Featured Zine Reviews Razorcake 109: Visualizing the History of Fugazi, The American Indian Ready To Wear Catalog, Biff Boff Bam Sock, Skating with Shes and Hers
VISUALIZING THE HISTORY OF FUGAZI, $10, 20” x 14”, newsprint, 8 pgs.
An hour after this arrived at my place I wrote the author a fan letter. No shit. Carni Klirs, like so many of us, has spent hours on the Fugazi Live Series page, cycling through all their shows, calculating the band’s drives, noting which groups they played with the most, all that cool stuff. Mr. Klirs aggregated data about Fugazi from their live series page on Dischord and turned the raw numbers into a series of gorgeous, poster-sized infographics. He included a map diagramming the routing of every show the band played, breaking down the shows by number played in each state and country; a four-tiered family tree including band-to-band connections which connect Ian and co. to such sundried acts as Sheila E. and the E Street Band; a chart detailing all the benefits the band played and the money they raised—and these are just three of the pages herein! Staggering in scope and execution. I might have to buy a few more copies so I can frame every page. Punk’s not a competition, but this wins the issue. –Michael T. Fournier (carniklirs.com/project/fugazi)
AMERICAN INDIAN READY TO WEAR CATALOG, THE, $5, 5½” x 8½”, cardstock, 12 pgs.
In this satirical catalog, the writer/illustrator team of Joey Clift and Janet Myer, both members of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, presents readers with a handful of exciting ways to accessorize and appropriate their way to chic Native “authenticity.” Trendy looks include “The Disney’s Pocahontas” (“Animal Friends—$500: If all of your friends aren’t literal animals, are you really an Indian?”), “The Land O’ Lakes Butter Maiden” (“Joy Derived from Giving Your Food to White People—Priceless”), and more. Clift and Myer take on racist depictions of Native people with biting wit, sparing no one from sports mogul Daniel Snyder (guess which team) to teen heartthrob Taylor Lautner. They’re also mother and son, which is awesome. This would make an enlightening gift to that special feather-bedecked festivalgoer or smudge-happy holistic punk in all our lives. –Indiana Laub (Red Cat Press, redcatpress.com)
ASYMMETRICAL ANTI-MEDIA #2, SASE or trade, 5 ½” x 8 ½”, copied, 8 pgs.
Asymmetrical Anti-Media is a review zine that manages to make the format interesting and engaging with how the editor injects his personality into the reviews of other zines out there, with what he likes, why he feels the way he does about a particular facet, or what he dislikes and why. Sort of like a micro version of the Mike Gunderloy-era of Factsheet Five. His enthusiasm comes across well. I hope to see more issues in the future and that it grows in size. –Matt Average (Jason Rogers, PO Box 10894, Albany, NY 12201)
BIFF BOFF BAM SOCK #5, $4, 5 ½” x 8½”, copied, 20 pgs.
I saw a meme the other week about how schools teach us all this stuff about Christopher Columbus as well as how to solve complex math problems but they don’t teach us how to manage our personal finances. (Or a lot of skills we need to use on a daily basis.) Thankfully, Anna has written a wonderful short zine about how to manage your money. It includes info on savings, retirement, IRAs, credit scores, and making a budget. Some of that may not seem real exciting, but it’s done in a very simple, straightforward manner, and there are nice, crisp graphics, too. I appreciated the list of resources. Anyone who is looking to get a grasp on how to manage their money will likely find this issue of Biff Boff Bam Sock to be helpful. –Kurt Morris (annajobeck.com)
BIFF BOFF BAM SOCK #8, $6, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 28 pgs.
The fact that this zine is subtitled “For Your Health” made me want to watch a bunch of Dr. Steve Brule videos, but I refrained and instead dove in to the twenty-eight pages that hope to aid the reader in making sense of the American health insurance system. Considering how complex the system is, Anna did a great job at distilling the basics and explaining frequently used terms like deductible, co-pay, premium, COBRA, and more. The last section gives her opinions on the health insurance industry and she has some skin in the game since her husband had cancer. So I appreciated getting her two cents on the issue. As someone who has navigated the insurance system a lot over the past twenty years (thanks, mental illness!) and who is the son of an insurance agent, I commend Anna on doing a solid job. She has her shit down and even taught me a few things, not to mention she includes great resources for the reader to learn more. Recommended. –Kurt Morris (annajobeck.com)
BIFF BOFF BAM SOCK #9, $6, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 24 pgs.
