Zine Reviews

GREAT ROCK N ROLL DWINDLE, THE, #2, $4, trades welcome, 5” x 7”, glossy printed, full color, 28pgs.

In their own words: “We will keep pumping out the garbage content to fully convince you that punk rock is going strong despite entering the fifth decade of naysaying.” The Dwindle is a sort of catch-all “arts and culture” mag reflecting on punk present and past. It goes more for general reflection and critique than reports from any particular scene. While I enjoy The Dwindle’s schtick and verve, I found myself wanting a little more from this issue: perhaps more depth, as much of it is focused on “punk” as a large and diffuse concept, something that, as Joe Grease reflects in an astute piece on the strange alliance between the alt-right and punk (though perhaps not the other way around), means as many different things as there are punks and can be applied to a whole host of contexts. That said, I like what y’all are doing—I wouldn’t even go so far as the editors themselves as to call it garbage—and in this issue, I particularly liked Isa Sabraw’s digital collages and Joe Grease’s aforementioned short essay. –jimmy cooper (Kat Wood, 1337 Bates Ave., LA, CA, 90027, IG: @thegreatrocknrolldwindle)

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GREAT ROCK N ROLL DWINDLE, THE #2, $4, trades welcome, 5” x 7”, glossy printed, full color, 28 pgs.

Did you know that Penelope Spheeris directed both The Little Rascals and The Decline of Western Civilization? Well you will after the opening of this issue. Standouts in this multi-contributed zine include an essay on the current marriage between punk rock and the alt-right, with slogans like, “Trump is punk!”, which you can of course buy on a T-shirt if you so desire, and an essay on what the future of live music will be like after a year of COVID-19 shutting down venues and bands cancelling shows or tours. I see concerts creeping back into my social media, but I worry if we’re all maybe too optimistic (honestly, asking someone to mosh and wear a mask sounds like a recipe for passing out). The issue closes out with a review of SLC Punk, the contributor’s second viewing, and the differences between watching it as a kid versus as an adult. It made me remember how much I disliked the movie as a teenager, thinking Stevo really “sold out” in the end. Maybe it’s time for me to revisit this film as well. –Tricia Ramos (Kat Wood, 1337 Bates Ave., LA, CA, 90027, IG: @thegreatrocknrolldwindle)

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KINOGRAM #1: UNCLE JERRY, $5, 7” x 7”, full color, 20pgs.

Listen, I’m a sucker for a love letter. S, I hope you don’t mind my calling this that—all I mean to say is that I’m deeply touched by the sheer tenderness and reverence put into this zine. Kinogram #1 shares remembrances of the author’s late Uncle Jerry, who sounds like a character and a half. Mukherji weaves reflection and remembrance together well, not leaving out the mess of relationships. Loving and abusive, Jerry was a part of/subjected to—not as insurmountable tragedy—but as part of a long and storied life. The art, taking about half of each page, lends a mystique to the story, or rather, deepens it, and shows the level of contemplation and care at hand. Thank you, S, for sharing this eulogy with the rest of us. –jimmy cooper (S.A. Mukherji, 1375 Mecklenburg Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850)

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KNOWHUTIZINE, $7, 5½” x 8½”, copied, glossy cover, 42 pgs.

Razorcake’s very own Rick V. put together this zine with his pal, Dakota Floyd, from the band New Junk City. It’s basically everything you would ever want to know about the Ernest P. Worrell films from the ’80s and ’90s. Worrell was a fictional character played by Jim Varney who appeared in nine different films including: Ernest Goes to Camp, Ernest Goes to Jail, Ernest Joins the Army… and you get the idea. Some of these movies were, I think, supposed to be funny, but I never found them to be so. Rick and Dakota beg to differ. They go through each film, break it down, and rate it. In addition to that, they also find all the outlier TV shows and albums Ernest appears in and describe those. Finally, they include a few comics of Ernest-related tales. This is what one might call a labor of love, but if you’re into the Ernest films or have a fond memory of them, this will be all you’ll ever need. For what it’s worth, this zine at least got me to go back and watch the trailers for a few of the films. They were, uh, something. –Kurt Morris (itsmerickv.storenvy.com)

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LOAFING THE DONKEY #79, $4, 7” x 8½”, copied, 35 pgs.

