A BEAT OF OUR OWN #2, $2, 8 ½” x 11”, newsprint, 40 pgs.
This newsprint zine is all interviews. Most of the interviews are with members of bands from twenty or thirty years ago like The Avengers, The Hated, and A.P.P.L.E., doing a shallow rehashing of the history of the music that they were making while many of us were in diapers. Though I do love a lot of original punk, I question why someone would devote an entire zine to these old stories when there are so many new ones happening right now. History is important, but such a backward-looking perspective is detrimental to what is, supposedly, a forward-looking culture. –CT Terry (Jared/A Beat Of Our Own, 123 B Park Ave., Raleigh, NC 27605)
AGAINST, #1 and 2, $2, 8 ½” x 6”, 50 and 48 pgs.
Darn it. Each issue of Against is an ongoing piece of a novel—about dealing with living in a boring middle of nowhere town—and getting out and moving on to something else with your life. Why the “darn it”? I totally tried doing this once, and it sucked compared to this. –Joe Evans III (Riley MacLead, 1157 43rd Street, 01, Brooklyn NY 11219, firstname.lastname@example.org)
BIG TAKEOVER, THE #59, $5.99, 8 ½” x 11”, glossy cover and pages, 224 pgs.
The Big Takeover is a mammoth-sized semi-annual zine with about one hundred pages of reviews (music and books) broken down by the various reviewers. There are features and interviews with The Decemberists, Sonic Youth, Fiery Furnaces, Jello Biafra, New York Dolls, and some short takes of Snow Patrol, Calexico, Art Brut, Pernice Brothers, and tons of others. There are many other zines doing this kind of thing out there as well. Granted, there are some differences as far as the way in which they interview or write their pieces, but, overall, there doesn’t seem to be enough to make me want to spend six bucks to buy it. Or maybe I’m just cheap. Who knows? –Kurt Morris (www.bigtakeover.com)
BROKEN PENCIL, #35, $5.95 (Canadian), 8 ½” x 11”, glossy cover, offset, 72 pgs.
This is a pretty cool zine and unlike much of anything else I’ve ever seen. Broken Pencil is a “magazine of zine culture and the independent arts.” I’m not sure why they call themselves a magazine, but whatever. Canadian in origin, there are all kinds of interesting things related to the culture of those who put together zines or just find them interesting. There are, of course, zine reviews, but there are also features on spoken word artists, indie pen pals, and ZineWiki. There’s a section on finding out where ex-zinesters are now and random photos, drawings, and poetry. The layout looks really good and complements the content quite nicely. I was unaware of Broken Pencil before getting this, but I will now have to send them my zine. Hurray for Canadians! –Kurt Morris (PO Box 203, Stn P, Toronto, ON, M5S 2S7, Canada)
CAPITOL CITY ZINE COMPILATION, $6, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 56 pgs.
This is a collection of contributions from various zinesters in the Austin, Texas area. Apparently, it’s mostly previously unreleased stuff, though the only zine I was already familiar with (Snakepit) had a submission that I’d already seen before somewhere else. Anyway, there’s also stuff from Blurt!, Greasespot, World Salad, Option Paralysis, Tightrope Laboratory, Surprise Autopsy, Clip Tart and Homemade Boat. The cover’s a really thick silkscreen and there’s even a kind of poster insert thing, but as far as the individual contributions go, they seemed kind of half-assed. There just wasn’t a whole lot there that held my interest: two girls’ trip to a nude beach was actually about the funniest part—the writer pretty much summed up the whole nude beach experience as nothing more than a flashing ground for “gross guys with their big, weird dicks on display.” A guy meets the woman of his dreams and then has an allergic reaction to peanuts on one of their dates, acts like an asshole and almost dies of anaphylactic shock, there’s some collages, a few comics that make no sense, a resource guide for the Austin area, etc. All in all, it’s a great idea, I just wish the contributors would’ve taken the opportunity a bit more seriously and not handed in such lackluster stuff. –Keith Rosson (Lauren Trout, 110 E. North Loop, Austin, TX 78751
FALL OF AUTUMN, #3, Free, 5” x 8”, copied, 12 pgs.
This is a short, free quarterly that seems to complement some of the material on the zine’s website (www.fallofautumn.com). The primary piece is about the fanaticism of the author concerning Harry Potter. There is also a column on the digital age of music, a short story, and an intriguing interview with the maker of the zine Conscious Defect (he’s homeless and still makes a zine—makes for a good interview). Fall of Autumn is also a zine distro, so there is a listing and description of some of the zines they distribute. There’s not much here and while I didn’t find all of it real interesting, the price (free) is right, so why not? –Kurt Morris (PO Box 254, Manhattan, IL 60442)
FANCY DIGEST 2007, 10 cents, 5 ½ x 8 ½, copied, 20 pgs.
