RIOT 77 #21, €3 plus postage, 8¼” x 11⅝”, offset, 52 pgs.
The first time I remember any punkly entity using “77” as a suffix indicating fealty to first wave punk rock, it was the English band Resistance 77, circa 1982. The fact that I have firsthand knowledge of this situation indicates that I am likely smack dab in this publication’s target demographic: Old punk dudes. Seriously, this thing looks like a punk version of AARP magazine; photos of elderly punks are splashed across almost every page. A timely snapshot of contemporary youth culture it is not. The upside of this state of affairs is that, for once, all the bands interviewed are bands that I actually know and like.Amazing, huh? I mean, it’s cool to be periodically tuned into the doings of the current movers ‘n’ shakers on the scene and all, but there’s also something to be said for reading about bands to whom you’ve been listening for thirty or forty years, ya know? Interviews in this issue include Aussie headbangers Rose Tattoo, English rockabilly stalwarts The Polecats, and first wave London punkers The Wasps. There’s also an interview with rant-poet Tim Wells, but I admit I don’t really know that guy. The editor also reviews all the shows he saw in the last half of 2018, which is quite a hefty amount of live music coverage, and also provides additional opportunities for printing photos of old people. The zine is nicely laid out, the photos are great, and they manage to fit a fricking ton of text on each page—this is suddenly kind of my favorite zine right now. I’m not sure if that makes me happy or worried. –Rev. Nørb (Cian Hynes, PO Box 11342, Dublin 2, Ireland)
BORN RIGHT: SURGERY, BODY IMAGE, AND OWNING IT, $9 ppd., black and white w/glossy cover, 24 pgs.
The surgical autobiography of Minneapolis writer and zinester Emma Johnson, whose zines I’ve dug every time I’ve seen them, chronologizes her surgeries from six years old to her most recent just this year, and the related stigma, trauma, and issues of self-image. The medical establishment is not kind—often least so to those who need the most care—and particularly when it comes to the “normal.” Johnson calls for “a different language of beauty,” in contrast to those who, to reassure, would tell her that they “couldn’t even tell” when she is entirely aware that her face looks different than most. In this language of beauty, maybe we’d all have a little more autonomy over our bodies and appearances. Though I cannot relate to the particular intensity of her medical experience, I saw my own transitional desires reflected in her desire to see herself in a different way than she appeared to the world, and the trepidation that goes into making that happen. –jimmy cooper (Emma Johnson, freaktension.com)
BROKEN PENCIL #85, $7.95, 8½” x 11”, printed, 72 pgs.
Long-standing “magazine of zine culture and the independent arts” that has somehow evaded my radar screen until now. I’m sorry I missed out. There are tons of reviews and shorter pieces, but unlike many other zine zines, Broken Pencil takes time to dig deeper, with great features on Hong Kong zinesters standing strong in the midst of the country’s ongoing political turmoil, and public murals as balm and pushback against the opioid crisis. Impressive and recommended. –Michael T. Fournier (PO Box #177, Sanborn, NY 14132)
DEEP FRIED ZINE MPLS #17, $1, 8½” x 11”, copied, 20 pgs.
This is a unique zine with a focus on fast food—both worldwide but also in Minneapolis. It’s a mish-mash of short articles, photos, and art. One piece covers the sale of a paper plate from a pizza joint used by Kurt Cobain to write a Nirvana set list. Another recalls when Willie Nelson was in a Taco Bell commercial. There are also interviews with artist Jason Steady and the band Lazear. Both interviews relate back to fast food, though. The zine is a quick, weird read. If you’re really into odd fast food stories, then this is the zine for you. For a buck, you can’t beat it. –Kurt Morris (2901 Yosemite Ave. S., St. Louis Park, MN 55416)
DISTURBANCE, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 28 pgs.
This is a great resource for any local scene. Disturbance is based out of Wilmington, Del. and jam packs a lot of info for anyone looking to get into DIY music. For one, there’s a listing for all upcoming shows at the very front. The editor’s note is about the importance of all-ages, underground music spaces, as well as offering unsolicited advice to anyone reading who is interested in throwing house shows. Just hope the cops don’t email you! There are a couple of record reviews in here: one for Merger, and one for Eyebawl. The later band’s front person is also interviewed in this issue. To top it all off, there are adverts from several local businesses and bands, as well as some decent live band photos from shows past. Nice little snapshot into a local scene report. –Kayla Greet (Impetus, 13 Delaware Ave., Claymont, DE 19703, impetusde.com)
FLUKE #17, $5 ppd., 5½” x 8½”, printed, 52 pgs.