The long-awaited new issue of Loafing the Donkey, Peter Mantis’s long-running zine dedicated to “trash American culture,” is finally here. After at least a four-year gap between this issue and the last, Mantis is back with a vengeance and has lots to catch his dedicated readers up on, including pets still kickin’ it (hi, Zontar!) and recently passed (R.I.P. Rita), thoughts on the pandemic and the new occupants of the White House, and praise for Motor City music. There are also in-depth write-ups on mail art, nonprofit radio, and Ann Arbor artist Jim Shaw. Guest writer Claire Moore-Avalon provides a review of Memphis-based outsider artist Nick Canterucci’s exhibit *Asterisk. And there is Mantis’s film review of Le Mans (1971), starring Steve McQueen. Definitely don’t sleep on this latest issue of Loafing the Donkey, now thirty-four years in print! –Gina Murrell (2264 Elzey Ave., Memphis, TN 38104-2455)

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MATCH, THE, #122, Free, 7” x 9½”, printed, 52 pgs.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read such an uneducated, inane publication. While The Match claims to be about anarchism, it’s not any type of anarchism I’m familiar with (and I consider myself a “fellow traveler” for almost twenty years). This publication (which is amazingly typeset and printed in this day and age of computers) features articles and editorials on events from the spring of 2021, which primarily means things regarding the pandemic. Surprisingly, the writers of The Match write that COVID isn’t really that bad, but rather a plot for the government to take further control of our lives. I will be sure and let the millions of people worldwide who died of COVID know that. (I’m sure the writers of the publication will say that’s the government exaggerating the numbers.) Lots of accusations and statements are thrown around with very little (if any) facts to back them up. There’s no mention of supporting other individuals as part of mutual aid or as a society. Instead, this publication seems to twist anarchism into some selfish version of libertarianism where kindness, love, and respect are thrown out the window. Instead, paranoia and selfishness tend to be the ideas here. So, if that’s not enough of a reason not to pick this up, I’ll add in a few more. In this issue I learned: you shouldn’t have to use someone’s preferred pronouns when addressing them, Asians are referred to as Orientals (and Beijing is still referred to as Peking), COVID can transform our DNA, the phrase “PowerPoint slide deck” doesn’t make any sense, COVID contact-tracers and Dr. Anthony Fauci are the same as the cops, and so on. Oh, and because social media companies (which are privately owned) bar people from spreading disinformation about COVID, we might as well be living in the old Soviet Union. Fuck this selfish, fearful, alt-right version of anarchism (if you can even call it that). –Kurt Morris (PO Box 3012, Tucson, AZ 85702)

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MINOR LEAGUES #11, £4, 6” x 9”, copied, 68 pgs.

An issue of Simon’s fanzine was the first piece of mail I received at my new house a few years back. After that, new releases arrived like clockwork, until recently, when Simon wrapped his multi-issue Where?, an arc about identity, loss, death, and geography (which has been published as a book I haven’t gotten ahold of yet). I think I started to take Simon’s stuff, always dazzling, for granted because it arrived with such regularity. After a pandemic-induced break, Simon is back with another fantastic issue, further cementing Minor Leagues’ must-read status. This one feels a little more prose-heavy than previous issues, with vignettes and ruminations on the pandemic juxtaposed with Simon’s impressionistic cartooning and found images to produce unexpected connections. Minor Leagues is always inviting and fantastic despite (or perhaps because of) its deep individuality—no other zine does what this one does. Its specific vernacular sets it apart from the rest, not like “fuck you if you don’t get my thing” mold, but instead in a “this is what I do and cheers if it’s for you” mold. –Michael T. Fournier (smoo.bigcartel.com)

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MOST UNWANTED ZINE, $5, 5½” x 8½”, risograph cover, black and white copied interiors, 26 pgs.

