Zine Reviews

EXERCISING DEMONS #3, $?, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 22 pgs.

Don’s latest issue of Exercising Demons was made in preparation for the Tulsa Hard Copy Zine Faire. He opens by reflecting on his realization in 2018 that he has depression. He reflects on who he has been over the years and how he’s changed. Don began to look back through writings he had from 1993 to 1998. In doing so he came to see how long his depression went undiagnosed. Thus, the pieces in the rest of the twenty pages of the zine are free verse poetry. A lot of hurt feelings, anger, and depression is displayed here. Kudos to Don for working through things, especially for sharing his writing from over twenty years ago. That is a gutsy move. I’m glad that the vast majority of my scribblings and thoughts are no longer around for people to read. And kudos to Don, also, for getting the help he needs with his depression. –Kurt Morris (notmovingpictures@gmail.com)

FLÜORAZINE #5, Free/trade, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 48 pgs.

Quoted from an included author letter: “Flüorazine is made in a prison, but I like to think it’s not about prison.” Made in a prison in Kentucky, this mostly collaged zine also takes essay submissions from other incarcerated people, as well as their poetry, thoughts, and advice. There are resources for writing to other prisoners, submitting books and materials that are desperately needed for folks, and info on an “Anarchist Prison Support Zine.” The author also includes a review of the latest issue of Razorcake, as well as other zines and books they’re able to get their hands on. The magazine cut-out collages are a bit overwhelming at times, but an indicator of the materials that are provided for incarcerated people, and a great reminder that art can be created in any situation. (Flüorazine, Kristopher Storey, 26731-018 FMC, PO Box 14500, Lexington, KY 40512)

FOREVER: A COLLECTION OF LOVE LETTERS, $?, 5½” x 8½”, silkscreened cover, 32 pgs.

Alright, okay, I’m a hopeless romantic. This zine pulls selections from the “Love Letters Anonymous” archive on Tumblr, which I’d seen before, but never in a physical form. Seeing these digitally is a wholly different, arguably commodified experience, where seeing them physically adds a weight I wasn’t prepared for in picking this up. Some of the letters are apologies or unrequited, some wax poetic, where others are completely straightforward. The oldest are between a husband and wife during World War II. All of them are striking; this zine is almost overwhelming in the sheer range of emotions. This might, too, be because all of us experience love, and it’s one of the strongest, stupidest things we feel. Either way, Forever has me dabbing away a tear, and I’m glad for it. –Jimmy Cooper (Natalie Woodlock, Sodapops Shop on Etsy)

GOOBERBUTT?! #2, $?, 5½” x 4”, printed, 10 pgs.

Inspired by a love of physical media (CDs, records, books, et cetera), this mini-zine is about cassette tapes; specifically four prominent ones that changed one person’s life. Everyone can relate to discovering your first favorite bands and the styles or genre of music that really spoke to you. The tapes that did that for the writer were from bands Faith No More, Burnt Toast, Vivian’s Lunch, and Rugby Mothers. Each has a little back story and memory as to how the tape opened up a world of music, made them want to start a band, and began the journey into digging for similar bands and music. Definitely relatable for any music fan, especially those of us who still collect physically instead of digitally. –Tricia Ramos (Gooberbutt?!, gooberbuttzine@gmail.com)

GOOBERBUTT?!, $?, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 20 pgs.

Jason, the author of this zine, writes of his life in Flint, Mich., back in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Specifically, he tells of what it was like to be part of the punk scene with his band, South Bay Bessie. He also recounts tales of living in a punk house, the band’s initial gigs, and playing at a nudist resort. One of the main venues in Flint at that time was the Local 432, a club where my friends’ band played in the early ’00s. I liked the space and the audience had a good vibe, so I understood some of what he was talking about in Gooberbutt?! There was even a sweet ending to the zine about how he met his wife. The final page is a list of things Jason wished he learned while he lived in the punk house. There was some nice stuff, but then the last one was, “Jesus was way cool.” I read that and thought, “Wait, did I miss something? Because that’s a serious plot twist.” There was nothing about religion in this zine at all. So I did some digging and found that the author of the zine used to be a pastor. That put it into context, but why even mention that? Otherwise, this is a solid zine that was a good trip down memory lane for me. If you interacted with the Flint scene or are just interested in reminiscing about ’90s small town punk, then check this out. –Kurt Morris (gooberbuttzine@gmail.com)

HEADWINDS #3, £1, 5½” x 8½”, 24 pgs.

