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Max Easton is a writer from south west Sydney with work appearing in publications including Mess+NoiseSydney Review of BooksMeanjin, Science for the PeopleVICE and The Lifted Brow. He is the creator and host of the underground music podcast and zine series Barely Humanand has played in Sydney punk bands BB & the BlipsThe BabyBasic Human and Romance. His first novel The Magpie Wing was published by Giramondo Books, and was longlisted for the 2022 Miles Franklin Literary Award. Max's work circles the social potential of collectivising, the independent DIY ethic, and sociopolitical histories from outside the boundaries of industries and institutions.


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MAJOR PROJECTS 


The Magpie Wing (A Novel) - Giramondo Books, September 2021

Barely Human was a narrative-driven podcast series launched in January 2020, discussing a number of forgotten and footnoted musicians of underground music history. It followed a thread from sixties counter-culture to contemporary sub-culture. From hippies and punks to the age of obscurity, it asks how we got here, what any of that meant and how it might inform the underground music to come. Though the podcast series ended in April 2020, the project continues via a series of typewritten zines and bootleg cassette tapes. 

TEMPERED was a collaborative arts journal that charted the outsider mentality of backwater Australian music. Compiled and edited by Max Easton, designed by Daryl Prondoso and published by MoodWar, it offered perspective from those who contributed to Australia’s underground music communities with a tone both loving and critical. Themes included space, gender, class, autonomy and relocation, providing a window into what drives local underground art, and declaring a space from which to improve it. 

The first volume (2015) is out of print, while the second volume (2018) is available in limited quantities here: Volume II Available Now

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Max's essay and feature writing has appeared in publications including Sydney Review of BooksMeanjinThe Lifted BrowThe Big IssueMess+Noise, Vice, SwamplandDifficult Fun and Crawlspace. While much of this has been lost to online turnover, some available features are linked below, and archive versions will be published intermittently on this substack.

Can the Magpie Speak? - Sydney Review of Books, 2021
"Whenever I try to link these kinds of events together, I hear this great big voice telling me it’s a conspiracy, that I’m cherry-picking factoids to prove a point; that I’m spouting ‘tremendous bullshit’ in linking the history of my lost rugby league club to timely events that suit the publication deadline of this essay."

One For the Indebted Class - Meanjin, 2021
"The broader political project of the creditor class becomes clearer when reading between the lines of debt history, thus revealing the link between contemporary Australian debt traps and the historical crises of sovereign debt abroad—an increase in indebtedness proves to be remarkably good for economic growth."

"If we were to be so bold as to draw a line back to a point where anthropogenic climate change was not in effect, Australia finds itself at a time before the invasion and colonisation of Aboriginal land, before the construction of financial markets and pollutive industry: and if colonisation and capitalism were the starting points for the long curve to where we sit today (on an island that was on fire for six months), then surely we can see a burning case for spinning back the dial."

"While an individual can often foster a sense of community (and in the case of remarkable figures, can even draw attention to it), the notion of individual art ignores the world that helped build it."

"The narrative thread of why Sydney (and cities like it) might be disappearing are already storied and beginning to tire, but there are frayed ends I like to follow. I tend to think less about state planning legislation and more about why the city’s young punks turned in their drum kits and embraced the drum machine."

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Projects dead and alive below:

- Adult Baby 7" (2019)
- Cassette Tape (2018)

- LP (Coming 2022)
- First Steps Tape (2019)
- Winter Tape (2019)

Romance (guitar)
- Recordings coming 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022?
- Shame Job LP (2018)
- US/Canada Tour 2018
- Demo Tape (2017)
- Tape (2015)

- 7" (2015)

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