Issue #80 of Razorcake, a mag that is “an honest reflection and catalyst for DIY punk rock,” has some wacky typefaces and the bad image reproduction that one gets on cheap newsprint, yet I couldn’t put it down because the stories were so damn good. The mag opens with a small rant lamenting how DIY punk rockers are voiceless, and one of the feature stories, “We Were There: Voices from LA Punk’s First Wave” by Alice Bag (who got into punk in the late ’70s), refutes claims by the Smithsonian that early punk in east LA was racist. For a punk rock newbie, this story was an interesting history lesson. There’s also a poignant story about the deaths of both a thirty-year-old CD player and a slightly older brother-in-law, a well thought-out article on how both liberals and conservatives in the US education system support discrimination against the working class, an interview with Sara Hendren (ablersite.org) about demedicalizing the design of assistive technologies, along with several profiles of bands (some of which have puked in unexpected places), comics about craft beer, hobo dreams and yoga for musicians, plus short reviews to rival those of another well-known mag. I’m more of an interested party than a punk rock convert, but I look forward to future issues and future concerts, like the one I recently attended (with earplugs inserted) in a vinyl record store in LA.
Tom Tom Magazine is for and about female drummers, but feminists of all genders will get a kick out of the strong and joyful women of the drumming world. Number 16 is the religion and spirituality issue, which means we get to read about how to get into the zone with drum meditations, drumming in church, drumming as a spiritual practice and shamanic drumming (shamans used to be women). A long interview with Palmolive, who was around at the beginning of punk rock rage, hung out with some famous male musicians, lived in squats, then left the scene and is now a mother, grandmother, teacher and activist, paints a picture of how things were then. In the shorter article, “Devotees of Shred,” we find out that not only do all-girl tribute bands have great names (Mistallica, Lez Zeppelin, AcéDShe) but they also rock hard, play loud (and well) and swing their hair. Several drummers are profiled, including Kiran Gandhi from MIA, who has some great advice for how to get and keep a good gig, and Bo-Pah the Mini Beast from Sledge Grits Band, who is a pre-teen drumming dynamo; and for those readers who are drummers, there are some Linear Drumming exercises and a piece called “The Philosophy of Tikadimi Takadimi,” both of which include what looks like drumming notation. A funny, energetic and well-written mag that’s filled with great action shots.