This is a great zine out of the U.K. that covers reviews of records, podcasts, live gigs, zines, and festivals, as well as featuring in-depth interviews. In this third issue there are interviews with the band Blankets from Münster, Germany, and Trophy Jump from Zagreb, Croatia, as well as one with the head of a zine and distro in Malaysia. The interviews cover the general sound and history of the bands, while also culturally coloring them in. I appreciate there are as many questions about their songs, feelings concerning football, and opinions on each country’s politics. This zine helps to paint a very full picture of people engaged in DIY in many parts of the world. The bulk of it contains well-written reviews, including one of our own Razorcake. Kinda funny when reviews get a little cyclical like that, right? The only thing I didn’t care for was the front and back cover design. Had I passed this zine in a cafe or bookshop, I’d likely overlooked it because it features a fox in a fez playing a clarinet. Far as I can tell, this is just one guy putting all this together, which is pretty impressive. Overall, I really enjoyed it and would be interested in seeing the first two issues as well. –Kayla Greet (headwindszine@gmail.com)

ICH WILL NIX ALTER WERDEN, $5, 5½” x 8½”, screen printed cover, 28 pgs.

This is a fictional story based on events from real life, so I suppose a way to categorize that would be realistic fiction. Written by Arielle Bungdorf, the story is told through a series of letters that one character is writing to her lover. It follows two teenage girls in 1979 who are involved in a relationship, though the Berlin Wall separates them. Peppered throughout are factual, historical accounts of life in Germany during the Cold War, as well as black and white photos from the time period. Anni tells her lover Micki that she no longer likes The Beatles and that punk is the new god. She dyes her hair turquoise and makes mix tapes featuring the Ramones and German punk bands for her partner trapped on the other side of the wall. Eventually, Anni reveals that she never sends these letters, as they would be intercepted by the Stasi and might just put them both in danger. I won’t spoil the ending for you, though it is heartbreaking. A well-written and beautifully laid out zine that I definitely recommend checking out. –Kayla Greet (a.charamoy@gmail.com)

JOHN CAGE: BIOGRAPHICAL FACTS ABOUT THE AMERICAN COMPOSER, $1, 8½” x 11”, copied, 24 pgs.

Spiritually more akin to a pamphlet than a proper zine, this is, as advertised, 161 factoids represented as pertaining to avant-garde composer John Cage. Said factoids were typed up in 12-point Times New Roman and printed out, then apparently cut out and individually rubber-cemented on the page, without conceit of graphics, illustrations, or embellishments of any kind. These “facts,” if you will, range from the factual (“He pioneered a new conception of music based on the use of chance and other nonintentional methods.” “For work, he once washed walls at a Brooklyn YMCA.”) to the yeah-I’m-pretty-sure-that-wasn’t-him (“He has a cameo in every Marvel movie.” “His song ‘Born to Run’ is written as a love letter to a girl named Wendy.”) to what appear to be random lines taken from mysterious short stories (“He watched his wife chisel white chocolate into a bowl. It looked like glaciers.” “He made his way by slow movements, nudgings of growth, like his own plants and flowers.”) to straight-up tongue-in-cheek buffoonery (“He is a species of ground beetle in the subfamily Orthogoniinae.” “He is a species of flowering plant found only on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines”). As pointless as this all sounds, this unusual work holds up disturbingly well with repeated readings, and I am using it, I Ching style, as the basis of my spiritual hygiene from this point forward. –Rev. Nørb (raincloudzine@gmail.com)

KOREANGRY: AN ANGRY KOREAN WOMAN, $10, 5½” x 8½”, Laserjet, 32 pgs.

The anger many of us people of color feel can either be hard to express, or a little too easy in the “shout at everyone at this bar and get kicked out of happy hour” kind of way. It can be a thin line, as many of those who do not understand this anger just see it as aggressiveness and/or whining. A way I never thought I’d see as a way of expressing these feelings is using clay figures. Using a clay figure as your personal icon is brilliant, and the emotion and power really shines through the figures. The passage and ravaging of emotions sometimes come out as physical ailments in Eunsoo’s avatar, and the representations of stress and vice comes in physical forms. It works so well in this form, and makes it a bit more accessible to some when words don’t work for them. Seeing all the perfect miniature recreations of household items and food is fascinating as well. Plus, it came with stickers of Eunsoo courting some fried chicken. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Eunsoo Jeong, instagram.com/koreangry)

MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL #429, $4.99, 8 ½” x 10”, newsprint, 144 pgs.

Here’s their final annual year-end top 10 issue. If that’s your thing, then dig in. Otherwise, skip all that and see if the interviews with Damak, Constant Mongrel, and Ruby Karinto are to your liking. There’s also a Beocin, Serbia scene report, a two-page photo spread of the 2018 Not Dead Yet Fest, columns, and record reviews (zine reviews are strangely absent). –Matt Average (PO Box 460760, SF, CA 94146, mrr@maximumrocknroll.com)