Tag: Zine

Keep On Keepin’ On

And now, we proudly present
songs perverse and songs of lament.
A couple of hymns of confession,
and songs that recognize our sick obsessions.”
(“Some Red Handed Sleight Of Hand” – Cursive)

Music has always been an important emotional anchor for me; the perception altering first time I heard Big Black’s Songs About Fucking when I was just into my teens, or the emotional rush I had hearing Tim Kasher’s voice on Cursive’s The Ugly Organ for the first time in 2003 or seeing Godspeed You! Black Emperor or *shels play live for the first time; these were all pivotal moments for sure, but on a day today level its more than that – a way of life, an obsession, a deep seated need. I know I’m not alone in this, I wouldnt be so arrogant, but by way of intro, I can’t explain it any other way.

It’s difficult to pin down what it is that’s going to inspire you, or wring emotion from you; a simple chord change, a scuzzy riff, a charged vocal perhaps, and just as difficult to answer is that inevitible question ‘what kind of music do you like’, which always seems pointless when its such an emotional thing, so ‘a bit of everything’ is the answer to that, and even then it is mood dependent.

In my 40s I’m as enthusiastic about finding new music as I was in my teens, perhaps more so, in part because of the frustration I feel when I hear people my age saying there’s nothing new to find, listen to, or be inspired by, because its simply not true.  There is almost too much to keep up with; just scroll the front pages of Bandcamp any day of the week for starters.  In some way I feel I need to prove them wrong but also hearing great music makes me feel alive and inspired, so I’m constantly on the look out.

I’ve been reading a lot of fanzines again, which I’ve come back to after becoming disillusioned with mainstream music journalism, and the enthusiasm and passion of zinesters has also renewed my energy for new discoveries. It is so much easier to find new music now – word of mouth, physical mix tapes and print media have been usurped, in part, by online sources, but fanzines have survived and  hold a vital spark, a raw physical energy you can’t find anywhere else.

Whatever your need, just keep discovering, keep listening, keep it emotional.




Zine Reviews January

Seven Inches To Freedom Fanzine issue 12

SITF 12 CoverThis issue of SITF Fanzine came out in November ’13 and finds Joe Lachut in a very introspective mood.  In the mag he talks about his experience on tour with band Panzram and the zine also includes a very downbeat column from Bob Suren.

Joe reviews the bands they played with on tour through demos and tapes picked up and swapped at the gigs, and also writes about the band themselves through his experience of playing with them and hanging out with them. He obviously discovered a to of great new music on the journey and his enthusiastic discussion of each band makes you really want to check them all out.  In the columns mulls over his state of mind, which by all accounts was pretty ropey throughout the tour and although its very raw and emotive it also makes fascinating reading.

Pick up a copy of the fanzine via the SITF Big Cartel  as well as copies of previous issues.


Degenerate issue 14

Degenerate 14 Cover
Always an enjoyable read, issue 14 is no less so, with Sam Lefebvre’s usual mix of thoughtful critique and interviews on offer there’s plenty to get your teeth into, and of course, it’s always interesting to read about local scenes elsewhere.

In this issue, alongside interviews with David King and Jess Scott he discusses the creation of the zine, the continued existence of record stores and the the way that production effects hardcore recordings.  The layout is lovely and feels almost organic at times, like an artists sketchbook, and the conversational yet intelligent writing style is more than satisfying.

For more information head over to tumblr and contact Sam via email.


Sam has kindly sent me an extra copy of issue 14 of Degenerate to pass on and by an accident of fate I also have a spare copy of SITF issue 12.  If anyone out there would like to get hold of copies of either of these two great US fanzines I’m all ears. Get in touch via the contact form or post a comment.

New Music and Zines July 2013

A little late in the day his month due to continuing internet problems which I won’t bore you with again here but I’m finally online and posting again.

I’ve really been enjoying the Purple 7 12″ which arrived a couple of weeks ago from Let’s Pretend Records, the tunes have a fuzzy 90s charm which is utterly charming and makes me feel all nostalgic for my teens – especially the opener Poison Ivy  – a top tune. The new David Lynch album The Big Dream is really decent too – it has that Twin Peaks/Badalamenti feel to it and will be getting  a few more listens I’m sure while I write up my Roomthirteen review.

