By Jose Fritz
Oh here we go again. Independent publishers send us their work for you to discover. Consider making your own “zine” to trade them and send us a copy.
Mock Duck Press – $3
This is more of a best-of collection than a true zine. But the juxtaposition of era-correct advertisements and quality articles made it irresistible. I had flashbacks to both the beginning of Melvins and the end of Squirrel Bait over the course of 64 pages. There’s a nice undercurrent of noisy sludgy music content with bands like Shellac, The Jesus Lizard, Killdozer and No Means No, all sporting lengthy interviews.
The varied source material (Kill Everyone Now, Forced Exposure, Dissent, Kerrang!, Skateboard etc.) does lead to a somewhat inconsistent formatting and style. But the project was worth doing. These pieces shouldn’t be lost in the garage, buried at the bottom of a milk crate, underneath moldy mic cables. Any modification of the original works would have lost something in translation, time traveling between now and the late-1980s.
I do have open questions about the copyright issues inherent in this kind of compilation… but oh well. Be gay, do crime?
Let Me Put My Pants On
Anonymous – $22 (set of 3)
This is not one zine but one in a set of three zines: Let Me Put My Pants On, All The People I’ve Peed With, and Thread Direction is For Ass Holes. It’s an epic first-person, per-zine and runs for about 150 pages across the three volumes. We are into novella territory here.
I read all three straight through and found it riveting. The author is anonymous for most of the run but concedes the nickname “teenage Boy” in part 2, and then to the name Lisa in part 3. Whatever her real name is, she’s a crust punk and these zines tell the story of her travels, her friends, allies, enemies, lucky breaks and epic failures.
Most americans live in what Henry Miller called the air-conditioned nightmare. Very few people ride the rails this way anymore and she doesn’t pretty it up. The story is complete with all the mud stains, bruises and cigarette holes. It’s like Tom Kromers’ Waiting for Nothing in that way. A lot of time is spent drinking, fighting, passing out, sleeping in bushes, and occasionally waking up with no pants. Life is hard on the road.
I’m told that today’s crust kids appreciate Chris McCandless more than Kerouac but it often reminded me of The Road anyway. It’s that escapism, that celebration of travel as pure freedom. I don’t know about you, but the M&H freight train comes through my town. I can’t help but hear that whistle now. I hear that train a-comin’, it’s rolling ’round the bend…
This zine is a work of art with wild varied formatting and mixed ink printed pages. But without context I was a bit lost. After a bit of scrolling through the Cyrillic alphabet I found that the title translates to “Poverty Music.” I reached out to The esteemed Robert Eggplant for guidance and was put in touch with its creator, a Slingshotter named Josh. He filled me in a bit more:
“Really the intent was to write a few pieces of personal experiences which were tied to songs or music which were appropriate to the emotions or ideas in the piece. There are actually song lyrics scattered throughout the zine and titles of songs in the contents page… in the zine they are untitled and devoid of music and in this sense out of context which sort of leads me to my intention, which was that hopefully someone reading it comes across one of these lyrical fragments which are in the zine and searches up the song which it actually belongs to and then hears these beautiful songs in their original context. So… sharing some of my favorite songs while not depriving someone of the process of discovering it themselves.
As a professional music fiend, I’ve identified a few songs already but the joy is in finding them yourself. Life is about the journey, not the destination, as Emerson once wrote. But he also wrote “Music takes us out of the actual and whispers to us dim secrets that startles out wonder as to who we are, and for what, whence, and whereto.” No spoilers of course.
The People In My Panic Room
24 pages $5.00
PO Box 1547
Phoenix, AZ 85001
This is one of my favorite art zines to ever roll off a Xerox machine. It’s the debut zine by Brooklyn-based artist Ian Addison. It’s filled with black and white collage works created between March and November of 2022.
Most of the twenty-two original artworks take the form of surreal portraits, with the subject’s faces obscured and/or defaced with images and/or text. While some of the works are clearly altered digitally, others have a more analog origin appearing to have been attacked with scissors and blobs of paint.
