Featured Zine Reviews From Issue #86: Oh, to read a newspaper!

Jun 29, 2015

SLINGSHOT#117, free, newspaper, 15 pgs.
Oh, to read a newspaper! Feeling ink smudge against my finger pads and hearing the rustle of the oversized pages, I have to admit these are experiences I rarely indulge in. Slingshot is the newspaper experience I have yearned for. Personally, I have grappled with the concept of anarchism—the contradictions I’ve encountered, the lack of a true and visible end goal, and the countless run-ins with holier-than-thou radicals who claim to know how to live life better than I do. Slingshot is like a breath of fresh air. Though I approached it with trepidation, the smart, delightfully well written articles captivated my attention. Many of my apprehensions were addressed within each of the articles. Differences of opinion on any given topic not only existed but were also discussed within the very same issue! The opinions and ideas presented were offered in a manner that was honest and accessible. After reading, I was filled with genuine respect and admiration for both the authors and the publication as a whole. –Ashley Ravelo (Slingshot, 3124 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705)

$5, 4¼” x 5½”, copied, 50pgs.
The sum the impression I got from this chunky collection of poems is futility— illustrated in quick thoughts that are less than a paragraph per page. I can really see myself crawl inside a bottle of wine with this zine clutched to my chest, trying to find the sad beauty in places you might not think it exists.From a distance, I can sum up the tone as mixing the funny, the sad, and the insignificant into short poems no more than two sentences long. To me, the author, Alden Marin, doesn’t have a sad voice but I find his poetic observations describing sad moments. The kind that make you smile. –Simon Sotelo (Alden Marin, LifeAsApoet.com)

BRAINSCAN #31, $2, 5½” x 4”, copied, offset cover, 20 pgs.
I feel like Portland’s going through a rapid transformation of late. Rents are rising super fast and condos are going up just as quickly everywhere you look. The town’s having a huge growth spurt (this being good or bad is indefinitely debatable). With this huge and constant influx of new people, those of us who have been around for any length of time can almost start to feel like outsiders, like we’re the odd ones. Alex is definitely one of the “old guard” of Portland zine culture, and what we have here is a quick rumination on where Portland fits in her life, and other notions of acceptance and belonging—noting that relationship with parents sometimes mellow with age, with everyone eventually reaching a mutual respect and care. Alex has been doing Brainscan for a long time, and she’s good at it. It’s a quick read, but a meaningful one. –Keith Rosson (Alex Wrekk, 5307 N. Minnesota Ave., Portland, OR 97217)
, $?, 5 ½” x 4”, copied, 16 pgs.
Bryan works at a shelter for homeless nine to seventeen-year-olds. As you can imagine, this is an intense job that can be very hard and emotionally trying. However, this zine isn’t about that. With one quote per page accompanied by sweet little drawings, Bryan has compiled the “hilarious, insightful, and strange things” that the teenagers have said to him at work. “Diggin’ the rat tail. Let me guess—Red Hot Chili Peppers fan?” –Robin Effup ([email protected])

INSIDE OVER, $?, 4” x 5 ½”, copied, 28 pgs.
Inside Over is a collection of written and visual art. It’s a real page-turner. Quick read and with seventeen contributors there’s bound to be at least a couple pieces in here that you can get down with. The introduction reads, “The contents in this zine intersect and overlap with multiple discourses. Each of the pieces featured here exhibit different styles of communication, which is pretty cool.” I agree! –Robin Effup ([email protected], doublefurpress.org)

MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL #381, $4.99, 8” x 10 ½”, newsprint, 120 pgs.
Band photo of the month takes the backseat to a tone-setting political statement of a cover: a full page list of names in memoriam of many of the unarmed people of color who were murdered by cops from year 2000 to present. Columns consist of expressing what is almost impossible to express on paper: confusion, disgust, helplessness, hopelessness, disconnection, and rage. I liked the difference in tone, yet comparable, sentiment of Marissa Magic’s column to Emmy Ramone’s regarding December’s police brutality protests and how the unjust society we live in catalyzes unsettling emotions. Bryony Beynon describes a day at the United Friends and Family Campaign’s (a coalition of the families and friends who have died at the hands of the state) annual march in central London, “I keep Mario’s machine in mind as my burning feet head for the night bus and think about our relative parts in it, always with the sneaking fear that the man with his hands on the levers sees bodies thrown upon the gears only as extra grease.” If you have been feeling overwhelmed and at a loss for what to do in the face of this great, big, racist, pig-faced problem, Grace Ambrose closes the columns section with some solid ways to begin generating change within our very own communities: “We need to take drastic steps to be more inclusive, to amplify the voices of marginalized people, and to actively work to dismantle white supremacy here in the punk scene.” We gotta keep fighting the good fight, and it begins with ourselves and holding each other accountable. This isn’t old news and we can’t let it become that. One of the worst things you could possibly do is nothing at all. Also included in this issue’s columns is a short interview with one of my favorite New Orleans punk bands, Mystic Inane, as well as a very informative article on “Teaching Resistance” written by a radical high school teacher who exposes the exploitative and detrimental effects of educational standardization. The letters section is hilarious, as usual; an “anonymous 90’s punk” gets ripped a new one. Good interviews with Dark Times, Wiccans, Hysterics, and other sick bands. Greg Harvester’s Top 10 always gives ya some tasty morsels to gnaw on. Book, zine, record, and demo reviews, you know… –Robin Effup (MRR, PO Box 460760, SF, CA 94146, maximumrocknroll.com)

NOT LIKE YOU ISSUE 2, $?, 8½” x 11”, 40pgs.
This is what DIY punk is about. The amount of blood, sweat, and tears that went into the latest issue of Not Like You, is fucking astounding. Not Like You Issue Two is a full fanzine of new and old school skate punk, chock full of band interviews (Los Olvidados and The Faction), skate and band pics, record reviews, columns, rants, and just brim full of fucking punk, all printed on high quality matte stock. It’s well laid out and you can tell it’s a labor of love. Issue Two also comes with Intense Energy, a 7” comp of skater thrash ‘80s-style punk. With bands Huge, Loud Ones, Stale Phish, 97A, and Counterattack! Songs range from tough-as-nails hardcore thrash, to bratty, blown-out skater punk. And if that wasn’t shitastic enough for you, it even comes with stickers, like a lot of fucking stickers. Reminds me of broken bottles, warm 40s, too much damn cheap whisky, and hot summer nights watching boys ride their boards. –Camylle Reynolds (Not Like You Zine, 102 Richmond Ave. SE, Albuquerque, NM, 87106, notlikeyourecords.com)

With a full color photo cover, filled with black and white photo insides, this zine consists of poems, short thoughts, and what feels like advice from a stream of consciousness. It instilled in me a sense of longing, of places I miss or think I miss. Some of the photos have strangers I recognize, or places I think I’ve been to, which contributes to the familiarity of text. The writer—who is not listed inside the zine—writes wonderful words, which speak like advice from an old friend or close family member. “Growing up is when you stop doing things you know are going to severely disappoint you,” is one such gem from it. I loved this zine and it gives the reader a feeling like you’re close friends with the writer. And maybe you are. Maybe you just don’t know it yet. –Tricia (Only Let In Those Who Deserve The Person You Really Are, [email protected])

SEAMS & THE STORY, THE: GOODBYE TO ALL THAT, $2, 5 ½” x 8 ½”,copied, 20 pgs.
I can’t recommend this zine enough! A queer woman describes growing up in the suburbs outside of New York City. Narrating through childhood to young adulthood, she beautifully intertwines her introduction to punk and counter-culture on the lower east side of Manhattan with the history of this area; from the Draft Riots of 1863 to the riots of 1988 between the squatters and police in TompkinsSquarePark. She uniquely captures the grief experienced with a loss of place and time, recounts discovering gentrification through young eyes, and tells a story of a quickly disappearing magic; a certain wonderful grime, stench, and cognizance of a lively past that becomes harder to find in the city’s streets as time continues to pass. Excellent writing, one of the best zines I’ve read in a while. –Robin Effup (W.Awry, [email protected], seamsandstory.noblogs.org)

A Los Angeles local publication, Turning the Tide features articles and essays full of anti-racist, anti-fascist resources and informative text. The publication is highly political throughout, with stories and news reminding us of just how fucked up and unjust the world still is. While overwhelmingly informative, political text never seems to hold my interest. The articles, at times, were so longwinded and dry that I struggled to maintain my focus. We need these kinds of zines out there though, and seeing that this particular publication has been going for twenty-five years gives me a little hope for our future. –Tricia (Turning the Tide: A Journal of Inter-Communal Solidarity, Anti-Racist Action, PO Box 1055, Culver City, CA 90232)