A recurring conversation I've had with many people in the past few years has been, "Hey, where the hell's the new "Yeti?" We were speaking of a book-fat, music-oriented journal published by longtime Seattle resident and freelance writer Mike McGonigal. The comics-friendly, arts-investigative journal — with its elegant, edifying, and consistently-surprising presence — has been missed. As people have started reading magazines less and browsing the internet more, we feared "Yeti" had gone the way of a quite a few excellent, underground-culture-savvy, independent publications.
But McGonigal is tenacious and talented, as anyone who read his old zine Chemical Imbalance knows, so it was only matter of time before he settled down comfortably enough in Portland and produced another "Yeti."
Inside the near-250 pages of this long-awaited issue are the usual rock and roll goods, including casual, enthusiastic, intelligent interviews with critics' favorites like Neko Case, Schneider TM, Damon & Naomi, and Devendra Banhart. But for me, it's easily the best mag I've read recently for its other features: Jeffrey Brown comics, R.J. Smith on African-American crime scene reporting in the 40s (wow!), spot illustrations by geniuses like Jordan Crane, a pretty good William Burroughs interview, a really funny Internet scam called "You Can't Hurry Good Pizza," a heart-wrenching portrait of dyke poet Eileen Myles by very vulnerable and revealing fan Nate Lippens, Erik Davis' shrewd analysis of and reporting on West Coast art and spiritual collage, and McGonigal's own fascinating interview with an AWOL marine, which he admits may be untrustworthy, but is compelling nonetheless.
Despite its deceptive visual simplicity (though lovely in and of itself), the writing and art throughout are consistently interesting and often superior to what you find in magazines with twice the circulation and a couple dozen times the editorial staff. The CD included, with rare treats from the likes of The Dead Science, Jolie Holland, Postal Service, Birdbrain, and Colin Meloy, is worth the twelve bucks itself. Here's to "Yeti" #4, hopefully out a lot sooner than this one!