Tuesday, December 31, 2013
BURNING BUILDING COMIX $19.95 email@example.com www.jeffscomics.com ///// This strange and beautiful comic book from Jeff Zwirek uses space in one of the most unique ways I’ve come across yet (see pic). His style is distinctly his own and as clean as a cue ball fresh out of the box without being minimalist or cold. This book is a series of panels, each row representing a different floor of an apartment building on fire. There is a lot going on in these rooms, and by the end of each floor you get to know the occupants pretty well. The stories range from the bizarre to the hilarious with a lot of subtle social commentary thrown in for good measure. This is a great book.
PILTDOWNLAD #4 “The Nasty Oh-Dear” POB 86714 LA, CA 90086/// www.kellydessaint.com//// The bulk of this zine is a deeply personal story about two kids dealing with the horrors of parental abuse. Kelly, the author, has a gift for engaging dialogue that skips subtlety in favor of a direct jugular attack. He gets to the point quickly and effectively. And although the story is terribly sad, he writes with a tone that seems to say, “Yea that totally sucked, whatever…move on” and doesn’t whine at all. Also contained within, an insightful story about how he got into zines, tales from a zine convention, and zine reviews. A compelling read through and through, Piltdownlad is destined for greatness.
DITHERING DOODLES 1-5 259 E 700 S Salt Lake City, UT 84111 Premiumdelux@hotmail.com ////People with the mentality of a good natured 16-year old boy who suffers from ADHD will love this zine, and although it is written by someone in their 50s? (I suck at math and didn’t figure out exactly how old the author is) it still resonates as such. The artwork is pretty awesome and raw (lots of scribbled out mistakes). This fellow likes to doodle and illustrate stories from his past, all of which are super short and do not flow together in any way whatsoever throughout all five issues. This is a massive collection of very random thoughts and drawings that are not rude, or edgy, or political….they are not controversial, and do not offend anyone. Typically this does not satisfy my tastes in art at all. That being said, I quite enjoyed reading all of these zines.
TATER TOTTER #2 WWW.KATEBERUBE.ETSY.COM /// This is a zine for kids. It’s has silly stories, and silly drawings that are made to be colored by the youthful reader. I loved the ‘Zoology’ section of animals that “Might” exist, the Grizzlysaurus rex being my favorite. It’s short and cute and I will be sure to give it to my son next year after he’s honed his coloring skills a bit more.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Faction of the Fox//// Recently I got a small manila envelope in the mail with two buttons and three stickers in it…no letter, no instructions, no return address, nothing else. Two of the stickers said, “Faction of the Fox” on them. Aside from that phrase, I had nothing to go on. Should I put the stickers on my guitar? If I wore one of these buttons on my jacket would I get random dirty looks from graffiti kids with conflicting loyalties, or worse yet, laughed at by hipsters without hindsight? The whole thing kind of smelled of the “White Rabbit” scene from the Matrix. For days afterward I anxiously waited for leather-clad club kids to show up at my door and invite me to Spokane for some kind of techno-geek disco-fueled nerd orgy. Sadly, that didn’t happen. I simply ended up searching “Faction of the Fox” on the google and went to their website. The site is a series of unexplained, yet very entertaining video-collages from some very creative Chicagoans. The whole thing has a kind of Hosoi-era skate video recorded on an early to mid-80’s vhs-camcorder by someone obsessed with Cosby Show sweaters feel to it. All of these videos were entertaining, hilarious, and creative, however, there is no who, what, or why about them. Whatever this is, exists in a land far below the realms of Wikipedia and ironic hipsterism. It’s something worth checking out while not trying too hard to analyze it, and for this I am thankful.
Monday, December 23, 2013
The Invasion of Heaven by Michael B. Koep // // $15.00 http://www.amazon.com/The-Invasion-Heaven-Newirth-Mythology/dp/0989393518 ///// This book is the first of a three part series written by my friend Michael Koep. He wrote it, designed it, did all the artwork, and published it…totally DIY. I don’t read a lot of novels and I don’t think I’ve ever read a psychological thriller, so this was kind of a new experience for me. I can’t help but be biased, dude’s a friend after all, but I think I can at least be honest. This is a really great book. Michael is an incredibly gifted wordsmith who doesn’t shy away from his talent yet remains accessible and unpretentious. And although I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can’t wait for the next one, it didn’t start out that way for me. This book took a while for me to sink my teeth into, 32 pages to be exact. There’s a lot going on in the beginning and without any reference points or understanding of the characters it took me a while to figure it out. Considering that this is the first of a three part series, that's a necessity. From page 33 on, however, I was hooked. The book is about a poet psychologist and a chain smoking, scotch drinking, music obsessed painter, both of whom may have access the hereafter (Heaven in this case) through their art. This is apparently a very powerful and dangerous thing. There are multiple groups at play trying to gain access and control of these two artists’ work, and they will do anything to meet those ends. Once these groups are revealed a whole lot of shootin’ and stabbin’ ensues. The book takes place primarily in Northern Idaho and Venice Italy. Michael’s descriptions of both places are not just beautiful, but also effective at bringing the reader closer to the story. I really got into this book and these characters, and like all good stories, I was sad when it was over. I need more hang time with Basil (the painter) dammit. Fortunately for me, there are two more books on the way.
