If you're a music fan, the information available from the Web's compulsive catalogers can be mighty useful. Sometimes you do need to know every tour date the Minutemen played in 1985, the index numbers for every release on the ESP label, or the guitar tabs for that Yo La Tengo song you keep singing in the shower. But spending too much time on those obsessive sites is like looking at the world through a keyhole: The perspective is seriously skewed. That's why Bill Tuomala's adjunct to his five-year-old print zine (which you can subscribe to through the Web site) is a necessary antidote to this kind of narrowcasting and tunnel vision. Writer, sometime accountant, and full-time music fan, Tuomala is no less enthusiastic than those folks, but his musings on economics, beer, women, Guns N' Roses, beer, poetry, and the Replacements are set in a real, vibrant world. One where your jerky boss ambushes you at the Christmas party, the gals at the liquor store snub you (and you kinda like it), and you're maybe--hell, probably--the oldest guy at the Soul Asylum show. This past issue, #27, is one of his best. It features a brilliant reinvention of Van Halen's career as a critical success and commercial flop ("Legend has it that the Clash themselves...stepped down from their multiplatinum thrones, took one listen to Fair Warning, and scrapped the work that had been done to date on their next album"), and a recounting of a misfired high school crush that's as poignant and truthful as anything High Fidelity's Nick Hornby ever set to print.


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