I got hold of Limited Readership zine issue 4 a couple of weeks ago too, brit publication with a laid back, personal writing style (lots of musing) and mixed interests.

Limited Readership #4

Punk and metal (mainly old school) are both covered along with some interviews, plenty of nostalgia, a couple of articles on movies and a small review section. This zine is always a breezy read with articles generally quite broadly covered but with that personal perspective nudging its way in here and there – as I mentioned there’s quite a bit of musing going on, Rob Tyers likes to think things through and chat to us about it which is one of the things I like about this zine, you feel like you’re getting an insight into the person behind the paper.

As always, it has a great design and layout too!


Off to see MINE tonight in Newport hopefully, which, if I manage to get there, will no doubt see a review on these pages. More soon.

New Music and Zines June 2013

It’s June already and I don’t seem to have had a great deal to write about so far but May and June have seen a bumper crop of zines come my way and a few great new records, not least the fantastic new Svin EP which I reviewed for Roomthirteen here and subsequently bought on vinyl from the band, hence the pic below.

Svin are a Danish  post-rock avant-garde four piece, the standard guitar and drum set up is bolstered with the addition of some brilliant saxophone and clarinet and makes for a really rich and intense sound.   You can listen on their Bandcamp and make sure you also check out their 2011 album Heimat.


In zines I’ve really enjoyed reading the new issue of Fluke (#11) Fluke #11 Cover Imageand am now sorry I’ve never managed to pick it up before, essentially the zine is  interviews only but they’re super interesting, more insightful and detailed than in most zines I’ve read thus far.  I particularly enjoyed the interviews with Barker Gee and Ed Crawford and the piece on Hobo art is fascinating. The layout is just the way I like it, type and cut and paste with some handwritten elements – an obvious labour of love.  I recommend picking this up or any back issues you can get hold of; try the Facebook for info on new issues or wowcool.com for back issues especially although if you’re shipping outside the US the postage can be a touch expensive on that one!


Degenerate issue 12 cover image Degenerate issue 12 came out recently too, it’s a slim issue but A4 sized and each page is packed with words and pictures. As always, this issue is impeccably put together and looks great ( a mix of type, cut and paste). An interesting article on SF and interview with Scraper led me to listen to the band here and the zine does include a red flexi disc with two tracks from the band on (Third Wheel and Your Friends Are Hippies). Also inside is an interview with Rank/Xerox, an article on post-punk and record reviews. Find Degenerate on Facebook and more of Sam’s writing at his blog. Recommended.


Brit zine A Short Fanzine About Rocking A Short Fanzine About Rocking cover image is now in its Spring 2013 issue (or issue 35 if you’re being picky) and has quite a broad range of bands covered – everything from Deftones to Creative Adult so they’re not too worried about keeping it underground, actually that fact can be quite refreshing and also means that the zines runs at a massive 82 pages. I sometimes think with this zine that they’d be better off making it more frequent and skinnier as many of the live reviews included are 6 or 7 months old, likewise the albums. I will admit I tend to skim the  reviews by the more mainstream bands as I’ve already read a ton of reviews elsewhere, although you may argue with zines it doesn’t matter so much as they tend to be the kind of thing you pick up at a show 6 months after they come out so it may just be me being picky. The front section is packed with interviews, not all are hugely interesting (the usual how did you come up with the band name/ how did you form questions) but because there is so much content there are a few really decent ones, definitely still worth picking up.

My MRR sub just ran out and I’m contemplating whether or not to pick up another one, it has been interesting reading about the more obscure end of the spectrum and the record and zine reviews have helped me discover some great records and zines since reading. I’ve also become fond of the Al Quint and Degenerate Ephemera columns. One to mull over.