Matthew Thompson’s long-running zine is back with another great issue. Every issue of Fluke includes some Venn diagram of skating, street art, local punk coverage, and excellent writing from people in the punk scene. The local focus on Matt’s hometown of Little Rock is in full effect here, with an interview with artist Nate Powell, also of Soophie Nun Squad. (The accompanying Little Rock scene family tree alone is worth the price of admission.) Matt also interviews the folks behind the skate mag archiving project undertaken by the Look Back Library, and Nxoeed interviews fellow artist Danny Martin. Essays and poetry round things out. Fluke is always a standout in my review pile. What are you waiting for? –Michael T. Fournier (bit.ly/fluke17)
GERMAN COMPLIMENT #2, sold out, 5¾” x 8¼”, black and white, copied.
German Compliment is a wry German DIY punk fanzine. It’s funny, irrelevant to almost everyone (I mean this only as a compliment), and offers real, wry insight into not just the German scene but DIY culture as a whole. It bitches about the scene while showing continued dedication to keeping it intact, something all of us could learn from. Far too often, toxic behavior goes unchecked and conflict goes unresolved in scene politics. But this zine both calls out shitty behavior and seeks to resolve it, celebrating the good stuff in between. International zines such as this, too, always remind me of my privilege: to be able to assume that the media I’d like to consume will be accessible to me is entitled and unrealistic, and the folks who make their work accessible to people like me who only speak one language are amazing. German Compliment is mostly bilingual, though a few parts remain in the original German because translating is a pain in the ass. They only make one remark regarding this: “we recommend learning a second language.” They’re right, of course, as they are calling out “apolitical” punks, encouraging you to wear the shirt for a local band to the show, and asking you to get to the goddamn gig. Unfortunately, this issue is sold out, but I’d wager the next one will be worth picking up, too. –jimmy cooper (keepitasecret.limitedrun.com)
LOITERING & BENEVOLENCE, $2, black and white w/color cover, 12 pgs.
The thing about punks is that we love to talk about punk. What it means to be, what it means to do, who is and is not, some defining philosophy. Well, Daryl talks about punk the way I wish everyone did: with joy, hope, and a critical eye that sees through the bullshit we’re all prone to. Really, the cover image (by Marcos Siref) says it all in two words: “Never stop.” There is a reason we’re in this, even if it’s sometimes shitty and hard. These essays and reviews, with the exception of the title essay, were all previously published in Razorcake, but they make a nice standalone selection and all are inspiring to keep on truckin’, keep on punkin’, and keep on fightin’ the good fight. Full of one-liner nuggets of truth: “You will be coming of age until the day you die.” This is a love letter to punk, not just a band or a scene (though that’s there, too) but the multiplicitous force that keeps us together. –jimmy cooper (Daryl Gussin, [email protected])
MELT GIRL, 5½” x 8½”, offset, 12 pgs.
What you get here are three horror stories of what Steven King would call the gross-out variety (and without judgment). The first story, “Melt Girl,”is about a girl who regularly melts into sloppy goo navigating the dating world. The ending surprised me. “Necksnapper”is about a woman killing a bunch of crows for a fetish porn shoot. I know horror is, at the very least, supposed to make you uncomfortable to be successful, but I’m a big fan of crows so, fuck that! “T-shirt Pants”was about a serial killer who keeps the T-shirts of the people he kills in his pants until the tables are turned on him. It should be noted that the author Emma Alice Johnson is a bit of a pro and the winner of the Wonderland Book Award. –Craven Rock (freaktension.com)
MINOR LEAGUES #9, $8?, 8½” x 9”, copied, 108 pgs.
This is the fourth and final installment of “Where?”, editor Simon Moreton’s epic attempt to process his father’s death. Simon’s prose is crisp and evocative throughout, interspersed with found clippings and increasingly chiaroscuro artwork which evokes as much as it describes. Throughout the run of this series I have been so, so impressed by the gossamer connections and implications Simon has woven through his narrative: he connects trauma and loss to landscape and geography to stunning effect. Some of the best zine writing and art in my recent memory—absolutely haunting and essential. Don’t sleep. –Michael T. Fournier (smoo.bigcartel.com)
PIGEE, THE #2, $?, 4¼” x 5½”, copied, 16 pgs.
The folks from State Champion Records interview Glazer and Spowder on the occasion of those two bands’ split single. Usually I’m not a huge fan of label-run zines like this, but the interview is funny, the fiction included is a trip, and the digital download the band provides—featuring tracks by Clown Sounds, Exmaid, and Screaming Females, among others—totally smokes. Worth a look, for sure. –Michael T. Fournier (statechampionrecords.bandcamp.com)
PIT DWELLERS, $1, 2½” x 4¼”, Laserjet, 9 pgs.