The table of contents/info page says, “Fashion, Art, Crap.” One out of three wouldn’t be bad, except Fancy Digest falls under the least complementary of that trinity. A self-described “commode companion,” the only use I could see getting out of this zine while in the john would be to tear out the pages to wipe the shit from one’s anus on those occasions when one unwittingly runs out of toilet paper. The featured article in this issue of Fancy focuses on the disturbing trend of low rise jeans and the resulting “anal cleavage” phenomenon. While the writing isn’t awful, the intention of the article is to be funny, and it’s not. It strains to be clever in a Dave Eggersian way, and one self-important, so-called staggering genius is enough, thanks. The primary function of the ads (eight of twelve of them list the Fancy web address) in this zine appears to be to get people to visit the Fancy Digest website. I don’t think I’ll be logging on anytime soon. –Josh Benke (Fancy Digest, PO Box 110411, Brooklyn, NY 11211)
FANORAMA #30, $3?, 8 ½” x 11”, color-copied, 58 pgs.
“Dedicated to my queer cabal of nihilistic, psycho, hip-hop, death, punks.” I feel like I came in on the middle of a conversation here because Reb, the editor, keeps referring to previous issues, and continuing with stories that began years back. A recurring theme is the publishing of prisoners’ writing, and Reb tells the joyous story of the release of a prisoner friend. Finally, Fanorama is peppered with photo spreads of nude men, as I found out on a rush hour-crowded F train last week! –CT Terry (Fanorama, 109 Arnold Ave., Cranston, RI 02905)
FURY, THE, #16, $1, 4” x 5 ½”, 52 pgs.
At first I thought this was a music zine. There is stuff about music, including a piece on a (good) radio station, and some record reviews (mostly ripping apart some weirder bands), but the bulk of it is perzine-style writing, about places the author’s seen, experiences with school, and dealing with things seeming to fall apart. Some of it gets a little tough to read (figuratively and literally), but it’s still interesting, I just hope things go better for the dude down the line. –Joe Evans III(Mark Novotny,5412 Sixth Ave, Countryside IL 60525, TheFuryZine@hotmail.com)
HUB CITY: OUT OF THE BASEMENT, #2, $2, 8 ½” x 6”, 29 pgs .
Hometowns are a funny thing; it’s great to have pride in what’s happening in your neighborhood, but you have to be willing to get out and see the rest of the world every now and then. I say this as Hub City’s policy is, “Send us stuff as long as it pertains to New Brunswick music.” It features record reviews of local bands and interviews with a local musician/promoter and Miranda from Hunchback about “bleeding on the road.” There’s quality stuff; I just hope its main priority is quality rather than geography as it keeps going (which it should). –Joe Evans III (Hub City, PO Box 1561, New Brunswick NJ 08903)
I NEED MORE! #1, $1 or trade, 5 ½” x 8 ½”, glossy!, 20 pgs.
A zine by a music promoter who uses—oddly—glossy, thick paper for the entire zine, which confuses Ms. Tight Pants! Articles about The Briefs, Iggy Pop, Zero Boys, et. al. Plus an ode to the Exploding Hearts. Sadly, not a lot new here, although I do share Mr. I Need More’s love of the Exploding Hearts, but frankly, if someone doesn’t love ‘em, I question their judgment, and assume that they spend their time listening to free jazz or something similarly awful! –Maddy (Mike Hooker, 4017 Victory Dr. #210, Austin, TX 78704)
ICONOCLAST, #95, $5, 8 ½” x 11”, printed, 80 pgs.
Iconoclast is a freaking huge (80 pages, full-sized) zine that is made up entirely of poetry and stories, as well as reviews of zines, poetry, and other books. The layout is simple: black print on white pages with only a couple of pictures. For the most part, having worked in an academic library periodicals section, Iconoclast reminds me of a lo-fi version of some of the academic literature journals. I can’t speak much on the quality of the poems, as most poetry has never done much for me, but the stories were well-written and interesting. If you’re feeling a bit high-brow with your zine literature, Iconoclast may not be a bad bet to check out. –Kurt Morris (1675 Amazon Rd., Mohegan Lake, NY 10547)
INSIDE ARTZINE #11, $5, 8½” x 11”, full-color glossy, 40 pgs.
