Tag Archives: subTERRAIN

Featured Zine Reviews Razorcake 110—Koreangry, 13 Poems, Behind the Zines, Gooberbutt?!, Minor Leagues

Illustration by Becky R Minjarez

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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)
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13 POEMS, $5, 5 ½” x 8½”, copied
Taking a nod from Fugazi’s 13 Songs, 13 Poems is a subdued red statement on Rhine’s subversive and sweet America that weaves its way through regret-tinged Applebee’s karaoke bars and punk basements, Indiana Jones fantasy-scapes, rhythmic invocations, and meditations on skateboarding. I actually love this zine; it’s one of my favorite poetry zines I’ve read in a while, maybe because I’m a weird sad nerd drummer poet too. Maybe because it’s speaking directly about Rhine’s experiences as a New Jersey punk, and the sadness and out of step-ness and hope and dirty carpet and critical nostalgia that binds that experience together. It’s hard to not feel connected when someone is sharing so much in ways that feel familiar and honest. Fast read. Bound beautifully. 10/10 for me. –Candace Hansen (JR Rhine, jrrhinepoetry.bigcartel.com)

BEHIND THE ZINES #7, $3, 5½”x 8½”, copied, 38 pgs.
The always-engaging Billy who writes Proof I Exist, and Last Night at the Casino, and other titles has put together this zine about zines. The first piece is by Billy. It’s about zines and anti-capitalism and how he refuses to let go of the old school punk ethic of making zines and being a bit alienated from new school zinesters who now boast of how much they can sell a zine for rather than how many copies they were able to scam. He also shouts out Razorcake in that piece. Thanks, Billy. We do our part! There are articles about creating a graph to keep track of where your zines go, a story from a reluctant zinester who overcame their perfectionist tendencies to embrace zine culture, reviews of zine events, a zinester interview, and some reviews. As I write this, I’m sitting on the Amtrak, drinking alone, sad for a time when people would hang out in the lounge car drinking together instead of staying in their seats looking at their phones. I recall a time when I handed zines out to people I met. A few of them wrote me emails telling me how important my words were and I’ll never forget that. Don’t let human connection die. Quit looking at your damned phone and call somebody on it. Talk to strangers. Read zines. Sit down and order a fucking zine.  –Craven Rock (Billy, PO Box 22551, Baltimore, MD 21203, Iknowbilly@gmail.com)

BLEACHED POLAROID PROJECT, $?, 5¼” x 4”, Laserjet, 20 pgs.
This collection of bleached Polaroids is quite beautiful. Whether or not there is a story to these is up to debate. Since these are all assumed to be images from the lives of the photographers, it gives itself some meaning as snapshots from small moments they’ve lived. Bleaching the Polaroids creates this color distortion that’s interesting. The color saturation is boosted to a maximum, and most of the time creates a pastel look to them. Damn, the colors really bring my eye holes a great joy. It makes me wish I could frame these and put them on my walls, so I can look at them and vomit rainbows out of my eyes. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Desilu Muñoz and Stephanie Segura, lachambapress.tumblr.com)

CREATING SAFER SPACES FOR THOSE WITH DISABILITIES, $3, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 8 pgs.
A great beginner’s guide for those who wish to be respectful to those with disabilities, because, honestly, you were probably an asshole about it. This zine by Rep Tilian is great, as it’s very blunt, which is a tone that’s needed since lots of people are so condescending in how they act with disabled folx and don’t realize it. It’s like a wake-up call, and slam!—something to open up your eyes. Pick this up if you want to know if maybe you are being a douche without knowing it, and you can try to be a better person. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Rep Tilian, no address listed.)

DEEP FRIED, $1, 8½” x 11”, copied, 28 pgs.
When I imagine the pure, Platonic ideal of a digest-sized fanzine whose raison d’etre revolves around the mirth and woe of fast food, what I imagine is something fairly crappy looking, with hand-scrawled headlines, large, uninterrupted blocks of small text, and an occasional accompanying image of a BK Broiler® cut out of an advertising mailer. Startlingly, Deep Fried is actually pretty well-written, with reasonably slick graphics, proving once and for all that “value menu” and “quality” need not be mutually exclusive. Brief, fast-paced interviews (generally revolving around fast food, natch) include Mannequin Pussy and Joe Pickett of the Found Footage Film Festival; other tastefully McNugget®-sized articles include an explanation on how one used to be able to wax a ledge for skateboarding purposes with a Wendy’s soda cup, and the origin of Jell-O® Instant Pudding™. As the Descendents once said, “eating is believing.” –Rev. Nørb (2901 Yosemite Ave. S., St. Louis Park, MN 55416, videophobia222@hotmail.com)

DON’T BE A DRAG, $?, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 16 pgs.
Hell yeah! You gotta love some dope-ass queer weirdo art. This collection of some work by Anthony Hurd is a good, compact collection of aggressive, trashy artwork which combines political and sexual themes into a great gravy mash. There is great detail in each drawing from scales to skin, and its crass look is very appealing. There’s even a very unnerving drawing of human teeth with its own pair of teeth. Anything that terrifies me or makes me uneasy is a winner. It’s in-your-face and awesome. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Anthony Hurd, instagram.com/anthony.hurd)

EARTH FIRST!: THE JOURNAL OF ECOLOGICAL RESISTANCE
Winter 2018, $6.50, offset, 8” x 10½”, 56 pgs.
If I’m being honest, I’ve always had a disconnect with environmental issues. This longstanding journal from one of the world’s most prominent radical environmental groups does a solid job of tying ecological matters to radical politics generally, piquing my interest. Questions addressed in this issue include how environmental issues affect refugees and how art is intrinsically related to environment. Nicely laid out, well-written, and thought-provoking, the Earth First! publication has the potential to exact change beyond simply preaching to the choir. –Art Ettinger (Daily Planet Publishing, PO Box 1112, Grants Pass, OR 97528)

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)

MAXIMUMROCKNROLL #430, $4.99, 8½” x 11”, newsprint, 96 pgs.
Sigh. By the time you read this, Maximum has come to an end. You know how it works: columns, reviews, interviews. Really wild to recently come back to this one after years away and see a loosening of the arch-ideologies that scared me away for a while: new diversity of coverage. There was no way, during the Tim nineties, a more freeform/organic band like Come Holy Spirit would have gotten coverage. I’m sad to see it go. –Michael T. Fournier (PO Box 460760, SF, CA 94146)

MINOR LEAGUES #7, £6, 9” x 8”, printed, 114 pgs.
On the English side of the Welsh border sits a county called Shropshire. Minor Leagues is a personal work of a father’s cancer diagnosis, living in Shropshire, and the memories of living in a small village. It is beautifully written with anecdotes, drawings, and a little bit of history of the area thrown in. This thick zine is a touching, running memoir-of-sorts from one person working through their grief of their father’s death twenty years later. –Tricia Ramos (Minor leagues, smoo.bigcartel.com)

