TNS RECORDS FREE FANZINE #15: $?, 5 ½” x 8 ½” copied, 47 pgs.

TNS’s tenth anniversary issue of their free fanzine is an excellent introduction to the storied underground U.K. punk and ska label, even if you’re like me and are embarrassed that you haven’t heard of a single band mentioned. Born out of discontent with money-grubbing promoters, TNS (short for That’s Not Skanking) uses the occasion to critically examine how milestones are typically marked in music. Insightful, scathing features take on Best Of lists, bands reuniting to play albums in full for jacked-up ticket prices, and the phenomenon of “track eights,” which is when a band drops an unusually exciting song in the middle of a record to open side B with a bang after it is flipped over. The zine also functions as a catalog, so you’ll stumble on a new release or reviewed record of interest. I scribbled down The Franceens and Sounds Of Swami. The zine’s highest point is the “Ten Years of TNS” feature, which looks back at their adorably alcohol-soaked early days as a show series and unwavering dedication to DIY. Early TNS performers and attendees discuss what the label’s ethos has inspired them to make. Many formed successful bands, others created their own zines or started booking shows in their small towns. Ignore the few indulgent head-scratcher poetry breaks and an obvious label crush on Fat Wreck in the reviews, but this zine is a thoughtful reminder that we Americans need to pay attention to what’s going on across the pond more often. –Claire Palermo (TNS, 17 Heywod Rd., Prestwich, Manchester, M25 1FB, UK)