Swampland Issue 01
Thursday November 10, 2016·
When I was first interested in music there was no internet so I used to read a lot of print music magazines. My dad liked the idea of me 'getting into guitars' so he bought me a Rolling Stone subscription. They were mine and I could pile them up in my room, and you'd have to ask me if you wanted to read them.
These days I tend to read about music like I smoke cigarettes: quickly, in between doing things I really need to do, and often having it leave me with the feeling I could have done without it. It's so tough out there for both writers and musicians – no one has enough money to pay you or take the time out of their day, and the world of music 'literature' is clogged up like a broken toilet. Yet there are a few bastions of hope for the long-form music piece left, and we can now add Swampland to the short list.
Swampland is a passionate ode to Australian music and music culture, in a thoughtful and honest format that (despite being named after a both a Scientist's and a Birthday Party song) actively looks beyond the cannon of white dudes with guitars. There are a few straight up (though thorough and complex) interviews, a couple of photo essays, several pieces on contemporary Australian underground artists and some beautiful retrospectives on forgotten labels and bands. It's these latter pieces that this publication should be the most proud of, like Doug Wallen's perfect ode to Summershine Records, or Kish Lal's talk with Simona Castricum, which gave me onion eyes.
We might not see another like this (or another issue) for a while, but you gotta grab these while you can, and try to remember what it was like when we listened to whole albums together or when we didn't scroll down to the end of the interview, because there was no screen. Pile them up in your room.