MINOR LEAGUES #7, $7?, 9” x 10”, copied, 114 pgs.
This is a continuation of the long form “Where?” which began in issue #6. In this installment, Simon continues to solidify the link between geography and family, linking his dad’s untimely demise to the Shropshire region of England. A mix of prose and drawn art throughout—it doesn’t feel quite right to say this is a comic; if anything, it’s a graphic novel. I feel redundant when I review Simon’s stuff here because it’s hard to come up with new ways to explain how consistently thoughtful and dazzling each new issue is. Seriously, if you’re not checking this one out yet, you need to be. –Michael T. Fournier (smoo.bigcartel.net)

PUNKS AROUND VOL. 3: THE STORY OF MINOT NORTH DAKOTA PUNK 1989-2000, $3, 5 ½” x 8 ½”, printed, 31 pgs.
Minot, N.D. is a small, remote Midwestern city most well known for its Air Force base. This is the first of a two-part history of the development of their punk scene. Fueled by isolation, a small group of creatives banded together to create a community focused on fostering happiness rather than fashion, lifestyle politics, and virtue signaling; all of which are far too prevalent in the scenes of any major city. “When you’re isolated, you turn inward—a perfect catalyst for the creative side of people.” Chronicling the struggles of maintaining a DIY venue space and combating alcoholism, this history details how the punks of Minot, N.D. built a largely straight edge, progressive community centered around acceptance and friendliness. –Lorien Lamarr (Microcosm Publishing, microcosm.pub)

SLINGSHOT #128, free, 11” x 14”, newsprint, 20 pgs.
There’s some comfort in checking out the new issue of this long-running anarchist paper at the same time that Maximum is going under—these cats have been at it for years, and are still going strong. Tons of well-written articles throughout: resisting climate change, Brazil’s recent swing to the right, white fragility, and— just in time for gardening season—composting and human poop. –Michael T. Fournier (PO Box 3051, Berkeley, CA 94703)

subTERRAIN #81, $7, 10” x 12”, printed, 80 pgs.
subTerrain is Canada’s premiere literary magazine, featuring the best in “outlaw literature.” This issue features Lush Triumphant Literary Award winners in poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction, as well as work from a few contest winners from the Vancouver International Writers Festival. The featured pieces in this issue all evoke emotions of struggle and burnout, of bleak childhood memories, and dystopian landscapes. subTerrain is always a treat to read, even if it is a bit of an emotional drain after you’re all done. –Tricia Ramos (subTerrain, PO Box 3008 Main Post Office, Vancouver, BC, V6B 3X5, Canada)

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These reviews and many, many more are printed in a handy-dandy zine that you can subscribe to at a reasonable price, delivered to your door. Click the link below.

Featured Zines Reviews Razorcake 108, Enough Is Enough, Proof I Exist, Slut City Journal, Syndicate Product

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Featured Zines Reviews Razorcake 108, Enough Is Enough, Proof I Exist, Slut City Journal, Syndicate Product

Illustration by Abdul Vas

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: A 150 YEAR PERFORMANCE REVIEW OF THE
MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT, free PDF, 8½” x 11”, glossy, copied, 36 pgs.
Enough Is Enough, before even being opened, is super aesthetically pleasing, well laid-out, and intriguing. Once opened, it’s a little intimidating. These people have done their research and it shows. That’s important, though, because the amount of opposition you face when you attack the police, even from an intellectual standpoint, is stunning. Getting into the actual content, though, Enough Is Enough is the exact right combination of statistic, history, and narrative required to make a compelling argument against something so ingrained in our culture. It’s split into three sections: Where We’ve Been, Where We’re At, and Where We’re Going. This zine is specific to the Minneapolis Police Department, but does briefly go into the history of policing as a whole before detailing the specificities of MPD’s long and fucked-up narrative. Where We’re At exposes the current state of the MPD through the lens of both those who work in direct contact with them and those most disadvantaged by them on the daily. The portrait is grim but it reflects a reality many people with privilege can’t see. Where We’re Going is the most hopeful of the writing—not that we should try to make this situation light—and provides concrete, realistic steps to a community and world without police, and for that, I love it. –Jimmy Cooper (mpd150.com)

BEETROOT
, $5, 5¾” x 8”, risograph printed, 40 pgs.
In vibrant pink and forest green, this risograph printed beetroot cooking zine really is beautifully designed and informative! Including recipes on cooking beetroot in a slaw, borscht, curry, or making them as pierogies, the recipes sound hearty and filling (an especially good thing now that the weather is colder). There are instructions on how to preserve and pickle beets, and a nice afterword explaining how cooking has helped the author through bouts of depression. Further reading of healthy cookbooks is included in the back. –Tricia Ramos (Beetroot, etsy.com/uk/shop/tfhtfh)

GOTH GANG: A MEMOIR #1, $3, 4” x 2½”, Laserjet, 20 pgs.
Nostalgia is the driving force behind this mini-zine. Whether you lived goth in the ’80s, or are a current goth kind of missing your other goth friends in your empty, empty room, this brings that great feeling of adolescent camaraderie right to your palms. This first issue’s all about discovering other goths and that scary moment when you go to that Hot Topic (circa ’90s) getting your first black T-shirt. Check it out. It leaves you wanting more and there are at least two more issues I know of. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Anonymous, bought at Book Show)

MY DUMB KIDS, $3, 3¾” x 9½”, Risograph, 14 pgs.
Picked this zine up at a sketchy-looking comic shop where my sketchy-looking witchcraft store used to be. It immediately caught my attention with its bright cover and hilarious title. I bought it, got my ass outta there, and read this hilarious comic zine on some dumb kids. It uses a style of art that mimics a coloring book crayoned in by a talented child. Not a dumb one. It follows the narrative of a man who says his kids are dumb, and his smiling contempt of the children is something that I can really get behind. Kids are dumb. Pick this up! –Iggy Nicklbottum (Sam Spina, spinadoodles.com)

PROOF I EXIST #29, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 20 pgs.
This issue of Proof I Exist zine is about obsession with hockey. He describes his initial struggle with it, not wanting to get down with hyper-masculine jock shit and making his peace with this. He also analyzes hockey from a queer standpoint, reviews a hockey book found in an old couch, and more. The best part by far was about his teenage love of playing the game with his friends. First, they’re content simply playing with inline skates and two trash cans to mark a goal, then someone suggests they compete in a state competition. Taking up the challenge they get in way over their heads playing high school teams that are far more skilled. The fallout is hilarious and kind of sweet. While it certainly didn’t inspire me to reconsider hockey, people writing about stuff they like with joy and passion is always fun to read. –Craven Rock (iknowbilly@gmail.com)

ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HORROR ZINE, THE #2
, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 40pgs.
This collection of horror fiction is the opposite of a band like, say, The Misfits. It’s horror about rock rather than rock about horror. It’s a fun, trashy read that can be on the predictable side. For example, take the story about an ancient guitar chord unleashing a Lovecraftian hell upon the world, or the one about a death metal band calling up a Lovecraftian hell upon the world, or zombie punk bands, all of which are fine for a bus ride. However, at times it gets pretty creative, take “End Times at Rock ‘n’ Roll Joey’s,” a story about a rockabilly diner serving the haggard survivors and mutants of an apocalyptic world. Most of the material is pretty light, horror fare (not Groovy Ghoulies light, but there’s nothing you’ll have to leaves lights on after reading), however, I have to admit Ben Fitts’ “Reality,” with its cyberpunk take on murderous death metal, will get under your skin if you let it. –Craven Rock (doomgoat666@gmail.com, doomgoat666.wixsite.com/benfitts)

RUM LAD #12, £3, 6” x 8”, printed, 26 pgs.
This is a zine of dedication and remembering of one zinester’s grandparents. In this issue of Rum Lad, we learn about the author’s grandparents, one of who died in 2013, and the other in 2017. Short but sweet, the zine has quick memories of events or personality quirks of these loved ones, including the grandfather’s Navy tattoos, the grandmother’s slow, but fun old moped, and both elder’s deaths. Definitely a perzine that got me feeling emotional about my own family. –Tricia Ramos (Rum Lad, etsy.com/uk/shop/rumladzinesandart)

SLUT CITY JOURNAL #2, $2 ppd. or trade, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 100 pgs.
One hundred pages of DIY from a collective in Salt Lake City, Utah. Utilizing every page, there are tutorials on pirate radio, how to broadcast your own television station, recipes for affordable meals, how to start a distro, how to make milk paste (not wheat paste), guides to utilizing thrift stores to their ultimate potential, how to become a show promoter… honestly the list goes on and on. A super useful guide for any individual interested in removing themselves from consumerism and becoming a more self-reliant human. –Tricia Ramos (Slut City Journal, SCJ c/o 900 South #326, Salt Lake City, UT 84111)

subTERRAIN #80, $7, 10” x 12”, printed. 96 pgs.
Keeping anything happening for thirty years is impressive. subTerrain—a Canadian indie lit mag—manages the feat, doubly impressive due to its dedication to publishing unheard voices. Like the many issues I’ve reviewed in the past, this issue is themed: it harkens back to the mag’s original mission statement of publishing from the margins. Throughout this anniversary issue is fantastic fiction and poetry: this issue’s standouts include abecedarian poetry by Evelyn Lau and lake monster fiction by Anne Baldo. At twenty-five bucks for a two-year, six-issue subscription, subTerrain is a steal. Always a great read, always a joy to find in the mailbox. Get it! –Michael T. Fournier (PO Box 3008 Main Post Office, Vancouver BC V6B 3X5 Canada)

SYNDICATE PRODUCT #24, $3, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 24 pgs.
If you’ve ever read a book that was so awful you couldn’t help but tell your friends all about it, then this zine will be right up your alley. This multi-contributor zine features negative reviews, or “cultural criticism” of books that disappointed or infuriated their readers. Honestly it was a delight. Reading reviews that are so brutally honest about popular publications brought me a lot of joy. The really appealing part is that all of the reviews explain in detail just what was so upsetting or angering in the books. From their topics, to the pacing of the writing, there’s something for everyone to hate on! Highly recommended if you’re an avid reader or enjoy the negative reviews from Goodreads. –Tricia Ramos (Syndicate Product, c/o Michel PO Box 877, Lansdowne, PA 19050, synprod.etsy.com)

WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE #2, $7, 5” x 7”, Laserjet, 36 pgs.
A really amazing guide to the women of folk music. The very first page is a profile of Vashti Bunyan with an amazing illustration of her. This is an extremely helpful and well made guide for anyone who wants to get into folk and needs a place to start. Bijou Karman’s illustrations are beautiful, and the handwriting and design go so well together. It’s one of those zines you can put on your “coffee table” to show off to your friends, and everyone will want to pick it up immediately. Singers include Odetta, Judee Sill, Nico, Karen Dalton, and so many more! Yes, also Joan Baez. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Bijou Karman, bijoukarman.com)

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Featured Zine Reviews from Razorcake 106: Shoes Fanzine

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Featured Zine Reviews from Razorcake 106: Shoes Fanzine, Fixer Eraser, Fluke, Possums Don’t Get Rabies, Proof I Exist, Queerfuck, Slingshot


SHOES FANZINE #8
: INTERVIEWS OLD & NEW, $3, free to prisoners, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 71 pgs.
Vancouver punk, Nate—whom you might know from great bands like Siren Songs, Poor Form, and Unfun—dropped this zine full of interviews and you’re really going to want to get it. Each interview is with people who are friends with Nate, so the tone is relaxed and casual. This also gives him the advantage of knowing what’s interesting about his subjects and drawing that out. With Karmin, he has her talk about sailing the Pacific Ocean, a quixotic seven month, 8,600 mile trip she took with her father. They barely escaped with their lives during a lightning storm. For the thrills, this harrowing tale was by far my favorite interview. Nate’s childhood buddy, Will, talks about organizing Anti-Racist Action in Sarnia, Ontario in the nineties. He talks to Matt Hern, author of What Is a City for: Remaking the Politics of Displacement and other titles about gentrification and rises above the same tired conversation that’s usually had about it. Shellshag talk about their history in the San Francisco punk scene, 50 Million, Hickey and more. And with Cometbus, he recycles questions he asked him from an interview in 1999, then he prints his current answer and the one from way back then. –Craven Rock (Nate/Shoes Fanzine, PO Box 88023, Chinatown, Vancouver, BC V6A 4A4, shoesfanzine@hotmail.com)

ADRIFT
, 5½” x 8½”, copied, full color cover, 16 pgs.
Earth is uninhabitable or else destroyed completely; it’s not totally clear in Adrift. A survivor, perhaps the only one, floats through space in a capsule and this collection of poetry is of her isolation. She reflects on her time on earth and her current state of loneliness and exile. Patti Jean Pangborn has the nuance and quiet dignity to bring you into the mind of this sequestered, reluctant astronaut. With a lesser writer this would come across as trite or forced, but Pangborn pulls it off to create an introspective and inward study of the human condition. –Craven Rock (spacecowboybooks.com)

BIG TAKEOVER, THE, #82, $5.99, 8½” x 11”, printed, 144 pgs.
You must know the Big Takeover, right? Since 1980, editor Jack Rabid has lived up to his name, obsessively interviewing and reviewing bands from the punk and indie scenes. This time around, bands like Yo La Tengo, No Age, and X (wuddup, Berlyant!) are interviewed. Tons of reviews, too. Each new issue reminds me of the days when Big Takeover was one of a dozen zines I’d pick up on a trip to Newbury Comics. Now, that number has dwindled drastically because there aren’t as many stores, or zines—but the Big Takeover survives. At six bucks for 144 pages, it’s a steal, whether you’re a longtimer or first timer. Worth seeking out. –Michael T. Fournier (shop.bigtakeover.com)

