Even before she recently took the well-deserved post as music editor at the Village Voice, it would be unthinkable to make a list like this without including Johnston. It’s not just her bylines in classy pubs like Esquire, Vanity Fair, and The Daily Beast that make her work so special. It was also the breathtakingly insightful and extensive coverage of the pop world that she did for Idolator, which made her a major force in the scribing world. (Idolator, meanwhile, has been awful since her departure.) We also enjoy her hilarious Tumblr.
Although you might have seen her writing for New York Magazine or heard her on WNYC’s Soundcheck, Kelley’s staple work is for NPR. Along with being an editor there for about four years now, she’s done a number of absorbing pieces, including eulogies for the boombox and Notorious B.I.G. and a defense of Odd Future. As you can tell, rap is a specialty and interest for her. Oh, and did we mention the piece where she unveiled the hilarious scheme behind a fake press release?
No relation to Greil, Sara Marcus has nonetheless had an enviable background that served her well. In DC, she immersed herself not just in the punk culture but also the then-burgeoning ’90s riot grrrl scene, where she published a zine and played in a band. She followed her writing muse to snag bylines in Slate and Time Out, among other places, as well as placing poetry in several lit journals. But her early years really came to fruition with the publication of Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution last year. Few people could have provided such a comprehensive, insider’s view of the movement as she did.