When Duress came through town, I had a conversation with their singer Matt about zines. I had made a post and flyer saying that zines suck, and I think the zine scene has suffered greatly over the past 10 years. I still occasionally check out new ones, but was never compelled to review them. Here's a handful of zines I picked up so far this year.
Mindless Mutant: #5
Over the past few years, for my money, Mindless Mutant was the best fanzine. I believe this is the final issue, and it's just as good as the rest. Inside you get tour diaries from Born Bad and Harms Way as well as a farewell interview with Punch In The Face. There's also an in depth review of the last Repos show, as well as other show reviews. No record reviews this time, leave your house for a change. Great pictures, and great cut and paste layout.
Distort / Counterfeit Garbage
I've gotten split fanzines before, but this reads like a collaboration. The issue focuses on the best of the decade, which makes me think maybe the 00's weren't so bad after all (way better than the 90's). They cover shows, demos, EPs, LPs and some other odds and ends. This is real cool, and something for old farts like me to look back on a decade of HC. It also works for the young kids just getting into it, to use this as your bible and get hunting on some records you missed out on. I can't say I agree w/ everything, but I all all of these guys' taste in music.
Counterfeit Garbage: #3
If Counterfeit Garbage was a band, it'd say "ex-Mindless Mutant" on their flyers. But they're not, so it doesn't. The zine starts off with a story about a flyer w/ Hitler on it that got a lot of people's panties in a bunch. I agree w/ the writers that punk bands have always appropriated nazi and other political images for their powerful aesthetic. The main feature is an Inmates interview that was rejected by Maximum Rock n Roll. I guess MRR's editor objected to them making fun of her name, it's a dumb name... get over it. There's also an interview with Canada's Omegas, and an in depth review of a CroMags show in Chicago. It ends with some music and zine reviews. Clean cut and paste layout, I'll be looking forward to more issues.
Screaming At A Wall: Issue 3
I had gotten SAAW #2 last winter, so I was glad to see it come back w/ issue #3. Interviews with The Rival Mob, Waste Management, Alert, No Minion and Troops of Tomorrow. Some of those are kinda newer up and coming bands, but worth your time. The Rival Mob interview really shows a lighter/humorous side that you get from their live shows, but not on record. I like that he also asks questions about the members' personal lives, as well as has a column about comic books. There's some pictures throughout, and some reviews at the end. The layout is a little sloppy cut and paste, but easy to read. I hope there's less than a year break before the next issue.
Effort Fanzines: #2
I got this zine through React! Records, so I figured it focused on the more youth crew side of HC. While I like some of that, a lot of it doesn't hold my interest. The layout is extremely well done, and professional looking computer graphic design. Very well written interviews with the First Step and Justice which look back on the history of both bands. There's also an interview w/ Anthony Pappalardo about his Radio Silence book (which I still need to check out), and his time in In My Eyes. Also a cool interview w/ Mindset. Really cool zine from Sweden, even if you're not into the style they do, it's very well done.
Thinking Cap: #1
I was given this at the Mindset record release show. The zine is only a single folded tabloid sheet of paper, and only features an interview with the singer of the band Praise. On the cover it states that the purpose is to "spread the word about Praise." However I think the interview is written as if you already know about them, and as far as I can tell they only have a 7" that just came out last month. I would have liked to have learned more background on the band rather than about their lyrics, since when I got it, the record wasn't even out yet. Good effort, solid design, but didn't really serve its purpose.
Severed Ties: #1
This zine is from Europe, and has interviews with Blank Stare and Coke Bust. It's pretty short, but they cram in 2 interviews and some reviews, along with some photos. In the BS interview, it states that they're going to release a new 7". If only that were true... The Coke Bust interview is worth it for Jubert's answers alone. The layout was done on a computer, but still retains a punk look. Good first zine, I wish it were longer.
Noise Reduction: #2
I got this zine from Paul (Give Praise Records), and from what I can tell it's a collaboration between him, Will (To Live A Lie Records) and Nick (Cowabunga Records). All of those labels specialize in some fast hardcore, so that's what I'd expect covered here. Interviews with Coke Bust, Bruce X Campbell, The Revilers, Bloody Phoenix and contains the standard reviews and articles. There's part 1 of a California scene report that's very long, which makes sense since it's a huge state. I would have liked to see more reviews, and I'm not familiar w/ most of the bands being interviewed. Nice computer layout, but still looks pretty punk.