Honestly, bravo. Liz Mason polled many a zine reader (and makers) to ask, “What is the number one thing you don’t want in a zine?” And this is the result. No poetry, no self-indulgent drama or woes, no scene report, no music reviews. At first when I started reading it, I felt like I was being pranked. The content is a mishmash with no particular rhyme or reason, purposely contradictory, and complete with satire. It felt like it was written by Lewis Carroll (or at the very least, the caterpillar). At first I was mad, but once I realized it was intentionally made to be “The Most Unwanted Zine,” I got it. Also, I genuinely liked the five pages of just thirty photos of fire escapes. –Tricia Ramos (PO Box 477553, Chicago, IL 60647, Etsy.com/shop/lizmasonzines)

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NEW WAVE CHICKEN #9, $4, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 34 pgs.

The editor of this long-running Hawaiian fanzine has had health scares in the past few years, which led him to reconnect with friends. In this art-themed issue, he interviews and celebrates his crew, discussing their impetuses and creative processes. Interviews with Hudley Flipside, art director Al Garr, and the anonymous art director of John Zorn’s Tzadik Records are among the engaging conversations in this issue. –Michael T. Fournier (PO Box 880081, Pukalani, HI 96788)

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PROOF I EXIST #35, $2, 4” x 5 ¼”, copied, 62 pgs.

Billy McCall is a zine veteran who’s produced quality material for over a decade. He’s has a zine series, Last Night at the Casino, about working in a casino as a dealer and covered all sorts of other stuff. All of it’s been a pleasure to read over the years. His most regular title is Proof I Exist and this time he makes a departure from the usual perzine subject matter to make a collage about the pandemic. Taking headlines, advertisements, and social media tweets and using one per page with a date, he shows the stages of the virus’s spread and its impact on our lives and culture. Seeing it all unfold gives a disturbing look at it all in hindsight, making for a compelling piece of art. It’s no less disturbing reading a headline like “Lysol Maker, Officials Reject Trump’s Disinfectant Idea” than it was on April 24, 2020. Reading “Customers Shot 2 McDonald’s Employees After Being Asked to Leave Due to Coronavirus Restrictions” above the date of May 6, 2020 is even more stressful, because in the onslaught of tragic news, I either forgot this story or overlooked it, taking in other horrors. It’s a serious, relevant piece of art. You have to admire Billy for having the foresight to collect all this stuff while some of us were getting shitfaced alone, staring at the wall, vigorously masturbating, and scrubbing the grout from the bathroom tiles with our roommate’s toothbrush. –Craven Rock ([email protected])

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PUNXELATED #3, 10€, 8½” x 11½”, glossy, color, 64 pgs.

It’s been years since Marc Gärtner put out his last issue of Punxelated. However, the pandemic gave him the opportunity to scrape together some great color photographs for this issue. Marc is a German-based photographer and this issue has photos of punk bands including Bad Cop/Bad Cop, The Lillingtons, War On Women, and a number of other bands I wasn’t familiar with, most likely because they’re from Europe and I’m in the States. That said, Marc has come to The Fest in Gainesville a number of times and many of the shots are from that event. He does a great job capturing performances from a number of angles. Many of the shots are right up front and depict lots of emotion and action, including literal blood and sweat (but no tears that I could see). In one shot of a musician screaming, I could see his uvula. There is also some writing by Marc about trips to Belgium and about the band Iron Chic. This is a little pricey, but if you want to see talented, high-quality action photos of some great punk bands, this is worth getting. –Kurt Morris (punxelated.com)

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RAZORBLADES AND ASPIRIN #12, $10, 8½” x 11”, full color glossy, 80 pgs.

Staring out from the cover of this issue of Razorblades and Aspirin is a familiar image of a big-eyed Darby Crash. Documenting punk and hardcore through various photographers, new and old, showcasing the movement and energy and raw emotion of being at a show, Razorblades and Aspirin is a photozine I always look forward to receiving. Featured in this issue is a photography legend in music, Edward Colver. If you’ve never heard of him, but are a fan of punk and hardcore from the 1980s, you’ve definitely seen his photos. Classic images of Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Ice Cube, and more, his images document such an important time in music. Other featured photographers in this issue are Becky DiGiglio, Joseph Carey, Kirsten Thoen, Adam Lowe, and Anthony Mehlhaff. –Tricia Ramos (razorbladesandaspirin.bigcartel.com)

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