Sunday, December 22, 2013
THE SODA KILLERS#2 $5 or Trade firstname.lastname@example.org/// This zine took a while to get to me due to the mailbox debacle of last spring. It kept getting sent back to the authors and they kept sending it back to me…keeping it in the various envelopes. I think it was wrapped in four returned envelopes when it finally got to me. Persistent Minnesotans. Good thing too, because I love this zine. This issue follows the same pattern of stories, pics, collage, and tons of recorded and live reviews. I really like reading these reviews, they are personal and you can tell that the person writing them knows a lot about the music being covered. The live reviews were it for me, Motley Crue, Poison, Anthrax, the Dwarves, Iceage, Midwest Hellfest. The writing takes you into the event, and walks you through all the hilarious and cool stuff happening off stage, as well as on stage. I like that./// http://sddzine.blogspot.com/2012/01/soda-killers-1.html
Junk Zine #7 $3 or Trade POB 950 Spokane, WA 99210//// This consists mostly of letters from readers and the author, James’s responses. That might sound boring to someone who doesn’t have any context for the wide variety of subject matter covered, but I found it fascinating. For some reason a lot of the people writing in are in prison. James has a very no-nonsense writing style that I dig and responds to every letter. For example, in responding to a person who refers to himself as a, “left-libertarian market socialist anarcho-communist agorist-mutualist in the Tuckerite-Richardian strain with a communist-anarchist tendency”, James writes, “You seem to be enamored of outré eclecticism for its own sake – you’re macho flashing all over the place” and later goes on to critique left-libertarian publications as, “little more than egotists, jockeying for ideological alpha male positions amongst themselves”. And that is why I found this zine so fascinating.
Xrisville #5 free email@example.com/// Reading and reviewing Xrisville after just having read and reviewed The Filth is an experiment in what learned folks would call literary dichotomy. The Filth is raw, angry and in your face, while Xrisville is a very lighthearted and clever take on modern Canadian life. The author has a knack for graphic design and uses it to make funny fake advertisements and article statements that are present throughout the magazine. A lot of this issue is focused on the 2012 Mayan end of the world prophecy and his humorous take on that. This magazine is dripping with sarcasm like a rabid bull mastiff but most of the humor is
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
The Filth: #6, #7, #8 5 Mira Court Baltimore, Maryland 21220 firstname.lastname@example.org
//// The Western Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis) when young, has a hard time controlling the amount of venom it releases when giving a bite. Venom is life to these youthful vipers, and if they waste it on defensive strikes, they have nothing left to hunt with. The Filth reads like a young pit viper: all venom all the time. But unlike the immature Crotalus, this venom is not wasted on defensive strikes: This zine is constantly on the hunt. It took me a while to get through all three issues, not just because there is a hell of a lot of writing, but mostly because the writing is so dark, earnest, and often disturbing. You wont find a lot of puppy dogs and flowers within these pages, unless of course, the puppies are being impaled with forks. All three issues follow the same format: lots of poetry, lots of stories, lots of pictures, and some drawings. Venom.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
-When people say, “Hardcore is Dead” or “there’s no good bands now”, what they should be saying is, “I stopped paying attention” –Eric Weiss
Rumpshaker #6 was a long time in the making. The last issue came out 12 years ago. As someone who writes a music zine that occasionally takes five year breaks, I get it, sometimes life just sneaks in there without much notice and puts things on hold for a while. I got this zine in the mail a few months back and am just now reviewing it, but when I received it, I read it cover to cover that day. I love music zines, I miss music zines. I have a plastic storage bin in my garage full of old Flipside, MRR, HeartAttack, and random music fanzines that, when in need of a fix, I can go to. So when a music zine arrives in the mail, I get a bit giddy, and when that music zine just happens to be a Hardcore zine, well that’s a good day. In the months after getting Rumpshaker #6 in the mail, I have read the zine three times, not all of it, but most of it. And it’s not just because it’s a music zine covering a genre I dig, Eric, the editor asks really good questions in his interviews, and he interviews interesting people. I wasn’t a fan of the band Ceremony before reading this. I have since become a huge fan of Ceremony. I didn’t like Judge before reading this, and I still don’t, but I really like Mike Judge now. Avail? I’ve always loved Avail, and the interview with Avail frontman (now solo singer), Tim Barry was a perfect example of why. Many of the people he interviews are close to my age and I think that’s why I responded to the interviews the way I did. When Damian from Fucked Up talks about being a father and how it’s made him respond to violent news stories in a more personal and profound way, I can relate. There are so many great interviews contained within this zine. Eric, the editor, has some personal writing as well. At one point he talks about breaking his long held straight edge commitment and the awkward ordering of his first glass of whiskey. Good writing, and some unique insight into the mind of an aging hardcore kid. I liked this zine so much that I ordered a couple extra copies to give to out of town friends, and, drunkenly gave my review copy to my buddy the other night while playing Ceremony’s ‘Sick’ far too loudly for anything or anyone in my quiet Northern Idaho neighborhood. So yea, good zine, get one.