CIAO CIAO PAGES #1, free, 4¼” x 5½”, copied, 16 pgs.
The Giallo subgenre, the love child of horror and mystery, is only really known by hardcore horror fans. Ciao Ciao focuses on this genre as an extension of their podcast. Its first issue deals with one famous actress in the genre, Edwige Fenech, who became an Italian sex symbol. This zine is, in essence, a fanzine/review zine, but it’s a great primer to those who want to learn more about one of the genre’s best and sexiest actors. It gives you the seven best films to start with, to get yourself into the Fenech bandwagon. The tone of the zine is very much in the eyes of a huge fanboy whose infatuation with Edwige Fenech is really endearing, happy, and wide-eyed. It’s gotten me interested in some of these gory sex romps, and I’m taking this list with me to find these films. The scale in which the movies are rated is pretty great, too, taking into account how good the film is and how fashionable Edwige Fenech is. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Creep, giallociaociao.com)

DEAD IN HOLLYWOOD #3, $3, 5” x 5½”, LaserJet, 24 pgs.
The Menendez Brothers are the subject of this extremely well-made and thick zine. Inside is what looks like a website made in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, with information about the case in great, but brief, detail. The design is amazing, and at times funny. One section plasters “Power Bottom” on the face of Jose Menendez, and there’s a section that creates a poster of the Menendez Brothers calling them “Scum Fuck Flower Boys.” I love some humor in the face of gory death. If you’re a lazy ass true crime fan, this may be a series you’d love to read. It has great detailed information (with sources!) in just twenty-four pages. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Castroburger, deadinhollywood.com)

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DEEP FRIED ZINE MPLS
#14, $1, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 20 pgs.
“The Mall Issue” indeed—Deep Fried #14 boasts blurbs and features on such pillars of mall culture as boycottable fast food chains, mall cops, mall punk hairstyles, and Kevin Smith’s Mallrats. There are cheeky reviews of various Minnesota malls and an activity page with a maze that leads to Hot Topic. Seamlessly interwoven with the general mall content are brief mall-centric interviews with the bands Dreamdecay, Mommy Long Legs, Wimps, and Sass. In keeping with Deep Fried’s greasy fast food theme, Sass is asked to rank the staples of the food court (Orange Julius comes out on top). Perfectly irreverent reading material for when you’ve got nothing to do but ride the escalators up and down all afternoon. –Indiana Laub (No address listed)

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FIXER ERASER #5,
$3, 5 ½” x 8½”, copied, 22 pgs.
­Jonas’s latest issue of Fixer Eraser comes just a few months after his last. It’s got the same general layout—black pages (oh the toner!) with blocks of white filled with black typewriter print. What it lacks in design it makes up for in fictional tales of messages in a bottle, echo chambers, friendship speed dating, and ghosts in hospitals. Jonas’s writing is exploratory of a great range of emotions, primarily on loss and reflection. While the tales are fictional, there’s a large amount of personal experience included (I know this from having interviewed Jonas about mental health). Some of these pieces could easily be developed into longer stories and with that is my only complaint: I wish the zine had been a bit longer. As it stands, they’re brief glimpses of things that need more detail and description, but they’re a good start and certainly worth reading. –Kurt Morris (Jonas, PO Box 633, Chicago, IL 60690)

FLUKE #4, $6, 5½” x 8½”, offset, 52 pgs.
Fluke is one of those zines that I wish was a hundred pages or more each issue. It really is one of the best out there. This issue is the “Lust for Life” issue, which as stated on the last page, is “about getting older yet still following one’s passion.” This issue has excellent interviews with Ian MacKaye, Gary Floyd, Mike Watt, and photographer Adam Smith, who has gone as far as living in his car to follow his passion through and get the photos. There’s also a story from Linda Kite about her time with D. Boon, Steve Hart of New Wave Chicken zine has a story about Tex the Magical Rooster, and more. Buy this for yourself and see. –Matt Average (PO Box 1547, Phoenix, AZ 85001)

LAST NIGHT AT THE CASINO #13, $3, 4½” x 5½”, copied, 39 pgs.
I don’t know why it’s taken me until issue thirteen to read Last Night at the Casino for the first time. I’m kind of bummed I haven’t because this is great. As Billy (who also does the long-running zine, Proof I Exist) points out, the reason people like this zine is because it serves as a doorway between the capitalist world of gambling (where Billy has worked for years) and the anti-capitalist world of punk rock. A big change has occurred with this issue, though. Billy quit his job working as a dealer at a casino in New Mexico and moved to Baltimore. However, he can’t stay away from the gambling bug and decides to start dealing at private parties (think fundraisers or holiday parties where no one uses real money but instead does it for fun and/or prizes). This issue is all about his experiences with those parties. And it is fascinating! The events are so varied he finds himself at a charity event attended by professional football players and then at an elegant booster club fundraiser for black college fraternities. The writing follows a step-by-step account of the various gigs Billy has, and thus isn’t very imaginative or exploratory, but it provides great insight into a world of which I know very little. If you have even the faintest interest in casino culture and a sense of curiosity, this zine is for you! –Kurt Morris (Billy, PO Box 22551, Baltimore, MD 21203, iknowbilly@gmail.com)

POSSUMS DON’T GET RABIES, $?, 4¼” x 5½”, copied, 84 pgs.
Technically a novella but produced and printed as a zine, Possums Don’t Get Rabies follows a pair of unlikely companions—a demon named Iodine, and their familiar/love/lover, an opossum named Chernobyl. Desolate and heart-wrenching but beautiful, Possums Don’t Get Rabies works as an allegorical tale of coming-of-age and love, in sickness and in health. Would you die for the people you love most? What would you do to keep them alive? Simple in formatting and copy, this story sticks with you. Ripe with quirky metaphor, fascinated with birth, death, and all the human (or, in this case, demon and possum) parts in-between, this is worth the read for anyone who loves an eccentric, gritty, and meaningful journey through the city and life. Also, the author, Arthur Sprague at Blue Snake Zines, is super sweet and will probably send you homemade lick and stick stickers or other fun stuff with your order. –Jimmy Cooper (bluesnakezines.tumblr.com)

