Zine Reviews

I’M SENDING MESSAGES INTO OUTER SPACE, $15, 4¼” x 11”, copied, 15 pgs.

A dozen or so short poems accompanied by high-contrast copier art and a handful of digital illustrations that look somewhat out of place plopped in the middle of this thing. There’s a loose connecting thread of space imagery throughout the chapbook, but this is all over the place in terms of tone and aesthetic. The writer occasionally lapses into an affected phonetic spelling that is not working for me; it’s sort of an ex-gonzo hippie vibe. The rest isn’t terrible. –Indiana Laub (Space Cowboy Books, spacecowboybooks.com)

INCREDIBLE INQUIRY REVIEWS Part 30, $2, 8½” x 11”, copied, 6 pgs.

Three sheets of small type, stapled together at the corner, consisting of sketchily spelled paragraphs proffering opinions and enlightened insight on random subjects, including, but not limited to, nature (good), agribusiness (bad), government (bad), god (good), poison (bad), cancer (bad), “lower level entities” (unclear), liquor (bad now), balance (good), sound (good, but not CDs or rock music, which are bad), aromas (good), drugs (bad), “Dispenser of Evil Punishment” (now known as “Devil,” bad), kinetic energy (good), virtual reality (bad), and much more, but I don’t want to give out too many more spoilers. –Rev. Nørb (153 Village Circle, Garden Valley, ID 83622)

KEEP TRACK OF THE TIME: 2015/16 COLLECTION, 5 ½” x 8 ½”, 42 pgs.

Here we have a black and white pop punk fanzine with text up to the edge of the margins, a Mitch Clem comic on page one, an interview with Hallie from The Unlovables, and it’s stapled in such a way that I can’t quite open some of the pages. I know a guy in town, Bradley, who lives for pop punk (he runs poppunk.com) and my copy of Keep Track of the Time is going straight to him. My favorite part was a comic on the back cover, and I wish the rest of the zine had such eye-grabbing design. So here’s the comic: A door guy is being yelled at by a gorilla who wants to get into the show. The gorilla says, “$5 to get in? I’m friends with the band. I’m not paying to see my friends!” And the door guy, very frightened, says, “OK OK go in.” Then, “Later that night,” the gorilla is at the bar saying, “$5 for beer, I’ll have 7 more!” Pretty good! –Jim Joyce (keeptrackofthetime@gmail.com, keeptrackofthetime.wordpress.com)

LOCAL VOCALS: YOUR GUIDE TO KICK-ASS KARAOKE, $3, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 20 pgs.

Okay, this zine cracked me up. As someone who barely goes to karaoke (and mostly tries to avoid it), I have to give props to the writer for giving such a full description of karaoke singer types, audience member types, and how to properly enjoy and perform karaoke. Like the title of the zine indicates, this small book could be utilized by someone who has never done karaoke but has an interest in starting out, or it could be given to someone who’s a karaoke superstar for a laugh! I really appreciated the parts describing different kinds of singers, especially “The Rehearser,” which perfectly described my ex-boss who would play the same five tracks on our office computer, singing along all day for my eight hour shift, preparing herself for her weekly karaoke night. If you’re a karaoke lover, please don’t be like my ex-boss. Please don’t play Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” over and over every day for your employees to suffer hearing their boss sing/ask if a boy can “get it up.” Ugh, sorry about that. Maybe this zine triggered some karaoke nightmare flashbacks for me. –Tricia Ramos (PO Box 7831, Beverly Hills, CA 90212)

MAXIMUM ROCK’N’ROLL #411, $4.99, 8 ½” x 11”, newsprint, 126 pgs.

MRR is punk’s version of The New Yorker. No matter what you do, no matter how much richness you’ve still got to read from the last one, it’s still going to show up in your mailbox and you’re just going to have to move on. This issue features an interview with Elix-r, an “all girls” punk group out of Denton, Texas, who said something really interesting: namely, how some dudes have a subconscious draw toward tinkering with a woman’s guitar and amp whereas they’d be less likely to do so to just walk up and fuck with a guy’s gear. I’ve seen it, I believe it, and knowing where I come from, I bet as a younger guy I’d be stupid enough to do it. The interview with Myanmar punks, No U Turn, has some good anecdotes, such as the time they had to censor one of their songs that featured the lyric, “Turn the radio off,” as the government thought they meant, “Turn off the [government] radio,” while the band meant, I think, “Turn the radio off [so you don’t have to listen to shitty music].” San Francisco hardcore dudes Fatigue get a feature, too, in which they settle once and for all that “oi bands are garbage.” If that’s not enough, we get a four-page hangout with Alice Bag. Bada-boom. –Jim Joyce (Maximum Rock’n’roll, PO Box 460760, SF, CA, 94146, maximumrocknroll.com)

MAXIMUM ROCK’N’ROLL #412, $4.99, 8 ½” x 11”, newsprint, 94 pgs.

