Although it’s ostensibly aimed toward crate-digging hip-hop and soul record collectors, I can’t think of a better music magazine published in the U.S. than Wax Poetics, which recently increased its publication schedule to six issues annually. Each issue contains well-researched, well-edited stories–with beautiful photos and graphics–by people who not only know their subjects, but know how to write as well. Even when I’m not particularly interested in a specific subject—the mag likes to write about once-reviled fusion purveyors like David Axelrod, Joe Zawinul, and the Mizell Brothers—the quality of storytelling and detail makes any article worthwhile.
The latest issue is largely devoted to Parliament/Funkadelic and includes interviews with mothership captain George Clinton as well as loads of the franchise’s most important players, including Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, and Billy “Bass” Nelson. There’s also a good interview with Pedro Bell, the Chicago artist responsible for some of Clinton’s most memorable and striking album covers. (More chats with him here and here.) Bell developed a distinctly black take on the comic- and muscle-car-derived art of Robert Williams that was all his own–once you’ve seen it you won’t soon forget it. (Think of the gap-toothed freak mama that graces Cosmic Slop.) I’ll never know why locals don’t celebrate such a local treasure.