PROOF I EXIST #28,
$2, 4½” x 5½”, copied, 35 pgs.
I’ve read Proof I Exist on and off for well over ten years. I’ve always enjoyed Billy’s writing, but this issue is by far the best he’s ever done. On a superficial level, the paper stock and typewriter he used are beautiful. The paper is off-white and the type is kind of black but also kind of blue. Whatever it is, it makes the words easy to read. The content, on the other hand, is more difficult to swallow. But that’s not because of how Billy writes (to the contrary!) but because of what he’s covering. This issue delves into Billy’s relationship with Aaron, his brother. Aaron and Billy grew up in what seems to be a good household. But as the brothers grew older, Billy steered clear of substances while Aaron got involved heavily. It got to the point where the two brothers were fairly well estranged from one another. This was primarily because Aaron went missing for periods due to drug and alcohol use. I don’t want to give away the entire content, but the writing is compelling and deep. It goes back and forth between Aaron’s story with drugs and Billy’s life without them. Aaron’s life is tragic and Billy doesn’t shy away from that, but neither does he hit you over the head with it. This is, ultimately, not a hopeful tale, but as Billy reminds us in the zine, “this isn’t a movie, and the final scenes of resolution aren’t coming through all clean and smooth….” If you’ve ever had a family member struggle with addiction, or want to understand the pain of what that is like, this is essential. For more info, email iknowbilly@gmail.com. –Kurt Morris (Billy, PO Box 22551, Baltimore, MD 21203)

QUEERFUCK: THE BIG ONE, free, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 26 pgs.
Stressing over a comprehensive, queer-inclusive sexual health resource? Look no further! Longtime sex educator Eli Scriver provides an awesome guide to everything you could possibly want to know (and maybe a little more) in the first volume of Queerfuck. It’s handwritten and drawn with a few handy printed graphics, which is super cute. Don’t worry, though, all the words and diagrams are easy to read, which is often a problem with zines done by hand. The overall visual is cute and welcoming, unlike many a sexual health resource. It’s perfect for educators and educatees alike, especially those whose school and parent-provided sex ed. was lacking (and whose among us wasn’t?). The Big One even includes a section for “Things They Don’t Tell Us” and “LIES,” aimed at correcting misconceptions folks may have picked up along the way, in addition to the basic information that composes most of the zine. There may be more issues coming, so watch out! –Jimmy Cooper (eli.scriver@gmail.com)

SLINGSHOT #127
SLINGSHOT
#127, free, 11” x 17”, newsprint, 16 pgs.
Does it get more classic than Slingshot? The radical newspaper behind punk’s most ubiquitous daily planner celebrated its thirtieth birthday this year, and it’s clearly still going strong. As usual, this one is packed with insightful pieces on a broad range of issues. This time, major articles cover topics including the defense of forests in Northern California, the dangers facing sex workers in an increasingly hostile political climate, and ongoing activism against police violence around the States. I was also impressed by the thorough and thoughtful discussion in the “Dear Joan” advice column about how punk scenes deal with sexual assault. Everything in here is remarkably accessible in style and content, even the pieces on topics I know little to nothing about. That accessibility is exactly how Slingshot, after all these years, can be both a regular read for longtime activists and a manageable point of entry for newly minted young (or old) anarcho punx. As the jubilant editors’ note explains, the strength of the Slingshot Collective lies in the diversity of its members’ and writers’ radical imaginations—as shifting and conflicting as some of their ideas may seem, each is a strong-willed “attack on reality” in its own way. –Indiana Laub (Slingshot, PO Box 3051, Berkeley, CA 94703, slingshotcollective@protonmail.com)

SPIDDER #19, $?, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 16 pgs.
This one’s all over the place—some comics, some tour photos, some cool illustrations, a short interview, some meditations on Southern blues highway ghosts… wait, what? The few pages of prose in this zine seem somewhat intentionally obscure and meandering, but I think what they culminate in is a brief, hyperliterary take on a tour journal. Based on the details provided, I’m finding it easier to picture what the smoky hills and cemeteries looked like from the road than to determine exactly what exactly happened when, and to whom. The bands are in Japan at some point? A Japanese band is playing in New Orleans? Maybe it’s not for me to know. –Indiana Laub (No address listed)

subTERRAIN #79, $7, 8” x 8”, printed, 96 pgs.
I love when this Canadian litmag hits my mailbox. subTerrain consistently features excellent writing, usually themed. This time around the editors and writers conduct an issue-long lament titled “Goodbye, Vancouver.” The general story is likely familiar: development and real estate prices are forcing longtime denizens out. The depth of this loss is relayed not just through stories on real estate (though there are these), but also through discussions of squats, old theaters, and through photo essays and poetry. The Vancouver situation is sadly all too common, but the level of nuance with which it’s discussed here is sadly uncommon. Always a recommended read, this issue especially hits hard. –Michael T. Fournier (PO Box 3008, Main Post Office, Vancouver, BC, V6B 3X5, Canada)

TRUST
#190, €3, offset, 8” x 11¼”, 68 pgs.
The German language publication Trust is one of the longest-running zines in the world. I don’t speak German, so I can’t read it, but it sure is pretty. Formatted similarly to MRR and Razorcake, it’s packed with columns, articles, and reviews. This issue’s highlights include coverage of Phantom Winter, Refuse Records, Martin Büsser, Joseph Boys, Hank Wood, and Hairy Lights. Nice! –Art Ettinger (Trust, Postfach 11 07 62, 28087 Bremen, Germany)

XEROGRAPHY DEBT #43, $4, 5½” x 8½”, printed, 74 pgs.
I still get a kick out of sitting down with a pile of zines and reading through reviews, circling records and zines to seek out via mailorder. As such, Xerography Debt is right in my wheelhouse: columnists review zines on their radar screens. It’s been a few years since the last issue I read, but the format remains the same: per the mission statement inside, the columnists/reviewers are all about hyping stuff they like rather than bashing stuff they don’t. It’s nice to have such a collection of positivity handy for mailorder scouring. –Michael T. Fournier (order through Microcosm: microcosmpublishing.com)

YOKAI WHY, $2, 4¼” x 11”, copied, 20 pgs.
I dig the humor of this zine right away. It’s always the little things that make me laugh, and the first joke with the little kid was hilarious. Unfortunately, I can’t really say much about it without ruining the joke. But that little kid’s reaction to fucking disaster is great! The story follows a demon hunter’s reluctant path into turning something she hates into a profitable job. She reeks of regret in every panel, but continues because we all hate our jobs but need money. This is just an intro to the series, but I’m interested enough to see what happens next. Well, I was sufficiently interested until I saw that the next issue would include an otaku, and that is not a character I would ever want to see continually. Then, there was promise of a ghost puppy, so I was pulled back in. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Tina Horton, Dan Candal, and Conor Rank, yokaiwhy.tumblr.com)

YOU SHOULD HEAR THIS!, $3, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 24 pgs.
A fun, light mini-comic about music Ricky loves. In You Should Hear This! he deconstructs artists he likes like AFI, Jeff Rosenstock (Bomb The Music Industry), and Weezer. You don’t have to be a fan of these bands to enjoy these comics, but you should be a fellow music freak. He also gives us “6 Skull-crushing Songs about Pro-wrestling,” lauds the breakdancing game, Floor Kids, and there’s more. I’m not going to give it all away. My only complaint is it was too short. –Craven Rock (rickyvigil.bigcartel.com, rickyvigil@gmail.com)

