VARIOUS ARTISTS: Listen Up!: A Benefit for Democracy Now!: LP

This is the kind of bridging I like to see! A convergence of some of my favorite writers, artists, and musicians in independent/punk/DIY/anti-commercial/whatever showing their appreciation for my favorite independent news outlet! Chris of The Stowaways zine and Roman Candles has spearheaded this project and the final product exceeds all expectations. With art by Sophia Zarders, an intro by Donna Ramone, and musical contributions by Todd C., Pretty Flowers, Albert Square, Layman, Tom Grrrl, and a dozen more, how could you not love it!? Even if this benefit comp generates zero income for DN!, as merely a listener who had nothing to do with this release, I like to look at this comp as a thank you and a happy 25th birthday from DIY to all the bad asses at Democracy Now! who every twenty-four hours churn out another epic hour of the best reporting you’ll find. Can we call volume two The Gwar and Peace Report? –Daryl (The Stowaways)

PUNKS AROUND #11, $4, 8½” x 5½”, 40 pgs.

This issue of Massachusetts based Punks Around features columns and art by POC (people of color, in case you didn’t already know) from folks such as Kevin Moore, Prof. Falcon (Boston tattoo artist), Michelle Gonzales (Spitboy), Carlos Romero (Providence show space organizer), Martin Wong (Giant Robot), King Mob (Fort Bragg Magazine), local punk Boston Brock, and artists Marius Marjolin, Shitgazer X Punkboi, and Sophia Zarders. The columns come mostly from the perspective of identifying as a POC punk in a mostly white and cis male-dominated punk scene. The writers all come from different walks—including Black, Mexican American, Anglo Indian, and Asian American—with the unifying theme of their involvement in their respective punk scenes, what punk means to them, and/or what aspects of punk need adjusting to truly become the all-inclusive subculture it was meant to be. The hardest-hitting columns came from the Black authors who shed some light and perspective on the subject of race relations that has become all too divisive especially in the United States with the Black Lives Matter movement currently taking place. Kevin Moore writes about finding solace in punk only to be made feel polarized and unwanted due to him being Black but then also finding some redemption by attending a Gorilla Biscuits show where he never felt more at home. Boston Brock talks about being accepted as a Black skinhead but also feeling tokenized and used as an excuse for racist remarks and behavior by people he once thought of as friends. Everyone’s experiences and art contributions to this issue are deeply personal and hopefully will further assist white allies in understanding what it means to be a POC punk in these tumultuous and outright fascist times. Highly recommended. –Juan Espinosa (Alexander Herbertson, 10 Matthewson Ave., Attleboro, MA 02703, punksaround.com)