A surprising amount of actual paper rags have arrivedhere at Termbo HQ over the summer months, enough to devote a few good paragraphs to. Ah, the irony of an internet zine reviewing print zines...all interviews by (RK).

Over the past year Australia has not only reclaimed a top seed in the underground rock championship brackets, they've also cemented a solid rep as one of the foremost practicioners of the paper zine. Distort leads the charge along with Stained Sheets and more I'm forgetting momentarily, but a new up-and-cummer is Negative Guest List out of Brisbane. A real deal fanzine, brimming with enthusiasm and sarcasm, they've shat out two issues already, both of which are top flight. Issue 1 highlights include a stellar Der TPK interview, a think-piece-style review + interview with Hospitals/Stonehouse, a page worth of insightful ramblings from DX (who dishes perfectly on FNU Ronnies, Nobunny, Brainbombs and more....), a well done reviews section that isn't overpopulated with mediocre toss off reviews of mediocre records, but does touch on a diverse and succint range of underground releases (including a spot-on review of the Hunches 'Exit Dreams') and more interviews and stuff, some of which dive into indie/arty bands/areas. Issue 2 delivers more quality, this time with a CD included that manages to pack on actual necessary listening instead of the barrel scraping rehash most comp CDs that come with zines employ. Tracks from Perth (the band), Taco Leg, Puerto Rico Flowers (Sharkey + DX), Hatefuck (pre-Pink Reason) and more worthwhile tunes. Content-wise, you get a great Naked On The Vague interview, a eulogy for Australia's favorite band Clockcleaner, an insightful talk with Clarke Blacker of Stick Men With Rayguns, Ooga Boogas chat, Ratas Del Vaticano, another DX page, pics, a bigger yet still A+ reviews section (the meat any good zine is graded upon...) and more. How classy is this zine? Issue 2 is dedicated to the recovery of Chris Knox and the memory of Sky Saxon. Good blokes, these. Buy it up here: dirtyalley-at-msn.com

The polar opposite of Negative Guest List is Mountain Fold Music Journal a professionally done digest-sized magazine, with actual color pro-printing/binding/etc...Layout reminds me a bit of Wax Poetics, a good amount of arty ads (from brands as diverse as Carhartt and Pointer Footwear to Not Not Fun and Woodsist) interspersed with arty interviews. Slick, but not overbearingly so, the interviews manage to stay grounded and focused on the artists and their work instead of talking about what their favorite hot dog topping is. Issue 1 has a knock-out piece on Fabulous Diamonds which I liked more than the band itself, and more with Naked on the Vague, ECSR, Beaches and others. Being a "Journal", there's no reviews section, which I don't mind, and each interview has art curated by each band (photos/drawings/words/etc). Issue 2 offers Dead C, Woods, Wet Hair, Circle Pit and more. Insightful and easy on the eyes. Snatch here: www.mountainfold.com.au

While Australia is busy running the table, Canada is sneaking into position for late round upset. Mongrel Zine out of Vancouver is a nice and fat little B&W digest dealing in all things garage. I've sampled a couple issues and they're definitely fighting the good fight. Instead of just doing interviews with bands, they talk with artists, recording engineers and other personas on the inside of the scene, making for a nice departure. Issue Four has a lovely piece with long-time Vancouver punk photog Bev Davies (who's snapped everyone from The Barbarans to the Pointed Sticks to Nardwuar), a nice Wreckless Eric/Amy Rigby interview, a boatload of interviews with B and C-list Canadian garage bands, and a packed live/book/DVD/record reviews section. The reviews aren't the best, but they're done with true fanzine spirit and there are at least a couple interviews that make the issues worthwhile. They also keep things very Canada-centric, which is wise and admirable. Issue Five offers more (non-Canadian) meat, including chats with King Khan (technically a Canadian I guess...), The Spits, a reprint of a great Lux Interior interview from '82 (done by Sal from Electric Frankenstein!), a surprisingly in-depth and worthwhile interview with Ratas Del Vaticano (another instance where I found the interview more interesting than the band's record), a great talk with Skip Jensen that includes lots of interesting Scat Rag Boosters talk, amazing Dead Moon coverage (a quality chat with the directors of Unknown Passage and a Q&A with Fred), and a short-but-sweet piece on The Petticoats. Plus a whole lot more reviewage and more artist/band interviews. A very fine publication. Issue 6 is out now, and features an all-Montreal theme! Each issue comes with a CD as well...Grab 'em here: mongrelzine.ca