ZINE CUISINE #4, $4, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 32 pgs.
Hey, here’s another offering by Zine Cuisine on the topic of winter in L.A. with the coolest artists in the area. I swear that was not supposed to be a pun or anything. It’s got some great stories like the one by Ari that’s a boundless comic on the troubles of gifts. It’s not a new topic but the art style, humor, and fixation with My Super Ex-Girlfriend makes it memorable. There’s also this Whodunit? a la The Thing that has diarrhea jokes. I’m a sucker for diarrhea jokes. It’s poop jokes for someone with fine taste. Some artworks are a little confusing, narratively, but this is a great anthology nonetheless with lots of great stories.
–Iggy Nicklbottum (Dan Kosmo, crookedghostproductions@gmail.com)

All of these reviews and many, many more are printed in a handy-dandy zine that you can subscribe to at a reasonable price, delivered to your door. Click the link below.

Featured Zine Reviews from Razorcake 104: Tattoo Punk

Featured Zine Reviews from Razorcake 104

Featured Zine Reviews from Razorcake 104: Tattoo Punk, Earth First Journal, Musica Obscura, Paranoize, Picking Stuff Apart

TATTOO PUNK #1, $10, full color, 8½” x 11”, 40 pgs.
From the mastermind behind Nuts! fanzine and Rock’n’roll Forever comes Tattoo Punk. It’s a full color mag that’s loaded with interviews with tattoo artists and tons of pictures of tattoos and tattooed people. So much of it is hand done, which gives it a personal, journal-like feel. It just all makes punk, tattoos, and New York City look so goddamn fun. Pick it up and get inspired to live like a maniac. Get a crazy tattoo across your forehead and stagedive to a hardcore band! Rock’n’roll forever! –Daryl (Tattoo Punk c/o Nuts! Fanzine, PO Box 1959, NY, NY 10013)

ADULTING: HOW TO BE AN ADULTIER ADULT
, $3, 4” x 5½”, 19 pgs.
Adulting is one of eighteen short self-help guides written by Dr. Faith G. Harper and published by Microcosm. At first sight, I thought, oh boy, Adulting, here comes some soft skill bullshit by one of my millennial peers—people like me who can make a GIF but can’t fill out a tax form. In reality, the author of Adulting, Faith G. Harper is super smart. She’s a doctor with loads of mental health degrees and experience, and the zine is more or less about being a responsible, uh, grown person. In her words, we’re Adulting “when we are our best and most mature selves in every situation.” Harper breaks up her advice into page-long sections. Her breezy delivery makes for easy reading. Adulting would be a nice graduation gift or a cool read for some young person who’s moving out of the house. –Jim Joyce (Microcosm, 2752 N Williams Ave., Portland, OR 97227)

COPING SKILLS: TOOLS TO FEEL BETTER WITHOUT FUCKING AROUND, $3, 4” x 5½”, 19 pgs.
Dr. Faith G. Harper has a slew of these lil’ self-help buddy zines. I’ve read three of them and they’re good. She avoids jargon and talks clearly about ways to, uh, deal with, in this case, stress and anxiety. Harper starts by noting some of the science behind stress. Our bodies release “the stress hormone cortisol” when we’re anxious, and cortisol helps in moderation, but the body won’t pump us that juicy full-cort juice long-term. Without it, our chronic stress leads to “exhaustion, body aches, weird skin discolorations” and other quiet miseries. Noooooo. And so, the rest of the zine is a collection of coping strategies that Harper has gathered from other smart people. Here’s a line I liked: “Treat yourself like you would your best friend.” That’s profound and easy to apply. Then again, I’m partial to stuff like this because I’m an anxious Jimbo. If you are, too, and you don’t have a therapist like me, maybe you can spend three dollars on this here zine. –Jim Joyce (Microcosm, 2752 N Williams Ave., Portland, OR 97227)

EARTH FIRST! JOURNAL, Vol. 37, No. 3, 8”x 10½”, newsprint, 72 pgs.
Don’t forget—lots and lots of hard work is being done all over the world to save the earth! Whether it’s big, ongoing actions against oil pipelines and defending old growth, to sharks being freed in Mexico by the Animal Liberation Front, this is the go-to source for this information. There’s an article on the Białowieża Forest action in Europe, in which, the writer, as an anarchist, is critical of liberal organizers’ failure to address politics or capitalism as inherent to the problem of logging. They would rather blame and vilify a certain politician, as if the problem weren’t larger and systematic. There’s a piece on the Matthole Forest Campaign to save old growth forest in Northern California. I’m partial to the interviews, like the one with Elise Gerhart at Camp White Pine, who’s set up a treesit to protect her own family’s home from a big oil pipeline. The best thing in here is the interview with Ruby and Jessica who sabotaged the DAPL and then took credit for it! Now that takes courage! –Craven Rock (Earth First! Journal, PO Box 964, Lake Worth, FL 33460)

HAPPY LONER, THE #7, $? 5½” x 8½”, copied, 14 pgs.
I hadn’t read The Happy Loner before, but it’s done by a Canadian woman named Izalixe, who writes in a free-flowing, diary manner. It’s a short issue but engaging. This issue is from early 2017 and Izalixe writes of the change from the shit-awful year that was 2016 and her hopes for 2017. She also describes trying to get around in Quebec in the winter using a taxi after throwing out her back. It’s actually much more interesting than I’m making it sound. The ink used in the photocopying process came off on my fingers, and not in that endearing, Maximum Rock’n’roll way. But otherwise this was a simple, quick read that I would’ve enjoyed reading more of. –Kurt Morris (Izalixe Straightheart, 30 rue Ste-Ursule #77, Quebec, QC G1R 4E3, Canada)

HAPPY LONER, THE #8, $3/$4, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 28 pgs.
This issue of The Happy Loner finds Izalixe having moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, from Quebec. Once again, this is a perzine format with content written from the middle part of 2017. Material includes Izalixe’s adventures in Vancouver, traveling to Seattle and Portland, and getting hired to work for VIA Rail. She takes a short trip to Squamish, BC, and explains all the things to do there and what she enjoys about this small, quaint city. Izalixe seems like a very free spirit, which can be fun to read about, but she often writes of people and situations in a way that causes the reader to feel outside the circle. I often had questions about this boyfriend of hers, some of her friends, et cetera. It didn’t take away from my overall interest in the zine, but it’s something to take note of when writing personal experiences. I think there’s a line that can be had between writing about one’s personal experiences and also making sure others feel included. Still, this issue has stronger writing and more diversity than the last one, so if you’re going to choose, I’d start here. –Kurt Morris (Izalixe Straightheart, PO Box 99101, Davie PO, Vancouver BC, V6G 1V0, Canada)