The collages act as an introspective look into the artist’s mental health. On the title-page Addison calls it a “monochromatic wonderland.” But the images actually remind me of some of the more disturbing paintings of Francis Bacon, namely his `screaming pope’ series from the 1950s
None of the images are pretty, but many of them probably were originally and that is probably the point. Addison is trying to tell you about the state of his innermost self — his mental health and its blemishes, scars and the open wounds. So it’s a little dark and a little ugly but it’s true and the truth is always beautiful somehow. OK, maybe that’s not true, but it sounds like it should be.
The subtitle here reads “Even the Concept of Countries is Temporary.” But this is no geopolitical diatribe. It’s a series of essays, interviews and excerpts approaching Rave culture anthropologically. The assessment is overdue, Disco Biscuits came out over 25 years ago. They’ve passed the literature-grade acid test and the genre belongs to the ages now, just like the beats, the punks, dadaists, postmodernists, and hungryalists.
Can a rave be a TAZ? The “T” does stand for temporary. TAZ makes these points eloquently, focused on the definition of the temporary autonomous zone (TAZ) as a free construct like a permanent autonomous zone (PAZ) differing only in duration.
Different articles chronicle the history of Rave movements in different places: Jamaica, Detroit, the UK, mainland Europe, Chicago and how they grew, and mutated to create the modern phenomena. The best material here came in the form of interviews with people who were there. That kind of oral history is too often lost. Here it adds great depth to the story.
Work like this could have strayed into academia but it stayed true to a more traditional zine style. It was for the best keeping the stories accessible and true to the loud, sweaty, drug-addled nature of a real rave. That stylistic decision preserved its authenticity; leaving the stories intact and alive.
It’s worth noting that the writers, and even most of the interviewees in this zine are anonymous. But I do recognize the pseudonym moldyroot from the 6-Beet Manifesto published in Slingshot last October. That too was an excellent read — highly recommended.
40 pages – $5
PO Box 1547
Phoenix, AZ. 85001
Do you need any spare monsters? I can probably provide some direction here. NXOEED goes back to the very beginning of Fluke Publishing. I see his work online often. If not here, then you probably saw his work in NXOEED #1, MNRL CVLT Field Report or Miscreant to name a few. This new issue of NXOEED does away with the journaling and provides even more beasts and fonts. It’s 100% content and 100% on message.
It’s been rephrased often but I think the original line is from The Price of Tides, where author Pat Conroy wrote “Monsters are people too.” Few other monsters have been shared so widely. Ed “Big Daddy” Roth comes to mind. He propagated the Rat Fink onto T-shirts, plastic toys, album covers but he kept the Ratfink trademarked and inside his castle walls.
NXOEED’s creations are truly free range monsters out wandering the prairie and country roads. You can make buttons, stickers, patches, album covers and re-use them in virtually any way. They’re all free to use in any way except NFTs. Those are monstrous in a totally different way.
INVISIBLE EYE #2
$11 – (48 pages)
Phoenix, AZ. 85001
We have all seen old art flyers taped up, glued up and slowly dying in the elements. It’s been in the sun, and the rain, it’s been torn, and maybe it’s already been partially covered by another layer of stickers and flyers. They build up in layers in some places like finger grease on a fretboard.
OK, yes that’s a little gross, maybe another metaphor would be better but you get the idea. You only see part of it at one point in time and never see the whole of it, and never, ever do you know the context. Is it a basement show? A scavenger hunt? A neighborhood tag sale? We walk past quickly and never piece together the code.
Let’s pause on the word “code’ because this is Invisible Eye issue #2. I can tell you I spent hours decoding issue #1 because that’s the type of mad midnight typewriting finger pounder that I am at heart. I need to know the bleeding details.
I can testify that issue number two doubles down on the codex. It’s twice as much psyched energy and obscurity and expands from basic numeric and alphabetic substitution codes into hardcore geometric codes and symbology. They have cranked the volume dial to 11. But don’t let it stop you.
You just need to come prepared. Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight. I’m going to recommend good lumbar support, gloves, a mouth guard, a helmet if possible and a TI-81 graphing calculator or better. Don’t forget to pack water and snacks, this is going to take a while. I hope you are off work tomorrow.