STEVEN KRAKOW (AKA Plastic Crimewave) is one of those obsessive record collectors who know more about the musicians he loves than the actual musicians know about themselves. Krakow's labor of lust is the Galactic Zoo Dossier fanzine, which excavates the garage-rock/psychedelic underground—mostly from the '60s and '70s—with enthusiasm and acumen. Not only is Krakow a maniac of musical minutiae, he's also a skilled portraitist and a sharp critic. Much like Julian Cope, Krakow waxes colorful (and sometimes hyperbolic) about music with a zeal that can't help inspiring you to spend unseemly amounts of time and money tracking down his objects of critical affection. Dude even has me stoked to score some Uriah Heep...

Through Drag City Records, Krakow has just released Issue #6, GZD's biggest yet at 76 pages. Copiously illustrated and packed with fascinating interviews and essays, the mag offers an eye and ear bonanza, thanks to Krakow's ongoing series of "Damaged Guitar Gods" trading cards and the double CD of unhinged garage, soul, and psych rock that accompany the zine. The cards bear the uncanny likenesses of 72 ax geniuses (including Pete Cosey, Dennis Coffey, and Stacy Sutherland) drawn by Krakow and synopsized by him and cronies Eric Colin and Scott Wilkinson.

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The insane amount of effort and artistry Krakow pours into every issue makes each one an event. Every word is handwritten (though Krakow ought to make his margins smaller to ease eye strain). Further enhancing GZD's value is Krakow's unbridled zest for shining much-needed light on obscure greats and neglected albums, and subverting conventional wisdom on oft-scorned artists like Cat Stevens and Vanilla Fudge. Another quality that makes GZD refreshing is Krakow's expansive definition of psychedelia: to him, Chicago soul man Baby Huey, Bahamian voodoo funkateer Exuma, and avant-garde guitarist Keith Rowe all qualify as head music extraordinaire.

Beyond the music coverage, Krakow explores comic books and cartoons that appeal to the psychedelic mindset, and he hilariously deflates hippie-themed cartoons from "square" publications. Charmingly Luddite and unconcerned with trendiness, Krakow has become the underground's Most Valuable Geek with Galactic Zoo Dossier. Long may he crosshatch.