Portsmouth’s newest weekly publication, The Sound, hit the streets yesterday. A weekly publication, it’ll continue to hit the stands with a new issue every Wednesday. I grabbed my copy at Bullmoose Music on Congress Street in downtown Portsmouth, and I hear that you can find a copy of this free newspaper most places you used to find copies of The Wire. It may seem a little meta to review a newspaper—which, itself, contains reviews—but I’m so overcome with happy feelings about it that, heck, that’s what I’m going to do. (Note: I only read the first half of the first issue on my lunch break today, and forgot to bring it home with me, so I’ll only be mentioning articles in the first half here. I look forward to the rest, including Craig’s writeup of J. Dennis Robinson’s new book, which I JUST bought at Dennis’ author reading tonight—so that’s how effective the article was without me even having read it yet!)
Let’s start with how freaking pretty it is. The cover art by Alyssa Grenning is not just delightful and artistic, it’s a smart and clear communication of a feeling we all are too familiar with in Portsmouth. The encroaching buildings, whether we appreciate them or not (and I’m of the opinion that they aren’t all bad, and I’m actually looking forward to Whole Foods (take issue with me in the comments if you like)), do have that feeling of sprouting up quickly around our little homes.
And check out the interior layout of that cover story:
I love the extra illustration a the bottom and the call-out quote. Just pleasant. Nice job, Alyssa!
Next, the WORDS. Words, words words. I read the intro letter by Publisher Matt Kanner, which was a really sweet tale of how this all came to be for him and his wife. A love letter to the news biz, if you will.
Then I read Leslie Modica‘s cover story and was blown away by how great a job she did in encapsulating the incredibly complex issue of housing costs in Portsmouth. This has been discussed and reported on a TON lately, but this is by far the best piece that I’ve read. Halfway through, I found myself hoping that she interviewed Craig Welch (director of the Portsmouth Housing Authority), and I peeked ahead. Indeed, there he was giving some insight at the end. I nestled back into the middle of the article, smiling now, confident that I was going to get a proposed solution. And so I did. It’s so refreshing to hear not just a cold rehash of complaints from people who have varying and questionable levels of expertise, but a researched presentation of facts, wrapped in some real-life anecdotes, and then a frank and positive discussion of potential solutions from people who work on this issue for a living. Brilliant.
Then Larry Clow writes about horns, and man, I can feel them coming off the page and enveloping me with their long, warm tones. The article is a fun piece that not only name-drops some of my fave local bands (like Tan Vampires and Soggy Po’ Boys) and musicians (like Chris Klaxton), but also gives a little history about what horns mean from an almost evolutionary, and certainly sociological, standpoint. There’s an undertone of jazz in the artful language of the article, too, which really drives the piece home. Who knew I gave such a hoot about horns?
Oh look, and here’s a movie review by my pal Trevor Bartlett—how nice! It’s not really my type of movie, though, so I’ll probably just scan through it… and then he sucks me right in, in just the first sentence. I read every word and feel like I’ve just taken a psychology class, with an emphasis on comparative art and effective similes. Some damn good sentences in there. Even if you don’t care at all about scary movies you’ll thank your brain for gobbling up this article. And you might even feel yourself yearning to actually rent and watch this movie.
That’s as far as I got today. Maybe I’ll post more about the second half of Volume 1, Issue 1 later this week when I’ve consumed the entire publication (metaphorically, of course). Or perhaps I’ll leave you hanging until you pick up your own copy and see for yourself!
By the way, I can’t neglect to mention the impressively comprehensive listings of music and art events going on in the area. This will likely become everyone’s go-to resource for what’s happening in town.
You can check out The Sound online at soundnh.com, where you can find all of the content, but if you live on the Seacoast, you really should grab an actual copy. It’s just nicer to read it that way. Long live print!
Congrats to all on what promises to be a smart and insightful publication for our fair city.