Review – Degenerate Zine #11

Degenerate Issue 11Degenerate #11 arrived this week in the post  – It’s the kind of zine that makes you want to go out and make your own zine, unfortunately you know it would never be this good. Aesthetically Mr. Lefebvre nails it again with a beautiful cut and paste look and striking cover layout which is oh so inviting – this issue even has a flexi disc of Musk – I haven’t seen one of those for years. I’m sure I mentioned this with the last issue but I’ll say it again, it’s not all style over content, the writing is really solid with a mix of academic musing about punk/post-punk and band interviews (with some interesting questions posed). I’ve said ‘academic’ but that doesn’t mean the style is dry, quite the opposite – it actually brings to mind a kind of modernist stream of consciousness at times in that you really get a feel for the writer’s thought processes and the emotional impact the music has on him.

I love to read this kind of writing, it’s the kind of thing you rarely, if ever, find in mainstream music press and is why I turned to zines in the first place – a bit of passion and intensity without all the corporate bullshit and the need to sell anything – honestly, after 6 or 7 years of music writing myself I am still striving unsuccessfully to reach this plateau. Anyway, you get the point, it’s inspiring stuff and I urge you to get hold of a copy of this zine.


New Zines January 2013

A couple of zines arrived in the post this week, one old, the Summer 2011 issue of Nowhere Zine and one new, Zine & Not Heard #7.

Nowhere Zine Summer 2011
This zine is the work of recently appointed Maximun Rock n Roll co-ordinator Lydia and is a Greek/English punk zine. It’s odd actually, this zine made me feel old – not sure if it’s the youthful tone of the writing or the extreme attitude (although punk zines tend to have that in spades anyway)  which is along the lines of, if you don’t agree with them you can f**k off basically. That’s fair enough but it left me feeling a bit worn out!  Anyway, the writing’s not amazing, but not bad either, some of the columns were in Greek so I couldn’t actually read them but the zine and record reviews were worth a look.Nowhere Zine Summer 2011 content
The layout is pretty too – an A5 sized book, nicely chunky at over 90 pages with some bits in colour and a mix of type and cut and paste. Worth checking out for MRR fans or punk zine collectors – not particularly easy to get hold of a copy now so I’m told but I think Cessnock Underground distro in the UK still has it – that’s where I got my copy from.


Z&NH #7 Cover picAs with the previous Zine & Not Heard’s issue 7 of this Brit zine is full of off-kilter short prose, this time on the subject of Tomatoes. Disappointingly from my perspective this issue has no musical content at all, but to be fair it works fine without it and is still an intriguing read.  The writing is quirky but there’s a kind of down-beat feel to the zine as a whole, stories like Salsa leaving you in a thoughtful mood.  Visit the website to buy.

So my MRR subscription has been delayed, no sign of the first issue yet and I’m still hoping for new Degenerate and Us Und Them issues to be released, so in the meantime, aside from the above, I’ve been enjoying checking in to Fluke Fanzine online – haven’t been able to get hold of a hard copy of this in the UK yet but I’m still on the look out – this blog is all about pictures and new content seems to be added daily.

Things Of Interest December 2012

Just to finish off the year, here are a few things that have interested me lately.

In zines – I’ve recently acquired and read A Short Fanzine About Rocking.
A Short Fanzine About Rocking Winter 2012 It’s been going since 2001 but is only the second issue I’ve managed to pick up of this UK punk/metal zine, the clean, uncluttered style makes a change from a lot of the cut and paste zines I read and I like the writing style – some great interviews. At 80 pages (or there abouts) it’s not just a five minute read and kept me going for a few days so it’s cheap at £2.  Visit the tumblr for more info.

I’ve been listening to this great new album by Annabel non stop:
Annabel Youth In YouthI had the vinyl as a Christmas gift and it’s rather lovely but had listened many times to the full album on their Bandcamp so it’s already a favourite.

Coming up in the new year to get excited about is the new issue of Degenerate zine. This is by far my favourite zine of the moment both aesthetically and in content so I’m very much looking forward to that. A new album from The Bronx is coming early next year too which is always something to look forward to and hopefully a new issue of Tastemaker zine from Matt Average under its new moniker Us Und Them I very much enjoyed issue #1 of that. So tons to look forward to in 2013.



