Just a guess: Might be a correlation to how much the record distributor advertises in the magazine.
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It seems really random - I've definitely found some gems there, but others seem to be whatever happened to show up in the mail the day of the deadline. I first read about Galactic, Murder City Devils and Modest Mouse in Stereophile, and I like all of them. I'm not sure I need them to tell me what they thought about the latest PJ Harvey, Bob Dylan or Widespread Panic - not that these are necessarily bad albums, just not sticking their necks out much. -Kirk
FWIW, I don't think the fact that the music reviewed is from an "unknown" is any reason to be dismissive. I have been turned on to any number of unknowns via Stereophile's reviews that turned out to be real gems IMHO. I read their reviews precisely because I want to discover new music that has been overlooked and under promoted.