Issue 412 is devoted to Pinoy Punk. What’s Pinoy Punk? I’m just learning, too. In abbreviated form, it’s punk culture from the Philippines and punk of the Filipino diaspora around the globe. And here’s something I didn’t know—the Philippines had a raging punk scene the ‘80s, and it seems as big as ever now with events like Aklasan Fest, a San Francisco event that “Unit[es] the Filipino Punk Diaspora Since 2014,” and I suppose it’s been big for a while, too. The zine Bamboo Girl has been around since ’96, and distros like Brown Recluse having been stocking Pinoy zines for a bit as well. In short, a lot of this issue involves exposing MRR readers to groups they might’ve missed. There are literal lists of bands (Moxiebeat, Monte, First Quarter Storm, Material Support) and personal takes on what it means to be Pinoy—it “means way more than just being a Filipino kid that likes music—[it means not] pushing one’s Filipino identity in the dark… so you can feel more at ease in a sea of white spaces,” and it means “working in [a] community against capitalism in its most evil forms,” too. There are even short guides to zine and record shopping abroad. What’s more? One columnist, Geyl, reflecting on the Ghost Ship fire, gave a call for anarchist fire drills, which is a really cool idea for safe-proofing DIY venues. Onward. –Jim Joyce (Maximum Rock’n’roll, PO Box 460760, SF, CA, 94146, maximumrocknroll.com)

PASAZER #33, 25 zloty, 8½” x 11”, offset, 208 pgs.

For less than seven American bucks, this killer Polish zine can be yours. It’s packed with tiny print, columns, reviews, and bands. Tons of bands. The ongoing history of Black Flag, which I remember from past issues, includes photos I’ve never seen before, and the twenty-five song CD sampler features bands from Poland. Man, I miss CD samplers—such a great way for bands to get listens and transcend the language barrier. Some of the acts from this one will make their way into my next podcast installment. Recommended. –Michael T. Fournier (PO Box 42, 39-201 Debica 3, Poland)

POPNOIR #1, Free or trade, 4” x 5”, copied, 16 pgs.

Small mini-zine representing Austin, Texas’s Spiderhouse, and two bands that played during their spring festival season. The first small interview was with The Ortiz Brothers, and the second with Thelma & The Sleaze. Both bands were interviewed about their music and why they hate SXSW. Rest of the zine is filled with retro photo collages and reads more like an amalgamation of show flyers than anything else. –Tricia Ramos (PopNoir, 2908 Fruth #201, Austin, TX 78705)

PUNK, $?, copied, 5½” x 8½”, 18 pgs.

This small and very DIY output from photographer Jorge Sanchez Arcos is one of those tiny pearls that emerges from the sea of media that we are confronted with on a daily basis. These black and white photographs document punk shows from bands like Limp Wrist, Citizen Fish, and Brujeria, and manage to capture the raw power, the heat, and the ecstatic release of seeing a great band in a small setting play heartfelt songs that strike at your core. –Jon Mule (No address listed)

ROCK ‘N’ ROLL FOREVER!, $15, 8½” x 11”, copied, 108 pgs.

This zine consists of more than a hundred pages of full-color photographs documenting the photographer’s experience of the last decade of DIY punk in the United States (mostly). The price may be steep enough to warrant some double-takes, but it makes sense if you consider this a punk rock yearbook, something to flip through in search of some unfocused memory, the approximation of a feeling. It’s a scrapbook of someone who’s been to a ton of punk places and met a ton of punk people. There are wild stagedives and posed band photo shoots as well as more understated shots: friends goofing off in fast food restaurants, waiting around in vans, exploring dilapidated buildings, just hanging out. Maybe half of the photos are captioned with the names of the bands or people pictured, while the rest are left context-free and mysterious. Scribbled drawings in Sharpie and ballpoint pen line the margins. Some shots are immediately striking, while others might have been unremarkable in another context—presented all together like this, they make something familiar and sweet. An honest and unaffected tribute to a certain kind of life from someone who was there and thought to make some kind of record. –Indiana Laub (Rock ‘n’ Roll Forever!, PO Box 1959, New York, NY 10013)