MAXIMUM ROCK’N’ROLL #416, $4.99, 8½” x 11½”, newsprint, 103 pgs.
This issue begins with a eulogy for Dead Moon’s Fred Cole. My favorite part of it—aside from author Erin Yanke’s point that “death is a part of the deal with being alive”—was the anecdote about Fred Cole working in music stores. Apparently, he had a habit of giving customers ridiculous credit when it came to buying instruments they probably couldn’t afford. The interview with comic artist Liz Prince is spiffy, too. When she’s not grinding out the good stuff for Razorcake, Liz puts out books like Be Your Backing Band. What could she do without? Dorks asking her how to get their unpracticed work published in a snap. One cannot just pick up a pencil and get a graphic novel deal with Scholastic in no time. As Prince says, “years of working on comics in obscurity” and “doing a bunch of different kinds of work” is way more important than hurrying art and chasing popularity. That’s not hating on DIY, that’s holding folks to trying it. We also hear from punks abroad: the band Kenny Kenny Oh Oh of Leipzig mention how the punk scene in Germany is behind U.S. in terms of being down with “gender and queerness” and racial diversity, while Zay of Yokkaichi, Japan say that their song “There Is No Future in Dreaming of the Past” is critical of punk band reunions. To them, it seems like old groups copy their past selves, which is sad. Are they saying they wouldn’t pay forty bucks to see Raygun play a bar in Wrigleyville? Maybe. Maybe not. “We just have to believe in what we can’t see,” singer Gori notes, as if to say, Move forward, sailor. Trust yourself to make good new shit, even when there’s no promise we’ll be celebrated for it. Another good’n! –Jim Joyce (Maximum Rock’n’roll, PO Box 460760, SF, CA 94146-0760, maximumrocknroll.com)

MAXIMUM ROCK’N’ROLL #418, $4.99, 8½” x 11”, newsprint, 104 pgs.
After having written for Razorcake for thirteen years and having read Maximum Rock’n’roll for over twenty years, I can’t help but wonder if there have been punks who seriously and ferociously debate which of these two fine publications is better. For me, they both cover a number of bands I’ve never heard of, and with music reviews that can be snarky. One of the big differences is with the columns. Those in MRR have always been more political, whereas Razorcake has Rhythm Chicken. Razorcake is bi-monthly, whereas MRR is somehow capable of putting out a zine every month. Also, one hundred percent newsprint vs. ninety-eight percent newsprint. These are some good starting points for any of you punks who want to debate this. Oh yeah, and this issue of Maximum Rock’n’roll has interviews with Martha, Snob, Mauradeur, Neo Neos, Senyawa, F.I.T.S., ISS, Eric Bifaro, Not On Tour, and more! There’s also all the other good stuff: columns, reviews, letters to the editor, et cetera. As always, worth picking up if you’re into bands you’ve likely never heard of and enjoy the smell of newsprint. –Kurt Morris (Maximum Rock’n’roll, PO Box 460760, SF, CA 94146)

MIDLIFE CRISIS #1, $5, 8½” x 11”, copied, 32 pgs.
It’s nice, and sadly rare these days, to read a hardcore punk zine where the editor doesn’t see himself (and it’s always a male) as another blowhard Lester Bangs with fake attitude and flimsy knowledge. The editor, Daragh Hayes, keeps his writing honest; his enthusiasm and passion for all things hardcore punk is undeniable. He covers the new, as well as the old, with interviews from OAF and one with NoMeansNo from 1988, as well as a talk with Pete Genest from the Hits and Misses record store. There’s also a lengthy review on the doc She Said Boom: The Story of Fifth Column. There needs to be more zines like this. Please! –Matt Average (Daragh Hayes, 250 Pall Mall Street, Unit 601, London, ON, Canada, N6A 6K3, midlifecrisiserahc@gmail.com)

MUSICA OBSCURA, $6, 5½” x 8½”, printed zine with CD, 62 pgs.
This zine and CD two-piece collects Adel Souto’s favorite essays they wrote while being featured on the music website No Echo. The music featured on the CDs span from punk or offshoots of punk, disco hits by adult stars, lost Cambodian rock, and some painful screamo tracks. The essays themselves range from murders in darker genres, Hollywood and the adult industry, awful mixed music genres, Communist Cuba, breakfast cereal, cults, and heck of a lot of other things. Pretty interesting essays and a huge companion CD (with a link to downloadable MP3s if you don’t have a disc drive). –Tricia Ramos (Musica Obscura, adelsouto.com)

PARANOIZE #42, free, 5½” x 8½”, 16 pgs.
Bobby Bergeron—the baron from the city of Zapp chips and Fats Domino, the zinebobster nearest Nicholas Cage’s pyramid grave—brings us Paranoize #43, a brief New Orleans scene report. The bad news is Bobby recently had a burst appendix. The good news is he’s rocking back to proper zine-printing health. Back at it, Bobby brings us a list of local groups to check out and some brief record reviews. My favorite is for Bloodsick’s new release: “Bloodsick has cooked up a steaming pot of blackened thrash with a side of doom to fill them earholes with pure insanity!!!” But the bulk of the thing goes to Curtis Cottrell, “a huge contributor supporter of the New Orleans underground scene,” who has lived about a dozen different lives. Cottrell hung out with the Grateful Dead in ‘69, got drafted, got out, studied poetry at Oxford in the ‘70s, got pretty into fireworks in Tulsa, came back to New Orleans, roasted a few doobers here and there, and lived to tell the tale. I like learning about new groups and I enjoy the record reviews, but I really loved this informal profile on a longtime NOLA punker. I could read stuff like that for days. Thanks, Bobby! Hope you’re feeling good as new again soon, too. –Jim Joyce (Paranoize, PO Box 2334, Marrero, LA 70073-2334, bobby@paranoizenola.com)

PICKING STUFF APART
No. 1 (?), $4 or trade, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 48 pgs.
The numbering has me off because this zine is also technically #8 of Craven Rock’s Eaves of Ass and #11 of Joshua James Amberson’s Basic Paper Airplane. Cataloging irregularity aside, I loved this zine. The concept is that Craven and Joshua James assigned each other several things to review—such as books, music or events—and then had a back and forth conversational interview over the hows and whys of each review. The results are ten reviews which range far and wide, such as an awkward industrial music awards show, a teen-aimed, satanic-panic-fueled Christian variety show from the early ‘90s, a modernist book club called Joyce Division, and an EP of what Craven comes to label “busyfolk.” At first blush, I assumed reviewing a zine of reviews would be an exercise in meta-tedium, but each review ends up functioning as a springboard for an interesting essay which each writer uses to explore ideas related to their subject at hand, even if, at times, their lack of expertise on their actual “object of study” is quite substantial. For instance, when assigned the posthumous EP Chokes! by the band Silkworm, Craven is able to use the middle of the road review of the actual album—to which he has no real attachment or connection—as a platform for examining how his music consumption methods have drastically changed since the pre-internet years, when every album one could get a hold of was an object of intense study because of scarcity… even if you didn’t particularly like it. The back and forth interviews afterward are great too, as both writers are particularly articulate in examining the thought processes they used to reach their opinions and asking questions of each other that move the conversation deeper. –Adrian Salas (Craven Rock,10511 Phinney Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98133, eavesofass@yahoo.com, antiquatedfuture.com)

