It might not be the biggest mixtape in the world, but a playlist surrounding songs about zines would be a potent one indeed. Most notably, you’d have Belle & Sebastian’s “Chickfactor,” one of the highlights of their 1998 album The Boy With the Arab Strap. And Jessica Hopper once noted that Fugazi’s “Song #1” may have coined the phrase “magazinses,” which, if not a nod towards zines, is probably not not a nod towards zines. So…a small mixtape indeed. Maybe a mix cassingle? Have fun with the formatting with that one.
Anyway. While at the Brooklyn Zine Fest a few weeks ago, I caught sight of a cassette on one table; beside it was a sign declaring it to be lo-fi zine-inspired pop-punk. All of these things are huge pluses for me, and that’s how I ended up forking over three dollars for a copy of the Copy Scams‘ debut EP. Described in the accompanying zine — yes, this is a zine-inspired band whose tape has a zine inside of it — as “the band equivalent of a 24 hour zine challenge,” the music heard on these four songs is indeed pretty catchy, irreverent stuff.
With a lineup including Alex Wrekk of Portland Button Works and Brainscan zine and Steve from Rum Lad zine, the band plays a sound that finds that sweet spot between pop-punk and indiepop, with more than a little irreverence: leading off with a song with the anthemic chorus “No one cares/ About your stupid zine” will do that. On “Stuff & Things,” Wrekk cites things the band likes and hates. In the former camp? “Long arm staplers and long porch chats/ Stolen Sharpies and my aeropress/ Craft brewed beer and trading zines.” If you can relate, I suspect you’ll find much to enjoy here.
And slowly, my theoretical zine-centered mixtape moves towards completion…