PAPERCORE #2, 8½” x 11”, copied, 24 pgs.

This is a fantastic DIY punk zine based out of Marseille, France. It’s organized much like MRR—a few pages of columns with two rows per page, then articles, interviews, and reviews. The folks who write for this come from all over the world and seem to be dyed-in-the-wool punks. So much of the columns and personal writing is anti-establishment and pro-community. It was very refreshing to see the passion on the page. This particular issue includes scene reports from Brittany (France), and Belgium, an interview with Italian punk band Frattura, an interview with The Eye of Time (a solo project from France), and reviews of music, punk-related movies, and other zines. I am so grateful this zine is written in English. Making a zine in the first place is a huge undertaking, but to do one that crosses borders; that is impressive. They don’t list a price for the zine and their website says nothing is for sale, nor do they pay for ads, though if you’d like to donate to them, they can be found at diyconspiracy.net. –Kayla Greet (Giz c/o Cira, 50 Rue Consolat, 13001, Marseille, France)

PETROLEUM SPIRIT DAZE, $5, 5½” x 8½”, risograph-printed pages, 16 pgs.

This is a fun Halloween haunt comic starring a younger Plus Man from Ben Sears’s steampunk and Aardman animation-inspired Double+ series. Goggled Plus Man and cohort Basil are driving a big rig through the night. They stop in the spooky town of Oakleaf, which is full of costumed mummies, witches, Frankensteins, and Draculas. Everyone is gathered for a big Halloween festival but there is something eerie going on behind the scenes. Many of the panels are so chock full of ghouls that you may find yourself searching for a Waldo cameo. I’m a sucker for Ben Sears’s blocky-yet-round artwork and a bigger sucker for Halloween-related stuff. This lil’ spooky tale is for anybody who shares my aesthetic. –Rick V. (Ben Sears, bensears.bigcartel.com)

1981, THE: Easy (It’s Not): Flexi 7”

Excellent debut track from Oakland’s own The 1981, featuring Adam Widener (of solo and Warm Soda fame) and Bobby Martinez from Circuits. The single’s only track is a monster. Mellow at the start until the song kicks in full-blown, showcasing the duo’s unassuming power. Fans of both punk and indie/Britpop-leaning stuff will eat this up. Catchy and upbeat with well-crafted lyrics, this track is worthy of the noteworthy plugs it’s received, including Billie Joe’s Spotify playlist. It’s difficult to pin point precisely what they sound like, but if you’re a fan of Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, this is right up your alley. –Steve Adamyk (Dandy Boy, the1981.bandcamp.com)

2 LAZY BOYS: The Recline of Western Civilization: LP

This record brought me so much joy in my isolation bunker, the way only goofy East Bay punk can. It is mellow like a front porch hang and you might catch yourself singing about the G.G. Allin shirt you never had or slow dancing to a song about bad tattoos. –Liz Jones (Deimos, [email protected], deimosrecords.com)

AERIAL SALAD: Dirt Mall: LP

This Manchester-based trio has been garnering a lot of favorable attention in the U.K. of late so I was intrigued to find out what all the fuss was about. The opening track “Dirt Mall” is a catchy, mid-tempo sub-three minute snotty tune and provided an extremely promising start. Beyond that though it all seemed to go somewhat astray, veering into the realms of Arctic Monkeys, Stereophonics, and Oasis, not bands that do it for me at all. At no point does Dirt Mall make a U-turn away from that path. There’s no doubt that there is talent within Aerial Salad but this is a band that I can’t see me keeping track of based on this album. –Rich Cocksedge (Plasterer, [email protected], wonkunit.co.uk)

AIRSTREAM FUTURES: Le Feu Et Le Sable: LP

If I was asked to produce a list of my favorite vocalists, then one of the first names I’d write down would be Devon Carson, who has a voice which gives me goosebumps. Of course Airstream Futures is more than just her vocals but for me they are the focal point of any song I hear from this band. The best thing is, she is even better live and that is the true test of any great singer. Beyond the vocals, Jeff Dean provides an intricate-yet-beefy six-stringed wall of sound to underpin Carson, whilst the drums do so much more than just keep the beat with well-placed flourishes of joy to look forward to. This is an excellent follow up to Spirale Infernale and evidence of a band very much on the rise. –Rich Cocksedge (Little Rocket, [email protected], littlerocketrecords.co.uk)

ARCHAEAS, THE: Rock N Roll: 7”

The title track is a tasty, catchy lo-fi rock’n’roll ditty. The flip, “Replica,” is a bit darker in tone and sounding a bit more like it’s from the early ’80s. Sound is “budget,” but clean and punchy and the tunes are well worth a listen. –Jimmy Alvarado (Total Punk, floridasdying.com)

BAKLAVAA: Sleep Running: CS

Baltimore’s Baklavaa play a kind of droning, experimental punk akin to a less interesting and less engaging version of Brainiac. A good background soundtrack for the coronavirus dystopia. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Self-released)

BIG NOTHING: Chris: LP

This is the first full-length record from this Philly-based band and it’s great! It feels like a good, more fully realized continuation of their first four-song EP. The band members switch off on vocals throughout the record, adding an element of surprise around each corner. Some songs have an anthem-y Lemonheads quality, while others remind me of an edgier mid-’90s Gin Blossoms. This record holds energy throughout and every song pulls its weight. I’ve heard their name for a while, but never got around to listening to them and I’m so happy that I have now! I’m a fan! –Emily T. (Salinas)

BIG SAD: Send Help: LP

I can’t tell you how excited I was to hear this. New music from Dave Decker (Clairmel, Vaginasore Jr., Too Many Daves, Decker, Sandspur City, among many others) is something to be celebrated, and I did so by turning the volume knob way past the norm and letting the windows rattle. Sprawling melodic landscapes with themes of love, loss, levity, and law enforcement. It is clear that the affection that certain areas of Florida feel for guitar emotion of Leatherfaceian proportions is still going strong. These songs are beautiful. They are heavy. Intentional or not, Decker’s experiences of the last decade or so (from cautionary tale to one of recovery and redemption) loom large in this collection of songs. As I listen to it over and over, I can feel the warmth grow in my heart and the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I hope this is the first of many releases for this band. I can’t recommend this enough. –Ty Stranglehold (Rad Girlfriend, radgirlfriendrecords.bandcamp.com)