Do you not have a clue how voting and government works? Do you want to know who your elected officials are? Perhaps you want to know how to get registered to vote? Anna’s latest issue of Biff Boff Bam Sock is comprised of everything you could want to know about how voting works and getting to know who represents you. I’ll be honest: voting can seem like a waste of time, but as we have seen in the U.S. in 2016 and 2018, every vote counts and can greatly change how things work at the local, state, and federal levels. With detailed, yet accessible information as well as a plethora of resources, this is a great zine to get if you are looking to get engaged with politics at any level. And nowadays you don’t have an excuse not to. –Kurt Morris (annajobeck.com)
BIG TAKEOVER, THE, #83, $5.99, 8 ½” x 11, printed, 152 pgs.
Another issue of Jack Rabid’s consistently excellent, sprawling, long-running zine. Interviews this time include D.O.A. and Tony Molina. You can expect scads of columns, reviews, and opinions throughout, written by passionate, smart, opinionated music fans. Always a great read and worthy of your support. –Michael T. Fournier (356 4th Street, 2nd Floor, Brooklyn NY 11215)
CLOCK TOWER NINE #14, $3, 5½” x 8½”, risograph cover, copied interiors, 36 pgs.
This multi-contributor zine opens with a personal story from the head collaborator. Titled “The Last Record I Would Ever Sell,” it tells one person’s introduction to the world of vinyl, record stores, and punk rock. It makes up the first half of the zine. The second half is filled with essays about personal 8-track collections, video games, and religion (and one person’s choice to not participate). A fun, quick read. –Tricia Ramos (Clock Tower Nine, antiquatedfuture.com)
DEEP FRIED MINNEAPOLIS #15, $1, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 20 pgs.
Sometimes I almost feel like I’m being pandered to when I find a zine or book or whatever that has so many things I love in it. Deep Fried MPLS is a publication I’d heard of but never read. And what better time to start than now? Especially when the cover is Robocop, one of the best movies of all time. Now, you may be asking why the bot of the Detroit PD is on the cover holding a drumstick (the chicken kind, not percussion kind). Not only does this issue educate us on the time Robocop was in a Korean fried chicken commercial, but it also has an interview with the punk band Murph who is named after the cop who gets cyborged. As an aside, I love that the zine recommends Murph’s music for “people who have always wanted to go to a GWAR show.” This zine stays very on brand and only asks them questions about junk food. Some of the other features in this issue include letters from inmates about the menu at San Quentin, an interview with Nick Murray of Fancy Lad Skateboards, and this amazing tale of the anonymous punk who unknowingly decorated Grant Hart’s memorial cake. There’s a lot of super fun stuff in here that is awesome for fans of punk and/or junk food. I imagine there’s a sizable cross over. –Kayla Greet (2901 Yosemite Ave. S, St. Louis Park, MN 55416, [email protected])
FLUKE #16, $4 ppd., 5½” x 8½”, printed, 32 pgs.
Matthew Thompson’s long-running zine turns its keen eye on Arizona artist Nxoeed. His distinct style is showcased in works of art hidden all over his home state—a map is included so readers can get in on the fun. Nxoeed discusses process, his do-it-yourself ethos, and Phoenix’s best copy machines. This one feels a lot like one of those issues of Cometbus in which Aaron shone a spotlight on talented friends—which is to say that this issue of Fluke, like usual, is essential. –Michael T. Fournier (PO Box 1547, Phoenix AZ 85001, or bit.ly/fluke16)
FLUKE #16, $4 ppd., 5½” x 8½”, printed, 32 pgs.
This issue is focused solely on the art of Phoenix-based artist Nxoeed. His style is a mix of horror, sci fi, and music flyer art—sometimes collage, sometimes comic panel, and at other times standalone pieces with various words layered in the background. There’s also a pretty interesting interview with him. It gives you an idea of where he’s coming from and how he works, which is pretty inspiring. It also covers art hunts that run throughout the entire state of Arizona (where he has hidden paintings), his sticker drops, and flyering his art around town. Not to be constrained by the gallery system, as art is for the people. –Matt Average (PO Box 1547, Phoenix, AZ 85001, [email protected])
G.A. MUTT #3, $3 ppd., 8½” x 11”, black and white, 28 pgs.