New Zines and Other Things of Interest

Back in the day I wasn’t really one for splitting genres, that kind of discrimination wasn’t really of much interest to me as my taste was, and still is, really diverse – there was stuff I liked and stuff I didn’t like and that was the way it was. Since I started writing seriously and contributing to magazines however it feels like this is something I can’t avoid, in fact it’s almost necessary when you write for mags with a wide focus so you can give your readers an immediate idea of whether they will like a certain record or not, but in another way it feels like cheating or being lazy and perhaps it’s spoon feeding to a certain extent.

I might have a wide taste sure but its also true to say that I’m not generally a fan of mainstream music, you’ll not see me writing a review of the latest Kylie record for instance. However you never really know what might come your way in the world of music journalism so the genre blanket is a safe and comfortable one to cozy up to in times of need – don’t judge me too much!

OK, to get to the point – because my taste is so varied I like to read about many different styles too so this great zine which came through the door yesterday really appealed to me (it’s by Matt Average who is a contributor to MRR too); the interviews are really decent (The Secret Society of the Sonic Six/Gary Panter/Glass Candy), columns are engaging and as a fellow collector of random bits of paper, a bit on set lists struck a chord too. As is the way of things though this came out last year and already the name of the zine/blog has changed from Tastemaker to Us and Them, which is possibly not the best move as there seem to be a plethora of zines with that name already around.


Also aquired this week was Brit zine, Limited Readership, issue #3.

This is the second one of these I’ve managed to get my hands on and it’s also a solid read like issue #2.  Nice classic cut and paste look and tons of content. Rob does tend to have a glass half empty feel to his editorial writing, but he needn’t as this is a quality zine and as a Brit it’s really nice to get a British take on punk as so many of the punk zines I’ve come across are American. The focus is pretty narrow – H/C punk mainly but there are plenty of current releases and bands covered and it’s done well so no complaints there as no doubt you know what you’re getting into when you buy it!


In records…

this cracking LP from San Francisco punks Neon Piss has been gracing my turntable with its melodic and memorable punk tunes. Don’t be fooled though, this is not pop punk but a heady and powerful mix of chunky/jagged/aggressive riffage and great vocals with interesting technical moments and obviously skillful songwriting ability. A real gem.



Lastly this week has seen me finally getting Snowing’s LP I Could Do Whatever I Wanted If I Wanted

I’ve been meaning to pick this up for an age but finally had enough money to do it. Unfortunately Snowing are now deceased of course but this record is a favourite and still has me playing it over and over after all this time; scuzzy indie/emo loveliness that’s super addictive. I thought it was about time I got a hard copy in my hands so it actually felt like I owned it – sounds much better on vinyl and it’s a lovely colour too.  Yum.

New Zines September 2012

Was really looking forward to receiving this Californian zine by Sam Lefebvre as it has a Michael Gira interview inside, also, it has to be said, the cover is fantastic.

Once I started reading it I was immediately impressed with the rest of the content too. Visually he uses a classic cut and paste format (which never gets old and always looks lovely) and the interviews, reviews and editorial content are intelligently written with a warm, thoughtful tone which rings true and he always seems to have something interesting to say. I will be on the look out for issue 11 as soon as it comes out. Sam also has a great blog at blogspot which you should also check out.

Now Playing – 3rd September 2012

Still feeling pumped from seeing Everyone Everywhere and Chalk Talk the other day and as a result I’ve been playing Chalk Talk‘s Bad Influences EP tons as well as the Everyone Everywhere (2012) record which is still getting regular spins . Along with these I can recommend The Coltranes – their album I’ve Got Heaven In My Smile, is brilliant but I’ve also recently acquired (from the lovely staff at Shogun Records) a vinyl re-release of their older EPs on one disc – Chris Benoit and Visions Of Terror And Bliss. Excellent.

Just received the latest Maximum Rock And Roll issue in the post which is their 30th Anniversary edition and a solid read – packed with punk reviews again to make you want to spend too much money and a crap load of decent articles.