Hello my friends. I listen to this podcast called The Anthropocene Reviewed. It's hosted by John Green who has formed more of my brain than I'd probably care to admit. I've said more embarrassing things than that in this newsletter so I'm not sure what dignity I think I'm protecting here.
Anyway, it's a podcast where he reviews things of the human world, I guess. Things like Auld Lang Syne and plagues and Monopoly and notes apps and sunsets and QWERTY keyboards and all kinds of stuff. It's thoughtful and serious and beautiful. John tells stories and history and it's often personal and warm. I love that podcast. And at the end he ranks it on a five star scale.
Now, I've decided to take that idea of rating things that don't need to be rated and mix it with my poisoned asshole brain so every week I'm going to review a few things I've done or read or had passing opinions on and I'll put them here. For our first edition I will be discussing some real life things I've done lately, some zines I've bought, my local post offices, and a few other things.
I've recently come into a bunch of zines. Half from time spent up in the 3.2/10 city of Boston, Massachusetts, half as companions to records I've bought. I'm gonna talk about some of them.
I bought a copy of Cometbus #54 which is called in China with Green Day?!! I'll be honest and say that I looked at the cover and thought it said "2!!" instead of "?!!" which made me question if Mr. Cometbus had been to China with Green Day before. Turns out I'm just an idiot who can't read.
Anyway, a while back I bought a bunch of Cometbus zines from Portland Buttonworks and thought I got this one but actually accidentally bought two of a different one. I really like Cometbus generally. He's a real icon the "kind of about music but mostly just about me" genre of writing (nonfiction or otherwise) that I identify with. This one is about him going to China on tour with Green Day and sort of internally working through what it means for people you were friends with to become extremely successful. It's nice. In context of other Cometbus issues surrounding it, I'd say I liked this one better than Bestiary of Booksellers (#56) but not as much as Pen Pals (#55) and Spirit of St. Louis (#52). If I was to recommend an issue of Cometbus to someone who only knows the name from that one Jeff Rosenstock song it wouldn't be this one, but I enjoyed it.
Score: 6.8 / perfectly delightful gen x punk musings
Merrimack Valley Gothic
I'm pretty sure I've read other stuff from Nowhere Comix/Vickie Smalls before in Quimby's (9.7 bookshop) in Chicago (8.4 city). I always considered buying them and never did. Then I saw this one in Armageddon Records in Cambridge and decided to pick it up. It's a collection of comics about zombie teen angst and Dunkin and bulimia and group suicide. It rocks.
Score: 8.2 / creepy cool comic that you can buy here!
Three Records is a zine by Los Angeles photographer, Chrissy Piper. It's a collection of portraits with each subject recommending three albums of importance to them. Some people have blurbs, some don't. Lots of Jawbreaker and Minor Threat recommending being done, as is to be expected.
I bought it because Blake Schwarzenbach is in it recommending his faves. I don't think you can buy it anywhere so I'll spoil his picks for you all.
Score: 6.0 / good concept maybe I should listen to Minor Threat
Sinai Vessel / Ratboys / Slaughter Beach, Dog
I think the new Sinai Vessel album, Ground Aswim, is really lovely. It's an album I feel is totally timeless. Totally fits in all the folds of my brain that want to love Built to Spill but don't always. I think sometimes a lyric zine isn't that compelling, but I'm really fond of this one and its very analog photos just pasted onto the pages. It's beautiful. You cannot buy it anymore, but it is beautiful.
Score: 8.0 / beautiful photos beautiful lyrics
My boyfriend and I have both acquired a copy of Happy Birthday Ratboy, but I at least had the sense to buy a copy of the zine with it! This one has more of a DIY vibe, but it's full of really sweet and charming photos of the Ratboys band and friends from the last 10 years. I love Ratboys a lot so it was really cool to read about the early days of the band and that sort of certain early 2010s scene of musicians they were around.
There's a bunch of photos and an excerpt from an interview with Tim Crisp and profiles on all their many drummers present and past. It's great.
Score: 9.5 / beautiful made me cry every band should make a zine
I won some like Lame-O Records fan club thing so I got the SBD record bundle for free which is very good news for me. It came with a zine of personal diaristic stuff and drawings and studio notes. It's a really great example of something auxiliary feeling exactly the same as the album sounds. It's perfect merch. Not sure how many they made, but if you can get one you should!
Score: 8.7 / docked points for having more than one drawing of feet
The Post Office
I won't fully dox myself, but I live in West Philadelphia in an area where it makes most sense to go to the post office on 40th St. by UPenn. I have been yelled at once by other customers in that USPS location, but overall it's a good experience usually. The problem is that I go to the post office really frequently and the ladies have started to pick up on the fact that I am not actually dropping off international mail containing "correspondence" so I can't go there anymore unless I want to pay a bunch more and have to fill out a customs sheet. Horrible.
Score: 7.2 / really nice employees but I need to be able to mail to England on the cheap
At 40th St. there isn't a self service machine I can lie to, so now I walk 10 blocks east and go to the big post office on 30th. There's always a big line there, but nobody's ever using the self service machine. Jackpot for me. Every post office in America is the same in that way. Why do people want to stand in line? You probably don't have to.
Score: 5.0 / too close to take the train without guilt and too far to not be annoying
Going to the Movies
I went to a movie for the first time in a long time. I saw Minari with my boyfriend in a theatre that reminded me of the actual showing rooms in the Logan Theatre (a 7.5 theatre with 1.2 ownership). I almost cried during almost all of the previews, including one for a film called Twelve Mighty Orphans so that's where I'm at emotionally, I guess. I'd give the film we actually saw a 6.5: enjoyable but too long. Of course, I should have assumed it would be too long considering it was nominated for Academy Awards.
Mostly I thought it was really nice to be in a room with other people laughing and reacting to everything. I missed that. I also missed good popcorn!
Score: 7.7 / all movies should be shorter
Meeting A Bunch of New People
As I mentioned above, I went to Boston (actually Cambridge and Watertown) last week. One night, my friend Chris (10.0 person) who I was staying with threw a party of sorts. I've been having anxiety about meeting new people and trying to come off well after a year of not really having much social experience. The concept of meeting a bunch of friends of friends was intimidating.
What I hadn't really considered was that the people coming were mostly Boston Emo Nite regulars so it was just like fake emo nite in Chris's kitchen yelling PUP or Modern Baseball songs while getting drunk and talking about Taking Back Sunday.
I did get introduced by Chris and my other friend I was there to see, Ally (also 10.0), as someone they know from the internet. That's true, but it's funny to hear it out loud. I also met a few people who follow me on twitter who told me they follow me on twitter which is really an impossible thing to respond to. Thank you? I'm sorry? But one of them told me I got them to listen to martha and that's all I could hope for.
I know a lot of people from being on the internet. At this point, most everybody I know and talk to with any frequency I first met online. It's this very familiar awkwardness that I'm really happy to have back without the added layer of as much covid anxiety. That said, if you ever see me at a show, don't be afraid to approach but I will not say hi on my own.
Score: 10.0 / hey siri play friends we met online by joyce manor
Miranda Reinert is a music adjacent writer, zine maker, and law school drop out based in Philadelphia. Follow me on Twitter to hear more about music and all the cities I think are worse than Chicago: @mirandareinert. I also have a paid tier of this newsletter for $5 a month or $45 a year! If you do that I'll give you at least one free zine! Wow! Might want to get in on that! You may also just send me small bits of money at @miranda-reinert on venmo if you want. But as always, thanks for reading!