I just picked up the current stereophile and discovered precisely one new record review, that of Neko Case's "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood",
Granted it was the 'Records 2Die4" issue, so there were reviews. And I was pleased to see Ms. Case get such attention. I've became a fan of her work as solo artist and with The New Pornographers after an NPR review led to an impulse purchase.
I am interested in the gear, I'm even interested in tweaks though I'll have to try them on my own system before I'll belive. But the reason we by this gear is to listen to music. And though I'm not in my thirties any more I'm still looking for good new music, or information on older pieces I've missed.
If I'm a record store at the catalog with an extra $20 in my pocket I would prefer not to blow it on another Led Zeppelin album. While i'd like to fill in holes with the music I don't yet own, the seventh Miles Davis album might not add as much pleasure to my life as Amy Rigby's "Little Fugitive" or a "Dose" of Government Mule.
Over the past couple years I've noted a steady decline in the number of reviews in Stereophile, particularly from the time when I first became a subscriber back in the nineties. But I think they're an essental part of any music magazine. A lot of good music languishes on the shelves while Mariah Carey's figure is splashed across a dozen magazines. Somebody has to help us find the Nils Lofgrens of the world. Stereophile can do better in this regard.