by DJ El Toro
Belt-tightening in is full effect avec Chez Toro. I’ve started stocking up on dried beans and pasta, thinking of creative ways to prepare cabbage, and keep prodding my partner to plant a victory garden. Even the smallest luxuries must be weighed against the household budget. (Hooray, Imagination Christmas!) The once-glossy magazines on our coffee table are starting to look as vintage as those in a second-rate dentist’s office.
But I splurged this weekend, and shelled out for a periodical: YETI SIX. Because the latest edition of this reliable digest of “Enthused Art, Music, Literature & Other Stuff” is so much more than just a magazine. How can you not love a publication that opens, not with a ponderous Editor’s Note, or nit-picking Letters to the Editor, but an excerpt of Australian WWII crime fiction by Peter Doyle? There are pages and pages of striking black & white paper cuts by David Fair of Half Japanese; a lengthy interview in which publisher & editor Mike McGonigal interrogates his favorite band, The Clean; a profile of “it band” the Vivian Girls; Arthur Russell biographer Tim Lawrence celebrating the oft-overlooked intersection of underground disco and the New York rock scene ca. the late ’70s and early ’80s; a glimpse at the soulful music and visuals of “outsider” artists Mingering Mike. And that’s just in the first 100 pages.
And then there’s the free CD. This is not another disposable freebie compiled by a marketing partner, but an essential component of enjoying YETI. There’s a clutch of what I’m thinking of as the “new C-86″ bands (Cause Co-Motion, Times New Viking), three Clean-related cuts, hillbilly gospel from the Dixon Brothers, and an inordinate number of songs reclaimed from cassette-only and private-press releases.
Sure, twelve dollars is a lot of cabbage for a periodical. But think of it as an investment. YETI SIX is going to keep nourishing your noggin many months from now, long after you’ve forgotten who the people and “must-see” events on the cover of those back issues of Entertainment Weekly were. YETI is brain food, and you need that. Even in the hardest times, man cannot live on dried beans and macaroni alone.
DJ El Toro is the host of the overnight show In Between Sleep & Reason, Wednesday mornings from 1 AM to 6 AM on KEXP 90.3 FM Seattle and kexp.org. His column, Weird At My School, appears every Monday on the KEXP Blog.