag is peppered with the kind of tongue-in-cheek camaraderie of Smash Hits, or, um, NME when it was ‘ite. If you’re into heavier stuff, their sister publication Upset is just as awesome.
So Young – latest issue.
Based on the south coast, So Young is as much an artistic collective as it is a magazine. In their zine-like pocket-sizer they use stunning visual art – collages, illustration, paintings – to perfectly compliment their chats with culty up-and-coming music folk. Fully integrated with that old ‘South London scene’ that’s going on at the moment, their recent features include Shame and Goat Girl, as well as international acts like King Krule and Starcrawler. So Young are the only mag on our list who aren’t a freebie, but believe me, it’s worth paying a few quid to hold in your hands a meticulously crafted dose of topical subculture. They also do some cracking t-shirts, which you can learn more about here.
BEAT – latest issue.
Also given a facelift with their last issue, London broadsheet BEAT is big and beautiful, and showcases the most cutting-edge figures in music through eccentric design, like a mutant combination of Ray Gun and The Face. They’re always pushing new ways of displaying content, from releasing multiple covers for some editions, to asking Paris Hilton to interview Charli XCX via WhatsApp in issue 21. Placing arena-sized pop acts next to bedroom-dwelling newcomers and making it seamless isn’t an easy thing to do, but with BEAT, it’s commonplace; genre or status isn’t important to them, they’re all about the attitude.
So remember, kids: it’s easy enough to get all your music news from Twitter, and the next hot recommendation from a Spotify playlist, but they’ll never match the satisfying crinkle of a chalky magazine page, plastered with the face of your brand new favourite singer, as you Blu Tack it up on your bedroom wall.
RIP NME, we’ll miss you.
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