Featured Zine Reviews from Razorcake Issue 98: POPs, Cans on a Shelf, Fluke, Fuck Trump Club, One Singular Date

Razorcake Featured Zine Reviews Issue 98 by Becky Rodriquez

POPS (Parents on Parenting) #1, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 40 pgs.
Parenting ramps up the emotions and raises a lot of existential questions, but it’s also isolating in an odd way. You can’t discuss adult concerns with your toddler, and the other parents that you meet tend to feel more like coworkers than friends. So, I found this zine very refreshing. In POPs, different parents share personal essays about unique experiences: becoming a parent in the house where your father died, how an autistic child’s attachment to a pair of glasses can ease your self-image issues, and waiting for your stepkids to say, “You’re not my real father!” It’s very real, and very honest. I loved imagining each of these people taking a couple hours to write something after their kids went to bed. –Chris Terry (Jonas, PO Box 633, Chicago, IL 60690)

CABILDO QUARTERLY #17, $?, 5½” x 8½”, 14 pgs.
Cabildo Quarterly is a litmag with a zine aesthetic. I’m into that. Herein, Michael T. Fournier and Jeff Schroeck (of The Ergs!, yes) put out their short fiction. Fournier’s half is a selection from his upcoming novel, Inferno Jones, and though Schroeck doesn’t mention anything about a book of his own, “Out Where the River Broke” feels like part of something larger, too. In Fournier’s piece, “The First Four Years,” a young woman, Jeannie, opens a bar in an unnamed college town. Things are going well. She’s got the place sponsoring peewee baseball leagues, and the pub draws a crowd of friendly regulars. And that’s when the nasty rumors start going. We’ll need Inferno Jones to know what we’re missing. Jeff Schroeck’s “Out Where the River Broke” is set somewhere in blue collar America. But instead of a scrappy business owner, our hero is a recovering addict, Ray. Ray’s back in town after years away. To make a little cash he buys some teens a twelve pack. But instead of bonding over Metallica or all the things they could’ve done, they beat the dickens out of him. Officer Jim, a guy Ray knows from his childhood, finds Ray covered in blood in a public park. Now that’s what I’m talking about, drama! Both selections are engaging. I’d keep reading them if they were longer. So what’s to say? If you’re like me, you’re okay at reading popular “classic” American authors, but you’re not so hot at following independent publishers and less infamous writers. Both Fournier and Schroeck write compelling stuff, and the sense of punk awareness and interest in underdoggery that each writer brings to the page is an added bonus. Check it out. –Jim Joyce (michealtfournier@gmail.com, jeffreyschroeck@gmail.com)

CAN YOU DEAL?, $10, 2½”x 5½”, copied, 56 pgs.
This is a zine that was obviously a labor of love for zine creator Jennifer Clavin, who is also the singer/songwriter of the band Bleached. The band recently released an EP with the same title. Both the title song and the zine are an exploration and an exasperated expression of feelings about repeatedly being asked “What is it like being a girl in a band?” Further exploring the implications of this question—along with the emotional tug of war the question stirs up—this zine is a collection of articles, poetry, and art from women in music, answering this question. Or perhaps, answering the question about the question. Although there doesn’t seem to be an obvious answer, there are very clear similarities of the experiences of sexism in the music industry. With articles from Tegan Quin (Tegan and Sara) describing how it felt to be labeled as “Tampon Rock,” to Patty Schemel (Upset, Hole) speaking of playing drums until she bleeds, I felt inspired, connected, moved, and most of all, provoked and engaged intellectually. How complex the gender dynamics are within the music scene. Clavin describes the zine in its introduction; “It is for everyone feigning surprise every time a woman plugs in and plays well, gets behind the drums, or has the sickest bass style. It is 2017. Can you deal yet?” This zine is a beautiful and genuine collection of personal experiences that are not only touching, but very articulate and thoughtfully constructed. –Rosie Gonce (canyoudealzine.com, hellobleached.com)

CANS ON A SHELF: A PHOTOZINE & EULOGY, $7 ppd., 8½” x 5½”, color-copied cardstock, 30 pgs.
This is a full color photo zine this fellow Bryan put together of his friends. He shows a deep affection for his people and they seem comfortable posing for him on the fly in the woods or on trains. It would be so easy for this zine to be self-indulgent, grandstanding about how cute, freaky, or interesting his milieu is. But it’s all in the tone and this has a warm and human one. –Craven Rock (blackmold.storeenvy.com, brybry@riseup.com)

