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The Magpie Wing, a playlist

In The Magpie Wing, brother and sister Walt and Helen find a brief sense of belonging in the underground music communities of inner Sydney after fleeing the family home in the city’s southwestern suburbs. Their motivations for escape(ism) are in the book, but there’s a lot that doesn’t make it onto the page when it comes to the world of music they discovered, via the early internet, back issues of DIY punk zines and informal CD-swapping networks.

To Walt and Helen – and many like them – there was a historical promise made by anyone from Minutemen to Royal Trux, Butthole Surfers to Discharge: that something thrilling and vital is available if you go looking for it. Add to that promise the mystery that came with every bizarro punk band discovered in the mid 2000s on Limewire (bands that couldn’t be heard on 2WS radio). It all amounts to a potent recipe! 

This playlist (aside from being a promotional stunt for the book’s upcoming physical launch on Sunday December 12th at the Pratten Park Bowling Club) takes the bands named as influences in the book, and places them with the Sydney bands that Walt and Helen would have played with, supported, or watched, between the years of 2009 and 2018 (that is, if the book didn’t have FICTION stamped on the cover). 

Maybe that makes some sense of the sound of the book’s mid-section – sometimes ugly, sometimes beautiful, often leading its characters to anywhere from inspiration to self-destruction. I think it’s a nice listen!

— Max Easton, November 2021


1. Justice Yeldham – Colour Me Your Colour (2007)
2. Pussy Galore – Understand Me (1989)
3. Circle Pit – Neon Idol (2020)
4. Royal Trux – Hallucination (1992)
5. Naked on the Vague – Treading Water (2010)
6. Minutemen – Definitions (1980)
7. Ruined Fortune – Closing Till (2014)
8. Blues Control – Love’s A Rondo (2012)
9. Holy Balm – Fashion (2016)
10. The Replacements – Bastards of Young (1985)
11. Sex Tourists – Guts (2017)
12. Dicks – Rich Daddy (1983)
13. Royal Headache – Psychotic Episode (2011)
14. Black Flag – Nervous Breakdown (1979)
15. Oily Boys – Cabramaverick (2020)
16. Discharge – The Nightmare Continues (1982)
17. Low Life – RBB (2019)
18. Fear – Let’s Have a War (1981)
19. Cured Pink – Pop Up Shop (2020)
20. Butthole Surfers – Strangers Die Every Day (1986)
21. Lucy Cliche – Shallow Shadow (2015)
22. 4 Skins – A.C.A.B. (1982)
23. Orion – Sexy Alien (2017)

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