Holy fuck, there’s some sinister shit in here. While it’s gorgeously laid-out and designed and the production values are through the roof, it’s just resoundingly creepy as fuck. You want frighteningly real-looking autopsied baby doll heads? Beautifully rendered paintings of nude women pulling out their own tongues or ribcages that fan out into gaping monster jaws? Weird articles about tattooed mummy corpses that don’t make any sense? Ink drawings of hooded women, “Suicide” written on their bellies, pulling their labia apart? Then you’ve hit the jackpot here, my friend. About half of it’s in German, the stuff that is translated into English still didn’t make any sense to me at all, and I don’t know anything about H.P. Lovecraft. The whole thing is so freaking ominous, disjointed and weird that I felt about the same looking at it as I would if I knew there was a brown recluse spider somewhere in my room, I just didn’t know where. Shit is that creepy. –Keith Rosson (Inside Artzine, PO Box 2266, D-54212 Trier, Germany)
LA FRONTERA: THE BORDER, $1.25, 6” x 4¼”, copied, 56 pgs.
Brutally honest personal zine about one woman’s experiences with No Mos Muertes and Humane Borders, two organizations dedicated to providing relief and assistance to immigrants trying to cross the U.S./Mexico border from the Mexico side of the fence. Like I said, much of it is simple, raw emotion thrown onto the page—furious handwritten text juxtaposed with grainy photographs. It’s a hard call for me—on one hand, I fully believe in the cathartic aspect of projects like this (she writes of finding men in the desert whose feet are literally gangrenous and probably in need of amputation, and only being able to clean and bandage the wounds, feed them, give them water, and send them back on their way to try crossing again—I can’t even imagine the helplessness that must go hand in hand with something like that) but I also feel that, with a bit of editing and some different layout decisions (the handwriting is really difficult to read at times, for one), the zine’s potential impact could’ve been increased tenfold. But I also understand reaching that point where you feel so helpless and angry that you’ve got to do something. –Keith Rosson (email@example.com)
LITTLE SHORTS, #4, $2 + a stamp, 4” x 5”, copied, 30 pgs.
Very small, very brief zine about nothing much whatsoever, just whatever seems to come to the mind of the author. There are random drawings and phrases as well as lists of recommendations of books, music, and films. There is also a short writeup of a serial killer and something about the Milgram experiment. There’s really not much to go on here and what is here isn’t too impressive. I’d like to say that this looks like the type of thing I was putting out when I was in high school but 1.) Erin is twenty and 2.) I was putting out better stuff when I was in high school. Oh well. Better luck next time. –Kurt Morris (Erin Kubes, 1608 Basler St. Apt. 3, Sacramento, CA 95814)
MASS MOVEMENT #20, $4, 8½” x 11”, glossy, 92 pgs.
Glossy-paged hardcore rag from the United Kingdom. The magazine’s thick, the type is tiny, the riffs are sick, and the dudes are hard. It’s actually pretty decent, if you’re into this kind of stuff—interviews with Gorilla Biscuits, Sick Of It All, Underdog, Justice, Ignite, Comeback Kid and tons of others. While it strays pretty far from my own musical interests or ideologies, there were a few points of interest—for one, Jon Josef is still blathering on about getting fucked over by Harley and the Cro-Mags twenty years or more after the fact (his interview is peppered with pretty liberal usage of the terms “faggots” and “niggas” and—hilariously—he repeatedly brags about all the hotshot executives in the movie industry that he’s friends with) and that the guy from Ignite, while still coming off as somewhat of a meathead, actually had some really interesting things to say about growing up in a communist country and the sustainability and fragility of capitalism. Generally, if you’re into the abovementioned bands and are willing to slog through some really small type, you’ll probably find something (or a few somethings) that grab you here. –Keith Rosson (Mass Movement, PO Box 193, Bridgend, CF31 9BN, South Wales, UK)
MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL #288, $4, 8 ½” x 11”, newsprint, 147 pgs.
It’s always good to see MRR. I used to buy copies in high school when my friends and I would go out “getting some.” “Getting some” meant cruising around Richmond in a 1982 Dodge Colt, blasting Dischord 1981, going to Soundhole Records and maybe a mall food court. A lot has changed since then. Soundhole closed, I graduated and Rev. Nørb now writes for Razorcake. However, MRR still has George Tabb, I’ve still never read one of Lefty Hooligan’s columns, and MRR is still an indispensable punk rock resource that is loaded with reviews, interviews, and columns. –CT Terry (Maximum RockNRoll, PO Box 460760, SF, CA 94146)
NARCOLEPSY, #1, $2, 8 ½” x 6”, 18 pgs.