Monday, June 17, 2013
This blog has been around for four years now. A lot has changed since I started it and I just wanted to give you all a quick update on the state of things. So far it’s been a really wonderful experience. I get all kinds of great stuff in the mail and have made some awesome connections with artists from around the globe. My personal life, however, is very busy right now and I’m finding it increasingly more difficult to find time to do reviews. I’m not going to stop doing them, but just know that if you send stuff in, it might take a while for me to get to it. So many great reviews zines, blogs, and websites have disappeared over the years, and I always hate to see them go (so many great ones still around). I really believe in the importance of a healthy underground press, especially for artists, so I will keep reviewing in whatever capacity I am able. If you keep sending stuff in, I’ll keep paying the rent on the pob, and will get to it eventually. Thanks for all the supportive emails, letters, and visits.
Bad Breath Comics #5 $2 Joshjuresko.com /// This is my favorite comic going right now, and I’m not sure why, because frankly, it’s so disjointed and downright weird.
Dodo Comics #3 $3 http://blog.grantthomasonline.com /// The cover says it all, “Abstract Comics”. That’s what this is. The entire zine consists of various panels of different black and white brush strokes and lines. No writing, nothing recognizable. Minimalist, like this review.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Microcosm 636 SE 11th Ave Portland, OR 97214-2405 ---- Originally published in 2001, Wild Fermentation is exactly as the title suggests: a how-to guide to fermentation, of the wild variety. Not a very interesting subject to me personally (unless the fermentation process produces giggly water) but I totally appreciate the back-to-the-earth aesthetic and passion for healthy eating via cultural/political agitation. Inside are recipes for sauerkraut, miso, sourdough, vinegar, yogurt, sour cream, cheese, tempeh, chocolate and more. Good reading for those interested in these types of ingestibles.
Losers & Weepers #3
Bird Cage Bottom Books
324-A West 71st St
New York, NY 10023
Raised is my glass as another issue of Losers & Weepers has graced my po box. The idea of creating a back story for something found - be it letter, cardboard scrap, or post it note - and then illustrating it, is one of the greatest gifts an artist can give to the world. This issue/episode of L&W is one of those gifts. There are four found items illustrated in this comic, all of which are great. Mr. Yost has a hilarious and somewhat sick sense of humor, all of which comes across splendidly in this zine. Of the four things illustrated, however, there is one that really stands alone. I won’t ruin the surprise here, but let me just say that I have never seen a more prominent example of lack of segue in a jailhouse letter than this. The artist’s interpretation of which, had me laughing loud enough to wake my entire family while reading it late into the wee hours….so funny.
Friday, February 15, 2013
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Digestate: A Food & Eating Themed Anthology $19.95 Birdcage Bottom Books 324-A West 71st St New York, NY 10023 Birdcagebottombooks.com///
Ci Vediamo By Hazel Newlevant $6 Newlevant.com///
Nat-rrain, $? Nat.email@example.com/// This is a strange assortment of unrelated drawings, comic strips, and some writing. There is a definite (and unapologetic) Crumb influence here. Lots of muscular-voluptuous women interacting with much less physically endowed male characters. I really liked the illustrated historical comic about the Chesapeake Indians. There were some really great drawings contained within; liberal use of contrast and weird enough to keep me interested.