PICKING STUFF APART, $4, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 48 pgs.
Picking Stuff Apart is a brainchild between two friends who assigned each other things to watch, read, and listen to, and then wrote reviews of experiences of those things and then discuss it, and, well—pick stuff apart. Assignment topics include Grant Morrison’s essay/manifesto “Pop Magic!,” listening to a discussion from The New Yorker Fiction Podcast, Alak’s 2009 EP I Don’t Feel Anything, and my personal favorite, a Christian television show Fire By Nite “Satanism Unmasked: The Return 1,” where Craven muses, “A lot of people are completely repulsed by Christian propaganda, but it’s endless entertainment for others. I guess I’m just gloating, but, in this case, at people who definitely deserve to fail.” Topics of discussions weren’t always of interest, however the back and forth discussions between zinesters Joshua and Craven is insightful, snarky and intelligent. –Camylle Reynolds (Craven Rock, 10511 Phinney Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98133)

SEX WITHOUT ROLES, $4, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 34 pgs.
I really want to be open and kind to others who are not my background (cis, upper-middle class, white male). Having not grown up around trans people, I know I have a lot to learn. That’s why I appreciate reading zines like Sex without Roles, written by Eli Sasche, a transman. Eli covers a range of topics related to the trans community, including sex, flirting and dating, consent, long-term relationships, and sex with changing body parts. It’s not overly thorough, but it’s still a good primer for someone like myself to get a bit of insight into what the concerns are for trans people around the issue of sex. I realize this is just Eli’s point of view, but considering how limited my take is on trans issues, I’m thankful for any introduction. If you’re as unaware of this community as I am, or if you want to just read the experiences of one trans person and sex, I think this is worth checking out. –Kurt Morris (Microcosm Publishing, 2752 N. Williams Ave., Portland, OR 97227)

SOMETHING FOR NOTHING, 2 stamps or trade, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 22 pgs.
Something for Nothing is packed tight in tiny, but still readable, font with a plethora of personal musings that run the gamut from tasty new snacks, newest or revisited tunes, show adventures from the fresh eyes of a forty-four-year-old, and a most thorough review of The English Beat because why the hell not. But I’ll be honest, the best part of this zine is the Beverage Reviews of new fab Snapples, coconut waters, and fruit-infused thirst quenchers, because that shit is crucial. This zine was a fun, light-hearted read. –Camylle Reynolds (Idy, PO Box 226, Massillon, OH, 44646)

STANDING UNAFRAID: HEALING TRAUMA WITH EDMR THERAPY, $4, 4¼” x 5½”, copied, 62 pgs.
I’ve always been a fan of Robert Wildwood’s (AKA Robnoxious) writing. There’s always an honesty and optimism to it. You’ll find the same tone here with his zine about his experiences with EDMR therapy. EDMR is a kind of therapy where you’re guided into your past by a therapist who instructs you to make peace with it, restructuring stories in a way that allows the abused child of your past to rest. As a child, Rob was a survivor of brutal bullying. His serious PTSD made living really difficult. He describes an incident where he was triggered by losing his glasses and it made him just freak out. In total fight or flight mode, he fought people, hit himself over the head with a brick, and jumped out a window when it was closed. It was this level of anxiety that made him seek help in EDMR therapy and it really helped. It’s a great zine if you aren’t looking for mental help, but if you are, it might point you in the right direction. –Craven Rock (Microcosm Publishing, 2752 N Williams Ave., Portland, OR 97227, microcosmpublishing.com)

subTERRAIN #78, 6” x 9”, $7, printed, 96 pgs.
This is the third or fourth issue of this fantastic Canadian lit zine that I’ve read. It’s always a quality read, and usually revolves around some sort of theme. This issue is no exception on either front, though the concept this time is less thematic and more about quality: the bulk of the prose and poetry herein have won various awards, making this issue an especially great read. If you haven’t jumped onboard yet, I can’t think of a better place to start. Hell of recommended, eh? –Michael T. Fournier (PO Box 3008, Main Post Office, Vancouver, BC V6B 3X5, Canada)

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON ADDICTION: WHERE THEY COME FROM AND HOW WE HEAL, $4, 5½” x 8½”, 15 pgs.
I thought a lot about Crimpshrine’s “Wake Up” while reading This Is Your Brain On Addiction because, as Jeff Ott says, “…everyone’s addicted to something” and “it’s OK as long as you feel love inside,” which is true. But also, there’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t get done when one’s addicted. Like mopping the floor, seeing your friends, getting to work on time, and doing anything that’s not a part of bending the day to meet the addiction itself. Harper does a good job of explaining where the condition can come from—sometimes it’s a “coping skills gone awry”—how they work, and how one can go about taking their life back, however incrementally, from that behavior or substance. This zine might be helpful for those who are suffering from the condition, but it humanizes addiction for unfamiliar readers, too. Zines like this will probably lead to more conversations around the topic, which in turn might mean less loneliness and less shame and more compassion and help, which would be awesome. –Jim Joyce (Microcosm, 2752 N Williams Ave., Portland, OR 97227)

TRUST #186, €3, 8” x 11½”, 66 pgs.
We’ve got another beautiful issue of TRUST, the second-longest running punk zine out there after MRR, as far as I know. My usual routine with TRUST is to flip through quickly while looking for any signs of English (a Crass quote here, a generous Razorcake issue #99 review there, (thanks!)), then I go back to page one and drool over the layout and photos. Issue #186 features an interview with Alice Bag, and it begins with, yes, a photo of a paper lunch bag. She’s probably used to that gag by now, but visual puns and the like speak to the zine’s humor and style. The pages are drenched in black ink, as if the zine were crafted by a renegade crew of pallid monk typographers and photographers who’d committed themselves to the study of punk as it appears in basement lighting. Clearly, I find grimy beauty of this magnitude intoxicating. Aside from all that gushing, though, I should say this issue also features interviews with Penny Rimbuad, Lebenden Toten, Zonenpunk, and fuzz rockers Sneeze Attack, a group who I’m into now. Thanks, TRUST! –Jim Joyce (Trust, Verlag, Postfach 11 07 62, 28087 Bremen, Germany, trust-zine.de)

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