Mostly a collection of zine reviews, but, separating it from the herd are music-related newspaper clippings and comics from the editor’s kids, which are cute. –Joe Evans III (Narcolepsy Press Review, PO Box 17131, Anaheim CA 92817-7131)
NOSE KNOWS, THE, v3 #1-5, $?, 5 ½” x 8 1/2”, Xeroxed, 4 pgs.
More of these one-sheets from New Orleans. This batch had more comics than the last, along with fake biographies of high school jocks and scattered, high-speed thoughts. Though things here are half a step too far into inside-joke land for me to really enjoy them, I can appreciate what’s going on. –CT Terry (The Nose Knows, 2401 Burgundy St. #25, New Orleans, LA 70117)
NOSE KNOWS, THE, Vol.2, Iss. 49-52, $3, 5 ½” x 4 ¼”, copied.
This is a cute little weekly newsletter (which really surprised me once I realized it), covering topics ranging from comic, sweatless people who do or don’t drink, Little House on the Prairie, and bears. Granted, each issue is a page, but I’m amazed that this comes out weekly.–Joe Evans III (2514 N Rampart St., New Orleans, LA 70117)
NOWHERE TO PARK, #?, $?, 5 ½” x 8”, copied, ? pgs.
Based on the address listed, I think the person who does this zine lives pretty close to me. In fact, I could probably walk to his house. It’s kind of strange because I have no idea who this is. But the zine isn’t too bad. I kind of feel as though I missed something along the way, but this involves the author vacationing from Seattle to Philadelphia, but it’s not so much a road trip zine as it is just a zine of his adventures in Philly: biking around, working at a falafel joint, and having some Ukrainian girl ask to marry him in order not to be deported. There are a lot of great drawings in here, too. Some of the writing was a bit dry and the layout could use a little work, but other parts made me smile and laugh. So it’s real hit and miss, but, overall, I think the good outweighs the bad. –Kurt Morris (315 N. Greenwood Cir., Seattle, WA 98103)
OFF-LINE, #40, Donations, 4” x 5 ½”, copied, 80 pgs.
This is a really fascinating issue regarding how to set up your own DIY commitment ceremony (in lieu of a traditional wedding). There are those who don’t desire to get married by the state or church and for those who wish to do that, this is not only a fascinating read but a great guide on how to set everything up. Vincent and Claire put this together and it covers everything you’d need to know from finding a space, getting the food, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and clothing. I learned a lot and it’s inspired me a lot in ideas I’ve had concerning how I would like my own ceremony to be, should I get married one day. This is all written in journal form over the course of months. Vincent and Claire spell out nearly every detail during this time, and while there’s a lot of stuff in here, none of it seems too excessive. No matter what form of commitment ceremony you take with your partner, there is material in here for everyone to garner. –Kurt Morris (Claire E. Cocco & Vincent J. Romano, 35 Barker Ave. #4G, White Plains, NY 10601)
OX FANZINE #71, €4.50, 8 ¼” x 11.5”, glossy/perfect-bound, 148 pgs.
Ox ist ein Deutsches Magazin das punk, hardcore und rock ‘n’ roll beinhaltet. Es hat Dr. Junior am Umschlag, millionen von Kritiken und Interviewen, und es kommt mit einem CD von Internationalen rock bands. Ich wuensche ich koennte es lesen. –CT Terry, translated by Sabrina Oberlechner (Ox, PO Box 102225, 42766 Haan, Germany)
PRISON FOCUS #27, Free, 8 ½” x 11”, newsprint, 40 pgs.
This is a California-based newsprint zine for and about prisoners. It’s a voice for prisoners and a source of information for folks on the outside. Important stuff, and I agree with the politics, but I’d be a little bummed if it was the only thing on the back of the toilet at a peace punk house. –CT Terry (Prison Focus, 2940 16th St., Suite B5, SF, CA 94103)
ROCK N ROLL PURGATORY, #15, $4, 8 ½” x 11”, offset printed, 64 pgs.
Enthusiastic, fun zine with great taste and long interviews. The specialty for this issue is one-man bands, with some cool big names and folks I am just being introduced to, which is nice. It has the best facet a zine can have: true love for the subjects. Some of the questions are too long—but with genuine respect—and the interviews are cool, both informative and conversational. No rock star bullshit here. Tons and tons of OMB interviews (Almighty Do Me A Favor, Al Foul, Bloodshot Bill, Ghostwriter, Haunted George, Jeffrey Novak, John Schooley, King Louie, Reverend Beat-Man, Scott H. Biram) balanced with interviews of normal-sized musicians: Toys That Kill, Uncle Scratch’s Gospel Revival, Baseball Furies, Wayne Hancock. Man, for four bucks you feel like you borrowed a great pulp book from the library. –Speedway Randy (Rocknroll Purgatory c/o Ben Lybarger, PO Box 276258, San Antonio, TX 78227, www.rocknrollpurgatory.com)
SHORT, FAST, & LOUD, #17, $4, 8¼” x 10¾”, newsprint, 80 pgs.
