Category Archives: Zine Reviews

13 POEMS, $5, 5 ½” x 8½”, copied

Taking a nod from Fugazi’s 13 Songs, 13 Poems is a subdued red statement on Rhine’s subversive and sweet America that weaves its way through regret-tinged Applebee’s karaoke bars and punk basements, Indiana Jones fantasy-scapes, rhythmic invocations, and meditations on skateboarding. I actually love this zine; it’s one of my favorite poetry zines I’ve read in a while, maybe because I’m a weird sad nerd drummer poet too. Maybe because it’s speaking directly about Rhine’s experiences as a New Jersey punk, and the sadness and out of step-ness and hope and dirty carpet and critical nostalgia that binds that experience together. It’s hard to not feel connected when someone is sharing so much in ways that feel familiar and honest. Fast read. Bound beautifully. 10/10 for me. –Candace Hansen (JR Rhine, jrrhinepoetry.bigcartel.com)

ASYMMETRICAL ANTI-MEDIA #3, $1, 5 ½” x 8½”, copied, 7 pgs.

Asymmetrical Anti-Media is a zine that reviews other zines with a few music reviews thrown in, too. While I’m not normally a huge fan of these kinds of zines, the author, Jason, does a quality job of reviewing each publication. His comments aren’t superficial and he gives his opinion on both the content and layout. I appreciated the scope he took. I also appreciated the review of the Punks and Mental Health issue of Razorcake, even if it wasn’t entirely favorable. This isn’t necessarily something I would go out of my way to read again, but it’s well done for what it is. –Kurt Morris (Jason Rodgers, PO Box 10894, Albany, NY 12201)

BEHIND THE ZINES #7, $3, 5½”x 8½”, copied, 38 pgs.

The always-engaging Billy who writes Proof I Exist, and Last Night at the Casino, and other titles has put together this zine about zines. The first piece is by Billy. It’s about zines and anti-capitalism and how he refuses to let go of the old school punk ethic of making zines and being a bit alienated from new school zinesters who now boast of how much they can sell a zine for rather than how many copies they were able to scam. He also shouts out Razorcake in that piece. Thanks, Billy. We do our part! There are articles about creating a graph to keep track of where your zines go, a story from a reluctant zinester who overcame their perfectionist tendencies to embrace zine culture, reviews of zine events, a zinester interview, and some reviews. As I write this, I’m sitting on the Amtrak, drinking alone, sad for a time when people would hang out in the lounge car drinking together instead of staying in their seats looking at their phones. I recall a time when I handed zines out to people I met. A few of them wrote me emails telling me how important my words were and I’ll never forget that. Don’t let human connection die. Quit looking at your damned phone and call somebody on it. Talk to strangers. Read zines. Sit down and order a fucking zine.  –Craven Rock (Billy, PO Box 22551, Baltimore, MD 21203, Iknowbilly@gmail.com)

BLEACHED POLAROID PROJECT, $?, 5¼” x 4”, Laserjet, 20 pgs.

This collection of bleached Polaroids is quite beautiful. Whether or not there is a story to these is up to debate. Since these are all assumed to be images from the lives of the photographers, it gives itself some meaning as snapshots from small moments they’ve lived. Bleaching the Polaroids creates this color distortion that’s interesting. The color saturation is boosted to a maximum, and most of the time creates a pastel look to them. Damn, the colors really bring my eye holes a great joy. It makes me wish I could frame these and put them on my walls, so I can look at them and vomit rainbows out of my eyes. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Desilu Muñoz and Stephanie Segura, lachambapress.tumblr.com)

CHOKE ON A LAUGH #1, $5, 5½”x 8½”, copied, 54 pgs.

This zine is a look at the music scene in the Antelope Valley, the area north of Los Angeles on the edge of the Mojave Desert. I didn’t know anything about this part of the country but it’s far from the rest of the world, yet still appears to have a punk scene. Choke on a Laugh begins with a scene history of the valley, which seems comprehensive. This essay sets the stage for the rest of the zine. Also included is a review section and interviews with local and not-so-local bands, including Nihilth, Freakees, and Lucretia. The interviews are fairly lengthy for a zine, or at least more than four or five questions. Perhaps the best way to describe Choke on a Laugh is that it’s like if a scene report from Maximum Rock’n’roll grew into an entire zine. I’m not sure how much this would be of interest to those outside this scene or without connections to the bands interviewed, but good on the folks behind this zine for keeping the scene going. –Kurt Morris (ss418737@gmail.com)

CREATING SAFER SPACES FOR THOSE WITH DISABILITIES, $3, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 8 pgs.

A great beginner’s guide for those who wish to be respectful to those with disabilities, because, honestly, you were probably an asshole about it. This zine by Rep Tilian is great, as it’s very blunt, which is a tone that’s needed since lots of people are so condescending in how they act with disabled folx and don’t realize it. It’s like a wake-up call, and slam!—something to open up your eyes. Pick this up if you want to know if maybe you are being a douche without knowing it, and you can try to be a better person. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Rep Tilian, no address listed.)

CRIES FROM THE GULAG, #6 & #7, one sheet, copied, 2 pgs.

Nothing but classified ads from folks in prison seeking pen pals and support. Get this and show them some. ACAB! –Craven Rock (James M. Dawson, PO Box 950, Spokane, WA 99210)

DEEP FRIED, $1, 8½” x 11”, copied, 28 pgs.

When I imagine the pure, Platonic ideal of a digest-sized fanzine whose raison d’etre revolves around the mirth and woe of fast food, what I imagine is something fairly crappy looking, with hand-scrawled headlines, large, uninterrupted blocks of small text, and an occasional accompanying image of a BK Broiler® cut out of an advertising mailer. Startlingly, Deep Fried is actually pretty well-written, with reasonably slick graphics, proving once and for all that “value menu” and “quality” need not be mutually exclusive. Brief, fast-paced interviews (generally revolving around fast food, natch) include Mannequin Pussy and Joe Pickett of the Found Footage Film Festival; other tastefully McNugget®-sized articles include an explanation on how one used to be able to wax a ledge for skateboarding purposes with a Wendy’s soda cup, and the origin of Jell-O® Instant Pudding™. As the Descendents once said, “eating is believing.” –Rev. Nørb (2901 Yosemite Ave. S., St. Louis Park, MN 55416, videophobia222@hotmail.com)

DON’T BE A DRAG, $?, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 16 pgs.

Hell yeah! You gotta love some dope-ass queer weirdo art. This collection of some work by Anthony Hurd is a good, compact collection of aggressive, trashy artwork which combines political and sexual themes into a great gravy mash. There is great detail in each drawing from scales to skin, and its crass look is very appealing. There’s even a very unnerving drawing of human teeth with its own pair of teeth. Anything that terrifies me or makes me uneasy is a winner. It’s in-your-face and awesome. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Anthony Hurd, instagram.com/anthony.hurd)

EARTH FIRST!: THE JOURNAL OF ECOLOGICAL RESISTANCE Winter 2018, $6.50, offset, 8” x 10½”, 56 pgs.

If I’m being honest, I’ve always had a disconnect with environmental issues. This longstanding journal from one of the world’s most prominent radical environmental groups does a solid job of tying ecological matters to radical politics generally, piquing my interest. Questions addressed in this issue include how environmental issues affect refugees and how art is intrinsically related to environment. Nicely laid out, well-written, and thought-provoking, the Earth First! publication has the potential to exact change beyond simply preaching to the choir. –Art Ettinger (Daily Planet Publishing, PO Box 1112, Grants Pass, OR 97528)