Book Reviews

Forbidden Beat: Perspectives on Punk Drumming By S.W. Lauden, 288 pgs.

Drummers are often characterized as “loose cannons” or “wild cards”—especially punk rock drummers. I’m not saying this is false, but the larger truth is that most drummers are oddly wired maniacs who view things differently than the average rocker. In Forbidden Beat: Perspectives on Punk Drumming, editor S.W. Lauden presents a collection of essays, interviews, […]

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Liar’s Club Post #147 By Patrick Houdek, 60 pgs.

This full-color, glossy, and hardcover bound photobook documents a scene centered around a Chicago area bar, Liar’s Club, that has been hosting shows for over two decades. Originally put together as a one-off birthday present for the bar, this self-published book turned into something more along the way, resulting in this documented book of that […]

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Vicious Is My Middle Name By Kevin Dunn, 228 pgs.

When it comes to books that are engaging, some people say, “I couldn’t put this book down!” And you know they probably don’t literally mean it, but you get the point. Well, in the case of Vicious Is My Middle Name, by Razorcake’s own Kevin Dunn, this is entirely true. I stayed up about two […]

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Place at the Nayarit, A —How a Mexican Restaurant Nourished a Community By Natalia Molina, 294 pgs.

If you’ve been to a show at the Echo, the music venue in Los Angeles’s Echo Park neighborhood, you may have noticed the cursively lettered sign “Nayarit” on the front of the building. The Nayarit was the Mexican restaurant in that space that Natalia Barraza ran from 1951 to 1976. Her granddaughter, University of Southern […]

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Self Taught By Tim Kerr, 66 pgs.

As a lover of so-called outsider art, I was quite excited to check out Self Taught by Tim Kerr, whom many of you will know as the guitarist for the ’80s Texas band the Big Boys (although he has been in numerous other bands as well). The book contains photographs of (generally) large-scale outdoor artworks, […]

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Sk8 Dad Summer: Ramps, Rebellion, and Raising a Kid By Brett Hamil, 64 pgs.

An autobiographical comic about a forty-something-year-old dad building a ramp in his backyard. Brett has stepped up from stealing from constructions sites and is now purchasing the wood. Throughout the comic, he reminisces skating on the ramp he built with his friends and hopes that one day his toddler son will want to skate. Instead […]

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Tompo of the Ringing, The, By Tracy Santa, 155 pgs.

The literary landscape is littered with rock autobiographies. So many of them follow the same narrative, using same rags-to-riches-to-rags tropes that they tend to blend together, leaving programmatic readers like me (and perhaps like you) groping for the point. Any break from the tired formula is worth at least a cursory look. Imagine if—get this—a […]

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We Can Be the New Wind By Alexandros Anesiadis, 842 pgs.

I first heard the Descendents when I bought a tape entitled Enjoy! at Spec’s Music in Boca Raton’s Town Center mall. When I got it home and played it, I was baffled. Some of the songs didn’t even resemble music, hardcore or otherwise, and the ones that did were mostly sugary pop songs rather than […]

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Dangerous Visions and New Worlds—Radical Science Fiction, 1950-1985, Edited by Andrew Nette and Iain McIntrye, 216 pgs.

In college, my African-American Literature professor devoted his lessons to an overview of the corpus—we read and wrote about some novels, but the classes were mostly devoted to his summarizing and explaining the significance of works we hadn’t read and weren’t assigned. I questioned (silently) how worthwhile this was, but the dividends of cultural literacy […]

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Forbidden Beat: Perspectives on Punk Drumming, Edited by S.W. Lauden, foreword by Lucky Lehrer, 218 pgs.

When I saw there was a person who endeavored to write about punk drumming, I’ll admit that (as a punk drummer myself) I was equal parts intrigued and skeptical. I wondered how it would hold my attention on a seemingly simple subject. Never have I been so pleased to be proven wrong. Not only did […]

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High Desert, The, By James Spooner, 368 pgs.

James Spooner is a Los Angeles artist and activist who may be best known as director of the documentary Afro-Punk, a film that focuses on the experience of Black punks. Similarly, in the graphic novel The High Desert, Spooner uses his uses his visual art skills to tell the autobiographical story of a young Black […]

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In My Eyes: Photographs 1982-1987 By Jim Saah, 337 pgs.

Jim Saah grew up in the DC area and began photographing punk bands early in the 1980s. Like many of you, I’ve seen various photos taken by him over the years, particularly of seminal DC legends like Minor Threat, though I may not have known at the time they were taken by him. His pictures […]

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