A lot of hardcore/thrash/metal/grind talk from people who know what they’re talking about. Reading Short, Fast, & Loud is so refreshing because the people involved are so enthusiastic about short, fast, annnnnd loud music. It’s like if all the seventeen-year-old kids (when they were still edge) had it together enough and were knowledgeable enough to put something as complicated as this zine out. And on top of the interviews, columns, reviews, and history lessons, this thing also comes with a twenty-eight song comp. Definitely for anyone who loves extreme music or just digs reading cool music zines. –Daryl (Short, Fast, & Loud, 225 Lincoln Ave., Cotati, CA 94931)
SKYSCRAPER, #24, $4.99/$7.60, 8 ½” x 11”, glossy cover w/ printed pages, 112 pgs.
Another huge-ass issue of Skyscraper with interviews and features of Neurosis, Jesu, Explosions in the Sky, An Albatross, Hot Cross, Converge, and many, many more. On top of that there are tons of album reviews (forty pages worth!) and a few other odds and ends. It’s a nice little read and one of those things that, if you see it lying around someone’s apartment or at the bookstore, you might want to sit and read it, but, otherwise, I can’t see a huge reason to want to pick this up. I can’t see a lot going on here that one can’t find in about half a dozen other zines. –Kurt Morris (www.skyscrapermagazine.com)
SPECIOUS SPECIES #1, $5, 5½” x 8½”, offset, 80 pgs
I’m not sure if this thing falls under the umbrella of a “literary zine,” but the quality here (especially for a first issue) is pretty fantastic. Made up solely of six interviews, there’s a resonance and depth here that few zines either have the ability or finances to pull off. Folks interviewed: poet Bucky Sinister, journalist Christian Parenti, who was embedded in Iraq and talks succinctly and brilliantly about U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil and the world’s reliance on the U.S. dollar as a way of sustaining global capitalism, poet Ed Bowers, historian/author Elaine Pagels, who’s interviewed about the history of Gnosticism and it’s main differences between Gnostic Christianity and the more accepted Biblical traditions we’re inundated with now. Also interviewed are filmmakers Kevin Epps and K. Kelly, who made a documentary about Hunter’s Point, an impoverished but close-knit black community near Oakland, and Swedish artist/cartoonist Matzi Stromberg. Like I said, all of the interviews are totally enthralling—if you can look past the pretty steep cover price (there are a lot of pages here, remember) and the interviews continue to be this in-depth and diverse, Specious Species will be one to watch for. –Keith Rosson (Specious Species, 3345 20th St., San Francisco, CA 94110)
TALES OF BLARG! #9, $3, 8” x 10”, copied, 44 pgs.
Given to me because Janelle is (was?) the drummer for Panty Raid, a band I think does no wrong. She is more prolific doing comics and zines and things, and Blarg is the newest collection of paper destroyed under her pen. Smashed-up comics and stories about girls, boys, living in San Fran, and a Hipsters vs. Crusties battle. It’s crude in style, but I laughed and even cried a little. –Speedway Randy (Janelle Hessig, PO Box 4047, Berkeley, CA, 94704, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.gimmeaction.com)
VERBICIDE, #19, $?, 8 ½” x 11”, glossy cover w/ printed pages, 80 pgs.
Verbicide is another in a long line of flashy, glossy-covered zines that I’ve never heard of, but which seem like they’re fairly big business. There are feature/interviews with The Shins, Bad Brains, Low, Tim Barry, and indie filmmakers. One thing that makes this zine different is the inclusion of fiction. There is also a section with bands on the rise as well as the usual music reviews. Nothing too amazing is included, but I guess this is okay. I can’t say there is much here I’m real interested in, but for what it is (see opening sentence) I guess it’s not too bad. –Kurt Morris (www.verbicidemagazine.com)
YOU’RE AN ANGEL, YOU LI’L DEVIL, #2, $1, 5 ½” x 8 ½”, Xerox, 38 pgs.
This is a small collection of devil girl media, from artwork, advertisements, and everywhere. There’s also a quick bit with Julie Newmar, regarding her appearance in The Twilight Zone. Talk about having a specific target audience, but it’s still interesting. –Joe Evans III (PO Box 17131, Anaheim CA 92817-7131)