Anna Ahearn’s zines are always dope as hell, and fucking cute. She’s got this style that makes you want to drop in on those ’toons and hang out with cute, smelly possums. This mini-zine has a collection of those you encounter in the pits. It has the dwellers from “angry bro” to the “bowling ball.” Who hasn’t had a run-in with an angry bro just punching his way through the crowd and pissing you off? In this case, you’d be more likely to get pissed and then say “Aww,” because he’s a cute-ass brown bear in this zine. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Anna Draws, AnnaDrawMeStuff.com)
RUSH HOUR DON’T, $10, 4¼” x 5½”, Laserjet, 8 pgs.
There’s a new Rush Hour film coming out with Li Bingbing… maybe. What really matters is that maybe this means that we can finally move on from ruining ’80s movies and start ruining ’90s movies. Still, maybe these movies weren’t so great for some small reasons such as—oh I don’t know—casual racism? This love/hate zine about Brenda’s relationship with Rush Hour explores this issue with everyone’s favorite Jackie Chan movie that isn’t Drunken Master 2. Check it out; it can help you understand how important representation is and how poorly it has been in the past decade. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Brenda Chi, BrendaChi.com)
SLINGSHOT #130, Free, 8½” x 11”, newsprint, 16 pgs.
Slingshot has never disappointed. Radical publications sometimes fall into reproducing essentially the same ideas and pieces, but I’ve never experienced this with Slingshot. They meditate, though, on how to decide what to publish in the first place— what, they ask, is worth the resources, not in the form of time or money, per se, but in the environmental cost of print media. Print isn’t dead and I don’t want it to be, but it’s a valuable question. This issue features a great dispatch from the Zone a Défendre (ZAD), an autonomous zone in France, by an artist who deftly ties together the threads of art, politics, and life. An article on the artists’ role in the current Hong Kong struggle salutes protest and art, and the “Be Water” philosophy enacted both in Hong Kong and in the Stop Line 3 movement. Quality coverage of the recent climate strikes and advice on parenting (or not), supporting friends struggling with addiction, and creating intentional community. Always glad to pick up a Slingshot, and don’t forget that many of the articles, including the ones in the yearly planner, are available online (but also don’t forget to support organizations and publications you love). –jimmy cooper (Slingshot Collective, PO Box 3051 Berkeley, CA 94703, slingshotcollective.org, [email protected])
TORSOS,$?, 5¼” x 6¾”, Laserjet, 28 pgs.
Have you ever watched a Cronenberg movie and were disgusted? Well, this isn’t as bad but it did give me some weird goose bumps since the main characters in this zine are torsos with eyes instead of breasts, and mouths instead of a belly button. It’s not horrifying like Cronenberg, so I don’t know exactly why I compared it, but you knew exactly what I meant when I said that. The artwork is black ink heavy, as if Dr. Gurlfriend’s pen dripped with manic passion as she inked furiously. The comic zine follows the tour of the band Torsos as they go about being a bunch of weirdos, and their drug-fueled hallucination and adventures! It reminds me of myself, a horrifying Cronenberg scumbag. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Various, arfranklinstein.storenvy.com)
TRUST #197, €3.5, 8½” x 11”, printed, 68 pgs.
Hell, yes. This German language zine is the longest-running punk/hardcore zine on the planet (“sorry @maxrnr”). Unfortunately for me, I can’t read German and can only decipher bits and pieces. Beyond that, this zine is fucking beautiful. The stark graphics are clean but exciting, with a powerful punk aesthetic. Lots of black ink and beautiful photos. Inside are all your favorite zine features: columns (one features Bandcamp reviews), interviews (Samiam, Sunn O))), Dr. Strange Records, Corporate Rock Still Sucks, Sister Disaster, Seax, Postford), record/zine reviews, art, and much, much more. Totally worth supporting for the longevity alone, but if the writing is in the same league as the visuals/content selection, this one kills it. –Buddha (Trust, Verlag, Postfach 11 07 62, 28087 Bremen, Germany, trust-zine.de)
TYPE 2: TRAVEL STORIES, $4, 5½” x 4¼”, color, printed.
I’ve loved the way Bryan’s photographs—particularly their portraits—trap moments and people in their messy entirety since we started trading zines a few years ago. Of course, this is the on-paper objective of most photography, to preserve and protect, but particularly now that everyone has a camera in their pocket (I say, as if I have been cognizant of living in an era where this wasn’t true), this often is not the case. I might go so far as to say that there are more empty photographs than those that mean something. Anyways, this zine puts stories of “type 2 fun”—awful while it’s happening, valuable, delightful even, in retrospect—alongside eight photographs of the people and places recounted. Memorializing despair and joy alike and blurring the lines between them, this is a super sweet zine. Also worth mentioning: as always, the prints are quality and the cover is a nice cardstock. Would also recommend checking out issues of Restless Legs, their long-running photozine, if you get the chance. –jimmy cooper (2220 16th Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55404, cargocollective.com/bryanbrybry, [email protected])
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RIOT 77 #21, €3 plus postage, 8¼” x 11⅝”, offset, 52 pgs.