Filtering out the bad stuff

At the turn of the century there seemed to be a huge paradigm shift for standards of good music- synthesized voices and beats, songs with instructions (lean back, let me see you one-two step). What happened to the world of music? Who could save it from eternal damnation? The answer is indie music and entertainment magazine Filter.
When people think of “indie,” they envision obscure sub-culture antics, alternative music, exclusivity, non-conforming conformists and thrifty clothing trends. Filter does a fairly nice job steering clear of most of these stereotypes. In fact, the only category it would fall under is its exclusivity. Only five issues are published each year, including a holiday edition.
Filter came into being in the summer of 2002. The publication, which guarantees that “good music will prevail,” specializes in highlighting up-and-coming musicians (mainly alternative and conscious rap, i.e. The Roots) and filmmakers through story-telling commentaries and vivid photos.
The fall 2007 edition features Seattle indie-rockers Band of Horses. The story is a day-in-the-life diary of the band on a West Coast road trip. It shows their adjustment to change and adjustments to potential fame.
The style of writing in this story was attention-grabbing because it is so different from the average music magazine. Music publications like Rolling Stone and Spin have day-in-the-life stories, but they do not have the depth and versatility of Filter, which seamlessly interweaves a real-life story of the band on personal and professional levels.
Time and effort not only goes into the content of Filter, but also into the craftsmanship. The glossy, heavy-stock paper for the magazine’s cover makes it feel like more than stuff you read a couple times and throw away. Its full and thick texture- like pages of a picture-heavy children’s book- and its price ($5.95 per issue) will make you want to store it away for a rainy day.
As if Filter was not unique enough with style, the abundance of unorthodox methods to content is part of the genius. Most magazines come up with quirky or clever headlines for their stories that are supposed to draw the reader in, but Filter bluntly uses a band’s name. Well not so bluntly, but incorporated into each article is the band name, usually woven into a play on words or an explanation. Shout Out Louds: Happy About Being Sad is an article about Swedish alt-rock band the Shout Out Louds.
With a name like Filter, one might anticipate a dry and subjective publication, but, the content is anything but filtered. In the feature Front Row at the Freak Show: 50 Years of Enjoying the View with George Carlin, every soap-in-mouth-induced word imaginable is fair game.
“Motherf***er is the champion and best word ever, because it has such power.”(This is not even the worst of it.)
In an age where common barnyard noises could go multi-platinum, Filter is here to make sure only the listener-worthy sounds reach airwaves and eardrums.
–Nick Shekeryk


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