Featured zine reviews from Razorcake issue 103: Post-Depression Blues, Celibate Slut, Cul-De-Sac, Matchbook, Minor Leagues, Organ Grinder

Featured zine reviews from Razorcake issue 103

Featured zine reviews from Razorcake issue 103: Post-Depression Blues, Celibate Slut, Cul-De-Sac, Matchbook, Minor Leagues, Organ Grinder

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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)

CELIBATE SLUT VOL. 2, $3, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 20 pgs.
Sometimes the motions of grief and pain are hard to swallow, and when we release them, they turn to poetry and art. Celibate Slut, part two, reminds me of how someone who shares their most intimate stories publicly can help someone else find solace, or help with the feeling of loneliness. I may not know exactly what Sabrina is personally going through in her grief at the death of her best friend at a young age, but it affected me while reading her words and I may have ruined some pages with some tears while reading it. If you can be affected in such a way by other’s emotions printed to paper, then it is important. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Sabrina Dropkick, IG: @sabrinadropkick)

CUL-DE-SAC #7, $3, 8½”x 11”, copied, 44 pgs.
This zine is the result of the collective efforts of Liz Mason and Julie Halpern, lifelong friends who released the last issue in… the late ‘90s?? Yes, Cul-de-sac apparently began as an outlet for two teen or twenty-something punk kids’ pop culture obsessions, including, as we are reminded more than once throughout this new issue, Grease 2. It has endured the ravages of the decades and been resurrected to become—well, pretty much the same thing, but now for two punk adults in their forties. This first issue of the twenty-first century is designated “The Adult Geek Issue” and features articles like “Product Review: My Signed David Tennant Postcard” and a two-part essay called “My Dungeons and Dragons Group Broke Up.” Not to say that this is just a wacky zine about nerd culture. Both Mason and Halpern are adept at balancing sarcastic and self-aware humor with real, raw-nerved openness, and the odes to Carrie Fisher and Ancient Aliens take their places alongside essays about personal tragedy and the angst of feeling like an outsider within outsider subcultures. This is a strong comeback decades in the making, and I would absolutely want to hang out with both of these people. –Indiana Laub (Cul-de-sac, PO Box 477553, Chicago, IL 60647)

I EAT YOUR ASS, $3, 5½” x 8½”, 16 pgs.
Artist Veek’s zine is a mix of Kardashian-influenced societal ass fixation, meets going to the club, meets aliens. The title of the zine makes you think what you get is what you see—and you do—but with a twist. A little bit of seduction, a whole lot of alien abduction. This zine had me laughing so much, because the language and imagery are so good. I describe the artistry as that of a K-8 school D.A.R.E. calendar contest winner, which is a compliment. My friends told me this was a vague reference, and they think only my school district did this, but if you saw the images you would get it, and it rules. The characters have enlarged eyes and other features, and it looks to be drawn in a mix of different markers and colored pencil, which really enhances the storyline. –Cynthia Pinedo (Veek, etsy.com/shop/TheVeekBoutique, @veek1313)

LIST FOR LIFE #2, $2, 4” x 6”, copied, 16 pgs.
I remember picking this zine up when I went to my first zine fest. I flipped through it, read some of the numerous lists inside, and I was immediately flushed with a feeling that is kind of like joy, but much brighter, like my heart grew a couple of sizes that day. There are few zines like this which personally make someone happy in a way that no other zine can, and may mean nothing of this sort to others. What brings such joy from this zine is the positivity and optimism that exudes from this zine. List by list, you get a sense of who this zinester is. You sometimes feel like these lists, which range from silly, to cute, to serious, are really just like the essays you’d read in other zines. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Grace B., IG: @sundayschoolkid)

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)

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 other kinds of discrimination,” and makes sure to announce it to their audience before each of their shows, which I think is really cool. Stresshold is a band that doesn’t have any social media accounts aside from their Bandcamp, and sounds like if G.L.O.S.S. after a day at the beach, so y’all should check them out. The cover story is an interview with Cat Brooks, a co-founder of the Anti-Police Terror Project, a group who works to end violence and state-sanctioned murder against black, brown, and poor people, and to create a sustainable support system community for them. Another one of my favorite things about this issue was the horoscopes by Crystal Mistress. Crystal Mistress calls out every sign in their horoscope, except for Scorpio. I’m pretty sure this person is a Scorpio, because of how much they applaud them, and also because of the snark dished out to everyone else. I thought it was interesting that demos and records are separate, but it does make it easier to look up reviews if you are looking for a certain one. –Cynthia Pinedo (Maximum Rock’n’roll, PO Box 460760, SF, CA, 94146, maximumrocknroll.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)

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)

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)

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)

SHADOW PEOPLE, THE, $10, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 16 pgs.
Augmented reality is not often used, but is super dope, and using it for a zine is quite unique. This cute comic makes something that could be turned into a horror short into something adorable. It’s the story of shadows that follow you everywhere, but with a sweet twist. Using your phone, you can make the pages come alive as the shadow people only appear when you use it, and the comic may be a little confusing without it. I wish there were more comics that used augmented reality, since this was such a fun read, and seeing those shadows pop out of the page was immensely entertaining. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Nathaniel Osollo, eyedraugh.com)

TARANTULA VANIA, $?, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 30 pgs.
Super juvenile and trite, and for these reasons I both think it’s charming and hideously droll, Tarantula Vania is a tale of classic Dracula with a heavy dose of ‘80s kitsch horror. Crude in storyline, dialogue, as well as crayola and magic marker drawings, it unfolds in a relatively obvious way. It’s charming and endearing, like reading an emo teen goth’s angst-ridden notebook. –Camylle Reynolds (IG:@veek1313, FB: @veek1313, Twitter: @fight_that)

THIS GOTH BITCH #2, $4, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 20 pgs.
This Goth Bitch knows what’s up in the world of goth, and these handy zines will help you be the best one you can be. This Goth Bitch is reminiscent of old gossip magazines you used to get as a teen at 7-Eleven or Circle K, whichever you lived next to. Chock full of great illustrations, hair guides, obscure goth music recommendations, anime, and horror-scopes, this zine is a great fun read for any goth, or goth fan. Highly recommended, especially for those sexy horror centerfolds. This issue is Jason Vorhees in all his buff glory. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Michael Vincent Garcia, etsy.com/shop/michaelvincentgarcia)

WORM THAT ATE COSTA MESA, THE, free, copied, 5½” x 8½”, 49 pgs.
A goofy, handwritten short story about an occurrence, a happenstance, if you will, where a lowly earthworm struggling for life on the sidewalk gets drenched with a drunk punk’s malt liquor piss and then dusted with PCP a cop skimmed from a bust. For those who don’t know, this chemical combination makes harmless worms sprout eyes all over their bodies and grow into Godzilla-sized monsters. This one takes out Costa Mesa. On the envelope this came in, I got a collage and a bit of creative writing on love, showing talent for a little more than genre fiction. Sean is a prisoner, so support him and get his zine. It’s listed as free, but send a letter, some stamps, or your own zine to this imaginative, creative soul. –Craven Rock (Mr. Sean Dunne, AN4246 4-130, PO Box 901, Avenal, CA 93204)

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