DEEP FRIED ZINE MPLS #11, $1, 5½” x 8½”, 24 pgs.
What we have here is a crispy, yumbo treat from the northern Midwest. The hungry people at Deep Fried Zine MPLS batter up another steamy batch of fast food news and rock and roll interviews. What’s in the happy meal? We got a story on a family that protested outside a Mickey D’s to get that McRib back. We got food-related interviews with groups like Fiji 13, Monica LaPlante, and Real Numbers. You want to know how many burgers Real Numbers ate on tour? We got that. How many hot slices? We got that as well. We got a lot more of those McRibby moments, too. The columnists contemplate the fake butter fad of the ‘90s, give a description of a flashlight that can withstand a deep fryer, and fondly recall the time KFC dressed up Colonel Sanders as a professional wrestler and had him dropkick a chicken. Okay, so this is a really silly zine. But it only costs a dollar. I dig it. And I’m not saying I’d eat the whole thing, but ah what the hell; if it’s Friday, then well yeah, I’d give it a lick.  –Jim Joyce (Deep Fried Zine MPLS, 2901 Yosemite Ave. South, St. Louis Park, MN 55416)

DONALD TRUMP (ALMOST) ATE MY BRAIN
, $4, 4¼” x 5½”, offset, 20 pgs.
I know, I know—all orange turd all the time can be too much. Razorcake writer/Boston resident Kurt Morris knows this, too. Kurt’s a writer concerned with mental health. This zine’s focus is on inclusivity, on reminding everyone in despair that there are others in the same very large boat. He emphasizes that it’s okay and natural to feel anguish in the wake of the election—and that it’s okay to talk about it, to practice self-care, to reach out. Kurt evokes community and kindness in the wake of disaster.  –Michael T. Fournier (Pioneers Press, 100 E. Kansas Ave. #248, Lansing, KS 66043)

EARTH FIRST! WINTER 2016/2017, $6.50, 8” x 10½”, 72 pgs.
Earth First! is a journal of ecological resistance. What was new this winter? Well, incarcerated presidential candidate Sean Swain used his column to concede Trump’s win. But not so fast—Swain concedes only on the basis that he “knew [Trump] would make an even worse president” than himself. Is this “the end of swivilization” as we know it? We await Swain’s thoughts this spring. Also included are unwincing looks at government abuse of activists at Standing Rock. And to even the scale, a pretty neat guide to sabotaging the type of heavy construction vehicles in that general vicinity. I bet everyone but me knows this, but sand in the gears is a big one. And bleach in the gas tank. Finally, we had the Oscars and the Grammys, now bring on the Wolves & Poodles awards. Earth First! gives Wolves to the brave and Poodles go to the bourgeoisie. Who won this issue? A Poodle went to Jill Stein for using Standing Rock as a photo-op, and Wolf went to the man who got schnookered, stole Walter Palmer’s boat (dentist who shot a lion while on vacation) and wrecked it. An enlightening and entertaining read, even if you’re not an anarchist. –Jim Joyce (Daily Planet Publishing, Earth First! Journal, PO Box 964, Lake Worth, FL 33460)

FLUKE #14, $5, 8½” x 11”, copied, 44 pgs.
The previous issue of Matthew Thompson’s zine—the twenty-fifth anniversary issue (!)—focused on his old hometown of Little Rock. So does this issue, but instead of telling stories from scene vets, Thompson shows us his history through assembling a collection of forty show flyers. This is a totally captivating approach, despite the fact that I only know a few of the local bands showcased here (Trusty, Chino Horde, Econochrist). Something resembling narrative forms as out-of-towners come through multiple times and locals move away.  Awesome! –Michael T. Fournier (PO Box 1547, Phoenix, AZ 85001)

FUCK TRUMP CLUB #1, $6 for six month subscription, 11” x 14”, copied, 2 pgs.
This is a monthly newsletter detailing things related to Donald Trump’s Presidency. I think it’s mainly meant to keep people’s spirits up and also to give information about Trump and his presidency. This issue gives some rules about dealing with a Trump presidency (courtesy of the ABQ Free Press Weekly) and gives a brief rundown of some of the members of Trump’s cabinet. It’s also a description of what to expect from the newsletter. It’s an interesting idea for an interesting time. The possibilities are as limitless as the range of Trump’s unfiltered ramblings. And nowadays I suppose we can use all the resistance we can get. –Kurt Morris (FTC, PO Box 30272, Albuquerque, NM 87190)

MARCO POEMS, $6, 5½” x 8½”, 24 pgs.
Marco Poems is a chapbook with eight pieces by Daniel Muro LaMere. All of the poems are about the life of Marco, a terminal punker from up north in Minneapolis. Marco’s life is more or less a mess, but as the speaker says in the opening poem, “Our Marco is romantic all the same,” just as we all must be when drinking cheap beer and taking public transit. LaMere’s poetry illuminates the pains of aging in a lifestyle that, while exciting and high voltage at seventeen can sometimes leave a person lost and hurting in adulthood. And so our hero Marco gets around with ups and downs. On the up, “he left town with money that he’d earned / from sugar beets and paintings that he’d sold.” But even getting away can come with a cost, and the story made from these poems does a cool job of articulating these dangers. Marco “knows so many kids who have hopped trains / but some, it must be said, are missing limbs.” Marco Poems made me wonder what kind of world it would be if punks put out poetry books, like if there were a rule: you do an album, then you do a book. This collection definitely has an album feel to it—some drama, some choruses, and just the right balance of punch and electricity to keep me in until the end. –Jim Joyce (danielmurolamere.com, danielmurolamere@gmail.com)

MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL #405, $4.99, 8½” x 11”, 119 pgs.
I am not a regular reader of Maximum Rocknroll but I love it whenever I come across an issue at an independent bookstore or in my review box from Razorcake HQ. I always appreciate the way that MRR covers completely different bands than our own beloved zine. It always reminds that the punk scene is alive and well, even if it often seems to be spread thin around the world, like a people group in diaspora. The black and white images of full basements and community centers hosting rowdy punk shows, the photos of musicians covered in beer and sweat, and the different styles and forms that underground music takes are all presented here in the Bay Area-based newsprint punk zine. Issue #405 is MRR’s “2016 Year-End Top Ten Lists” issue, and includes features on Glasgow’s Anxiety and Minneapolis’s Fucking. Be true to the ‘cake, but definitely give Maximum Rocknroll a read. There is ample room and plenty of need for us all. Up the punks! –Jon Mule (Maximum Rocknroll, PO Box 460760, SF, CA 94146)

ONE SINGULAR DATE, 4” x 5”, perfect bound, 46 pgs.
This is the story about a violent act that happened over a decade ago permanently changing a man’s life forever. The title refers to the night it happened and how nothing has been the same after it. Ryan Fletcher was jumped by twelve people who beat him and left him for dead. He still deals with constant pain and his “brain only works the way (he’d) like it to part of the time.” This zine is him attempting to speak about the incident, what happened surrounding it, and the fleeting support from his punk and activist communities to the severe PTSD he’d experienced out on the streets after dark. Over fifteen years ago, I survived a brutal attack by Nazi skinheads that left me not with constant pain, but permanent damage to my right eye. As I read, I nodded my head in sad empathy, understanding feelings of betrayal, paranoia, despair he describes. It’s not easy to talk about your trauma or to deal with it. This is a brave zine and a story that needs to be listened to. –Craven Rock (Secret sailor Press, secretsailorpress.com)

OUT WHERE THE RIVER BROKE / THE FIRST FOUR YEARS, $1, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 14 pgs.
Two for the price of one! This double-sided zine features a small bit of writings from two different authors. The first side, Out Where the River Broke, is a tale of a man coming back to his hometown only to be shunned and (literally) kicked around by the locals; their residual feelings towards him the remnants of his reputation and past. A bleak bit of writing from Jeff Schroeck (of The Ergs!). Flipping the zine over, we have a chapter from Michael T. Fournier’s forthcoming novel Inferno Jones. In the chapter, we meet a woman and follow her through opening her own restaurant, getting it to the point of security with a new business. When she finally hits that four-year mark and feels things are going good, then comes the twist. Right in the last sentence of the chapter. The First Four Years interested me right at the end of the sample, which I’m sure was intentional. I’ll have to check out his novel to find out what happens next. –Tricia Ramos (Out Where The River Broke, jeffreyschroeck@gmail.com / The First Four Years, michaeltfournier@gmail.com)

OUT WHERE THE RIVER BROKE / THE FIRST FOUR YEARS, $1, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 14 pgs.
This zine is comprised of two stories: one from Jeff Schroeck and one from Razorcake’s own Michael T. Fournier. Schroeck’s tale is about a man who returns to a town in which he’s not welcome, while Fournier’s is an excerpt from his forthcoming book, Inferno Jones. In Fournier’s case, the tale tells of a young woman starting a restaurant and the work she puts into it. I’ve heard it said by small-business experts that many small businesses die in the first five years, so it’s interesting that Fournier explores the success of the woman’s restaurant before hinting at the end of the excerpt that trouble is brewing. Schroeck’s story is sad and he does a splendid job at building sympathy for Ray, the main character. I certainly would like to know more of Ray’s story, both what happened before this short piece begins and what happens to him afterward. These are two strong, short stories that drew me in and made me want to read more. I can’t ask for more than that. And for a buck, I recommend ordering it. –Kurt Morris (michaeltfournier@gmail.com)

PARANOIZE #42, Free, 5½” x 8½”, 16 pgs.
Bobby Bergeron’s Paranoize shares a brief New Orleans’ scene report. Included are interviews with AR-15, Space Cadaver, Ekumen, and a few other swamp rockers. We also get the lowdown on good record stores—may I recommend Sisters of Christ?—and venues. Most of the zine covers thrash, metal, sludge, and hardcore. Seeing as this is gator country, I guess leaning toward harder stuff makes more sense. Ska and pop punk is too hot blooded. Anyhow, if that’s your thing, and you know you’re going to be in NOLA, I’d recommend emailing Bergeron for the lowdown and the latest issue of Paranoize. Before closing, I’d like to bump a band I learned of in the scene report, if only for their name: The Tomb Of Nick Cage. The group’s songs are more or less synopses of horror movies. Long live Paranoize, herald of grime; long live Nicholas Cage, Pharaoh of New Orleans. –Jim Joyce (Paranoize, PO Box 2334, Marrero, LA 70073-2334, bobby@paranoizenola.com)

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