Zine Reviews

PRETEA HANDY ZINE, A, $?, 3” x 5”, copied, 8 pgs.

Much like Azersol, I bleed tea. This super handy guide to tea is great for a quick reference on how tea can be prepared, paired, and sweetened. This is definitely for the tea lover in you or your equally obsessed friend. I even learned all about white teas which are more sensitive than I thought. Plus, this guide comes with a bag of tea! Delicious. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Azersol, no address listed)

POST-DEPRESSION BLUES, $7, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 20 pgs.

Delving into the life of punk kids in their day-to-day, or just being so immersed into their world is what I want in every punk zine I encounter. This Allan Cito perzine is a perfect example of what a punk zine should be: immersive, dirty, energetic, personal. It also has what every punk zine has in common: mentioning punk as much as possible. This zine is a collection of essays, short stories, and poems of Alan’s personal journey in queer punk love, depression, and self-acceptance, especially in realizing that you’re ugly and proud. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Allan Cito, darcycrashdistro.tumblr.com)

POPTWIN PM S/S 2017, for trade, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 20 pgs.

Parts comic, parts art dump, and parts fine art, Damien Le’s last trade zine is a good mix of sketches: works that didn’t fit into any other zines, but are great nonetheless. His work is both intricate and simple—both at the same time and separately—and it’s fun to look over his illustrations and enjoy every line. His illustrations are fantasy nudes, and strange body distortions that could make some great framed artwork despite many being unfinished pencil sketches. His first comic in the zine is touching, and makes one think of what we may have missed in the company of others. You think about what was left unsaid, and the implications of what we share, and how it disappears. –Iggy Nicklbottum, (Damien Le, damianle.com)

OUR FUTURE #3, £1.50, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 24 pgs.

This issue is dedicated entirely to the Wankys, a band celebrating their ten year anniversary and couched somewhere between noise, hardcore, and powerviolence. It features interviews with previous band members, the head of a label that’s put out their records, and an in-depth discussion of their discography. I’m definitely a fan of projects like this—intensive, thorough, clearly crafted with care. Nicely laid out. Band isn’t my thing, but there’s no refuting that this is very well done. –Keith Rosson (Our Future, ourfuturerecords.bandcamp.com)

ORGAN GRINDER #6, $5, 8½” x 11”, glossy magazine, 26 pgs.

Do you miss the days of being a kid going through a Highlights Magazine (or maybe Cricket Magazine) and doing each and every crossword, puzzle, word seek, and mystery picture? Don’t worry, Organ Grinder has your adult disorganized mind covered. Filled with goofy and inappropriate humor, the activities contained within this glossy full-color magazine will keep you distracted (hopefully) from all the bull for a short period of time. I tried going through all the activities, but there’s actually so much crammed on every page that I think it’s better as a coffee table magazine that your friends can doodle on or you can look at leisurely. Most jokes contained are political or poke fun at celebrities, popular music, or parody movies. If you actually do finish all the activities, you can go on their website for even more. –Tricia Ramos (Organ Grinder, organgrindermagazine.com)

MISHAP #37, $1 or trade, 5½”ish x 8½”ish, copied, A5, 24 pgs.

Ryan Mishap’s been doing this zine for years; thirty-seven issues is nothing to sneeze at. What we’ve got here is a collection of ruminations on: bird-watching, nature, masculinity, our nation’s descent into authoritarianism. It’s scattershot with images here and there, cleanly laid-out, and nicely written. While Ryan successfully eschews most of social media, I’m pretty enmeshed in it, and so it’s a little disorienting to read his takes on “old” events like Trump’s “fire and fury” comments, or last spring’s MAX killings here in Portland. Still, Ryan’s thoughtfulness and care shine through, and his commitment to zines and zine culture should be lauded. –Keith Rosson (Ryan, PO Box 5841, Eugene, OR 97405)

MINOR LEAGUES #4, 3 £, 6” x 8½”, copied, 80 pgs.

It’s not often a zine with liner notes comes across my desk, but the fourth issue of Minor Leagues spares no expense. This is a gorgeous issue, with photos, prose, and cartoons so wispy that they gesture rather than point, providing the barest skeleton onto which readers are welcome to graft their own experiences or emotions. Lots of narrative here, relating experiences of youth, but lots of impressions, too: really poetic in presentation even if there’s no poetry to be found therein. If you like, reread it with the aforementioned notes, which pinpoint the happenings and make for an entirely different second pass. A complete joy, and one I look forward to seeing more of. –Michael T. Fournier (smoo.bigcartel.com)

MINIMUM ROCK + ROLL #6, $2, 4¼” x 5½”, copied, 8 pgs.

Another issue from the best-named zine in DIY. (Apparently, it can also be abbreviated as mRR—I love it.) True to that name, this is a minimalist little tidbit of a zine, each word cleanly and painstakingly handwritten in felt tip pen. An interview with Jac Walsh of the band Dump Him takes up almost half the zine (which sounds like a lot, but it’s just three questions in as many pages). Jac shares some brief thoughts about the power of queer punk community and the allure of hardcore Blogspots. The remaining pages consist of quick record reviews that skew toward the fuzzier, ‘90s-influenced indie punk side of things. The reviews are weirdly compelling for blurbs averaging about three sentences; I’m sold on a couple of these bands just based on Josh’s enthusiasm. This whole thing is a five-minute read, just a pleasant blip in my day. What’s not to like? –Indiana Laub (Minimum Rock + Roll, 1963 SE 11th Ave., Olympia, WA 98501)

MAXIMUM ROCK’N’ROLL #415, $4.99, 8½” x 11”, newsprint, 103 pgs.

Maximum Rock’n’roll’s 415th(!) issue contains several articles, including an interview with No To Rape Culture PDX, a rad group in Portland that works in the punk and hardcore communities to demolish rape culture. There’s an interview with Stresshold, a band/project from Russia who firmly believes that “there is no place for homophobia, sexism, racism and

MATCHBOOK #4, $6, 1”x1”, 29 pgs.

The fourth in a series of zines housed inside a vintage matchbook. I’m going to get that out of the way because it’s the first thing you notice, but this collection has a lot more merit than a gimmick. The first thing to note is the quality of writing is excellent, though hampered a little bit by the format, as there are obvious accommodations to be made when accounting for the size. There are several submissions of poetry and flash prose offset with striking letterpress illustrations. The visual concept lends itself to the idea that depth can be found hiding in innocuous settings, that life is made up of secrets we keep, and the subject matter of the pieces play with that idea without getting boxed in by a central theme. There is an emphasis on colloquialism in several pieces—very personal language that’s held close to the heart—evidenced in Patton Halliday Quinn’s “Transient,” where he says, “I chomped on fish heads round a crawdad cooler…” It puts you in the narrator’s head—not their audience—and that is where most of these pieces succeed. The subject matter is personal, from lamenting dead friends to ignoring your own impending mental breakdown, to confronting the voice in your head that calls you a fraud; these are quick flashes of reality you leave hidden in plain sight. –Ian Wise (Small Fires Press, smallfirespress.com)