Every so often a lightning-in-a-bottle zine comes flying out of nowhere and hits the demographic nail right on the head. Take Rock Mania, or Brain Lapse, or metal zine Chromium Dioxide. Based out of Toronto, this zine has it all for heshers who can read. Jam-packed with hand-drawn pics, interviews, lists, tasty little sidebar articles, bonehead humor and more. It's like Cinema Sewer but just concerned with all things metal. You could spend hours just looking at the little things, like metal band logos painstakingly jammed into the margins, and it's rife with list/run-down style pieces that are easy and fun reading (Heavy metal mascots, bad non-metal records masquerading as metal records, metal horror films, shitty album covers, label spotlights, a Venom wordsearch(!)...), not to mention meaty interviews with Jeff Young (Megadeth) and obscure rockers Morbid Saint and Talon. Plus, a section of reviews of old metal records which I want more of. I'm barely scratching the surface here, this thing is incredibly well done and sure to appeal to even part-time fist pumpers and will blow the minds of full-time heads as well. Comic-sized, full color covers and slick pages. A steal at any price. Buy immediatley here: myspace.com/chromiumdioxidemetal

With all these foreigners taking up the magazine racks, we're lucky to have Human Being Lawnmower fighting the good fight out of NYC. Issue Two is on the shelves, and features plenty of Punk Magazine-styled comics-n-rock'n'roll goodness. Great interviews with Gary Panter, Andy Shernoff (he doesn't like the way 'Go Girl Crazy!' sounds!), Apache, Jesse Hector (plus a Thug Rock Top 50!), Mark P., double-shot of Groovies with Roy Loney and Cyril Jordan, plus a whole lot more (Mike Edison, Eddie & The Hot Rods, etc...). The interviews hit hard and get right to the point without a lot of fluff. The real genius is to be found in the reviews section done entirely by Jesse Gasface, who is apparently trying to give Flamin' Waymon Timbsdale a run for his money! Spectacular! Digest-sized, thick and packed with comics too! Cop one here: myspace.com/humanbeing_lawnmower

You know what I miss? Fang Club Digest. Jesse, if you're not too busy sneaking into Modest Mouse's dressing room and drinking thier beer and eating their deli tray, please do a new issue. In the meantime Chocolate Covered Magazine offers a brief glimmer of hope. Issue 3 came with copies of Skipper and Saucy Jacks singles, and it's a fun few minutes of no-fi crud. First, there's a Termbo-centric cartoon on the first page about Young Steve's Rantouls review, a few hand-written pages of label goings-on and anecdotes, a pretty funny one page back cover comic, a feature on The Shangorillas (ex-Harold Ray and others), and some sandwich reviews. If you're ordering some records from them, I'd suggest adding a copy to your Paypal cart: www.chocolatecoveredrecords.com

What can I say about Brain Lapse that isn't dreadfully obvious already? The best zine I've seen since Rock Mania? For sure. An epic Equals/Eddy Grant interview that I wish was twice as long? Fuuuck. Amazing pictures. Old zine and record reviews. The Marbles (too gay for me musically, but the interview was great). The Orbits. More than you'll ever need to know about Titan Records. French Rock Mania! Unknown Japanese rockers Carol. Staff hunks like Steve Borchardt and Collin Makamson. If you haven't already bought this, you deserve to die. This is the type of fanzine record collectors will be killing each other for in years to come. Impeccably laid out/designed, well written, all color, all slick. Grip it and rip it: www.brainlapsefanzine.com

I feel silly even having to mention Galactic Zoo Dossier, as it is so good and widely acclaimed, but since it only comes out once a year or so, maybe some of you have forgot or aren't hip yet. Absolutely jam-packed with all things psychedelic/heavy/rocking/cool, meticulously hand-drawn and lettered, written by a staff who know more about music than any of us probably ever will, trading cards, an essential CD with each issue....it's pricey, but you'll be cherishing these issues in the future much like those well thumbed issues of Forced Exposure you're so proud of. Issue 8 is hot of the presses and has Ya Ho Wa, Guru Guru, Del Shannon, The Gods, Hoyt Axton, Eddie Hazel, Guitar Gods, Astral Folk Goddesses, Byron Coley and so much more. In an age when it's become increasingly difficult to find stuff you haven't heard yet, GZD always delivers some unknown treasures with each issue. The comic book articles are a bonus! Buy one now (and find me a copy of the compilation book of the first few issues please!): http://www.dragcity.com/products/galactic-zoo-dossier-8

In closing, I just want to say that anyone who is still riding on the old "MRR is no longer relevant" train of thought should check out some new issues. Layla is doing a great job as coordinator and there are plenty of great columns from Icki, Brace Belden, DX, Graham Booth, and some Chuck Barrels fella to go along with your Mykel Boards and Al Quints. And Bruce Roehrs is still going strong! Check the amazing Zero Boys interview from the August issue too (soon to be reprinted on TB). The reviews section is getting better. Sure, you have to skip some stuff, but that's been the case since I was reading it as a kid. I do wish they'd get rid of the 'What's The Scoop?' page though, it's total high school newspaper filler...If you haven't picked up an issuse in a bit, I suggest trying a new one out. You could be pleasantly surprised. They have on-line content now too: www.maximunrocknroll.com

To read past reviews go here.