The existence of something like Swampland magazine is a testament to the entire institution of music journalism. In the digital era, the white noise of online musical discussion can at times become overbearing and due to an attitude often driven by clicks, the discussion can lack substance. Swampland is a print publication which prides itself on publishing long form, independent music journalism and photography which makes a concerted effort to delve deeper than a surface level.
Swampland features an eclectic and wide array of stories which span multiple genres and time periods. This results in a fascinating perspective on Australian music, through a unique lens focused on long-form narrative. After the success of issue #1 and its associated launch party Swampland are back once again, with a dash of controversy for good measure. Channel 9 recently aired a segment about how Swampland “caused a stir” due to the fact that the band name Spike Fuck was included on the “shocking” magazine launch party poster – which is the kind of promotion you simply can’t buy. Spike Fuck will be joined at the launch by Marcus Whale, Biscotti, and Emlyn Johnson. In celebration of the impending second issue, the wonderful team over at Swampland put together a playlist which represents both the diversity of the magazine content and that of the acts performing at the launch party.
“It might seem strange to put contemporary electronic duo HABITS in the same editorial realm as hardbitten rock and roller Spencer P Jones, but that’s just the kind of thing Swampland magazine likes to do. We figure everyone listens to everything now anyway—there’s no time to uphold battle lines around trivial matters of genre or taste. We’ve compiled this playlist to offer a glimpse into the strange and unexpected narratives that lurk within Swampland 02. It’s weird, but we think you’re going to like it.” – The Swampland Team
I Feel a Song Coming On — Essendon Airport
David Chesworth’s deadpan vocals give Judy Garland a run for her money on this track. Essendon Airport were one of many bands that came out of the Clifton Hill Community Music Centre, an experimental music space in Melbourne in the late-70s and early-80s. Swampland 02 features an essay by Tiarney Miekus (of Melbourne-based band No Sister) that interrogates the ongoing legacy and importance of the centre.
Guts — Spike Fuck
Everyone’s favourite sad-glam-country heroine stepped on a few toes last week, inspiring the wrath of both AM talk-back radio and Melbourne’s Lord Mayor. But that won’t stop her from playing at the Swampland launch at the end of the week. This song from Spike’s Smackwave EP tugs at all kinds of strings and hits you right in the chest.
Instamatic — Biscotti
Inspired by the best of Italian movies and the 1970s, this track is crispy and crunchy and just won’t quit. Biscotti’s fearless leader Carla Ori features in the magazine in a series of portraits taken by photographer Savannah van der Niet at Paradise Music Festival last year.
Leadlight — Julia Jacklin
Jacklin also stepped in front of van der Niet’s lens. This song is a dreamy one off the musician’s latest Don’t Let the Kids Win.
1888 — Marcus Whale ft Rainbow Chan
This track appears on Whale’s debut album Inland Sea and features his friend and fellow Sydney-based electronic artist, Rainbow Chan. In Swampland 02, Marcus and Rainbow sit down to discuss the complexities around Asian-Australian identity in the Australian music industry and whether this influences their respective work.
Ether — HABITS
HABITS could quite possibly be the most beautiful band in the world. The duo won hearts, minds and pelvises at Golden Plains this year, and they grace our cover in a photo-shoot that will basically change your life.
Good Sugar — Emlyn Johnson
Recent Bedroom Suck Split Singles Club alum Emlyn Johnson is a kind of modern-day bush poet who warbles about everything from birdwatching to wanking. As Swampland writer Alex Griffin puts it, Johnson “stretches language like taffy”.
Enmore Hotel Blues — Spencer P Jones
Before there was the Beasts of Bourbon Spencer P Jones—a figure of rock and roll extravagance and excess—there was a much more innocent character who cut his teeth in Melbourne’s rock and roll cabaret scene. Patrick Emery documents this little-told chapter of Spence’s life for Swampland 02. (Not surprisingly, none of Jones’s early bands were on Spotify, so we had to make do with this later cut.)
Kids on Fire — Gold Class
We also nabbed this very photogenic band to appear in our pages, so we couldn’t resist rounding things out with this old favourite from the Melbourne post-punks.
Swampland 02 launches at the Curtin Hotel on Friday 28 April with Marcus Whale, Spike Fuck, Biscotti and Emlyn Johnson.
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