Continuing punk-centric musings mostly centered around New Paltz, N.Y. Having not seen the first two issues, I feel like I missed something that was happening on the supposed continued e-mail adventures of Dave Grohl, but I did love the collage of college radio station review stickers (“Is This Love?” (’cause it sure ain’t music)). There was also a clutch of album reviews and a really glowing write up of the Screaming Females recent live shows and album, which makes me want to check them out again, as I haven’t done a very good job of keeping up with the band the last few years. The capper of the whole zine is an extensive review of the CBGB film from 2013, that A.) reminded me that that was a thing that happened, and B.) perversely made me want to see the film now. The hook to this issue of the zine though is the random Greg Ginn “commentary” popping up every few pages like an extremely SST-centric version of Sergio Aragonés margin doodles. –Adrian Salas (John Tapper, 12 Pinecrest Rd., New Paltz, NY, 12561, gamutt.storenvy.com)
KNOW-IT-ALL ASSHOLE JERK, $5 ppd., 6½” x 8½”, 54 pgs.
Despite what the cover and title may lead one to believe, this isn’t a Breakfast Club or Judd Nelson fanzine. This zine is instead a collection of short, true stories from Adel Souto’s Know-It-All Asshole Jerk blog that deal with the strange and out of the ordinary. The subject matter focuses more on art world oddities, spectacularly elaborate pranks, and decidedly unique individuals rather than the paranormal, but there’s more than enough to make one go on multiple internet deep dives to find out more on most of the stories. This actually makes me think a lot of the type of stuff that Ripley’s Believe It or Not would cover. All the stories inside caught my interest, with some ones that really stuck with me, including the tale of the Ovechkin family who made a jump from being a family Dixieland jazz band in Russia to armed terrorists, Charles Mingus’s detailed instructions for toilet training cats, and the story performance artist John Duncan’s Blind Date piece which… well you just have to read about it. –Adrian Salas (adelsouto.com, knowitallassholejerk.com, [email protected])
MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL #427 Re-do, $4.99, 8½” x 11½”, newsprint, 40 pgs.
This issue is the #427 re-do, because the original cover showcased cisgender white male band Proto Idiot, chosen for the cover instead of other bands interviewed that included people of color. Because of this cover, the other interviews may have been overlooked. MRR decided the best way to give these interviews the attention and recognition that they deserve was printing a re-do, upside-down and backwards from #428. MRR said they chose Proto Idiot because they provided high-resolution, never-before-printed photos. I think if MRR had reached out to the bands requesting new photos, bands could have provided them. Apologies alluded that they’re going to work harder to make future cover choices more of a collaborative effort within the staff, as opposed to one person doing so. Miranda Fisher, the content coordinator for MRR, took the blame and said, “This magazine has a lot to work on in terms of its institutional white supremacy; I am unquestionably part of that, and I need to do a better job of acknowledging and combating it. This shows even in my reaction to the cover of 427; I should have seen immediately the hurt that it caused people, but I did not. I’d like to thank those who brought this issue to light for me.” I’m hoping that MRR will keep that promise, and feature more artists of color and marginalized folks. To show transparency, the magazine is making the emails to the bands explaining the situation and offering to re-run their interviews, and all the meeting notes available to the readers upon request. Reprinted interviews were Jabber (love them!), The Funs, The Shifters, Choked Up (featured on the re-do cover), lié, Marrón, and Giant Peach. I’m happy these interviews were given the opportunity to be printed again, and glad that so many spoke up about what happened. –Cynthia Pinedo (Maximum Rocknroll, maximumrocknroll.com)
MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL #428, $4.99, 8½” x 11½”, newsprint, 111 pgs.
Issue #428 features Singapore’s Sial on the cover, and their interview touches a bit on the Singaporean punk scene. This issue also has a great feature on Black and Brown Punk Fest TX, written by co-organizer Daisy Salinas. The letters section features a letter by Daniel Becker about the unjustified boycott of Israeli punks in MRR, and how not many folks in Israel want to contribute content for MRR anymore. Becker was approached to contribute an Israeli scene report and it caused a lot of frustration for him. Vicky Cassis (the distro coordinator) and MRR replied with an apology, and reviewer Ramy Silyan explains how behind closed doors, Becker decided to not print the story and spread false information about the mag. Ramy opens up the mail to other international punks who feel frustrated in their situations to speak out, and decolonize punk. This issue also contains an interview between Jonny of Jonny Cat Records, and Mark from TKO Records about how their record labels came to be, numerous band interviews, a feature on This Is Austin, Not That Great, and a Belgium scene report. As you may have heard, MRR is ceasing physical printing of their magazine in 2019 after thirty-seven years, so this issue is one of the last few to be printed. Be sure to pick it up, and read the double #427/428 issue! –Cynthia Pinedo (Maximum Rocknroll, maximumrocknroll.com)
PUNKS AROUND #2: MUTANT MANIAC, $3, 4” x 7”, copied, 38 pgs.
The four stories that comprise Mutant Maniac are written by Justin Maurer, whom you might know from his band, Clorox Girls. One story takes place in high school when he was forced to deal with skinheads at a show, another looks at the time he played in Mexico with Clorox Girls. Justin also had to deal with a felony charge that was the result of exposing himself on stage. The last story is about the beauty of being on tour in Italy. He does a wonderful job of putting the reader in the scene, wherever the locale. I found his writing lively and engaging. It’s a shame there aren’t more stories here. I would certainly read an entire book of his tales from the road. –Kurt Morris (Microcosm, 2752 N. Williams Ave., Portland, OR 97227)
RAZORBLADES AND ASPIRIN #4, $10, 5½ x 8½”, black and white glossy printed, 60 pgs.
Self-described “Hardcore Punk Photozine,” Razorblades and Aspirin is exactly that. In glossy black and white, these photos of hardcore or punk bands playing live are full of movement, emotion, sweat, and energy. If you’re looking for a photo zine that translates to someone visually what it’s like to experience a hardcore punk show, then this is the one. –Tricia Ramos (Razorblades and Aspirin, 507 29th St., Richmond, VA 23223, razorbladesandaspirin.bigcartel.com)
RAZORBLADES AND ASPIRIN #4.75, $10, 8 ½” x 11”, full color offset, 20 pgs.
The ever-prolific Mike Thorn has been cranking these out for the past couple years. He seems to be all over the world taking photos of just about any punk band out there, shooting the well known as well as the up and comers. This issue has Strife, along with bands like Pawns, Systematic Death, Modern Life Is War, Destruct, Praise, Muro (best photo of the issue), and more. The color printing is pretty good with everything popping off the page and putting you in the moment, as best as the printed media can. –Matt Average (PO Box 23173, Richmond, VA 23223-9993, [email protected])
SKATING WITH SHES AND HERS #3, $10, 7” x 8½”, glossy printed, 22 pgs.
Third volume of a project with the goal to talk to every female or genderqueer skater whose session overlapped with the author’s. Skateboarding can be a very cisgender male-saturated environment, and this series of zines sets out to interview, photograph, and connect with different lady and non-binary skaters, talking to them about their experiences, how long they’ve been skating, advice for new skaters, and what they love about skateboarding. The accompanying photos show the faces of smiling shredders, some in action, and some posed with their boards. As a beginning skater myself, I know all too well how alienating going to a skatepark can be, and this zine was an inspiring and motivating discovery. Keep ripping it up! –Tricia Ramos (Skating With Shes And Hers, [email protected])
TATTOO PUNK #2, 8 ½” x 11”, copied, full color cover, 18 pgs.
Now, in overrated life decisions news… tattoos! Yep, it’s a whole zine interviewing punks who have and do tattoos. Tattoos to me are like children. I didn’t go my whole life without having any, just to listen to you boast about yours. Yup, I’m about the last person that should be reviewing this zine. But I bit the bullet and was surprised to find it engaging because the punks have a lot to say—about a lot of stuff not just tattoos—and have led interesting lives. A tattooed guy named Bobby talks about his band, The Lion’s Cage, and being profiled by the police. Punkemao from Chile talks about his band Tension 73 and living in a post-Pinochet Chile. Tattoo artist Charlene Baitaille talks about coming out and sobering up. Zoe Burke lives in a tiny house in a New York City backyard. There’s still plenty of tattoo talk if don’t have enough of it on the daily. –Craven Rock (Tattoo Punk c/o Nuts! Fanzine, PO Box 1959, New York, NY, 10013, tattoopunkfanzine.com, [email protected])
XEROGRAPHY DEBT #44, $4, 5½” x 8½”, printed. 64 pgs.
Always nice to see this one arrive. If you’re not familiar, Xerography Debt is almost all reviews: zinesters (like Liz Mason of Quimby’s, who Mike Faloon and I shared a bill with this summer in Chicago) review zines. The tone is utterly devoid of snark, which is great. The positive vibes herein always make me seek out new reading material. You should, too. –Michael T. Fournier (via Microcosm, 2752 N. Williams Ave., Portland OR 97217)
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