Community radio music presenters and music directors often have an encyclopaedic knowledge of local music and an insatiable thirst to keep their ears ahead of the curve. So in this Tone Deaf series, the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (Amrap) invites music directors to highlight new Aussie tunes that you might have missed.
In this edition, we’ve got the co-host’s of 4ZZZ’s The Amplifier gracing us with their picks and write-ups of the best local tunes they’ve heard later.
The Amplifier is 4ZZZ’s new Australian music show, platforming Australian, First Nations, local, emerging, independent artists while also showcasing the diversity of genres across the nation. Airing three generations of hosts, the program is dedicated to equality within the music scene and regularly showcases female and non-binary artists.
This week, The Amplifier co-hosts Billie, Charlotte and tomtom, along with seasoned 4ZZZ reviews music writer Benjamin, have put together their holistic overview of the best new Australian music earthed to them from the mothership that is Amrap and their music distribution service ‘AirIt’.
Check out Billie, Charlotte, tomtom, and Benjamin’s selections below and if you’re a musician you can apply here to have your music distributed for free to community radio on Amrap’s AirIt.
This week’s 8 best Australian artists
Of the countless albums and songs I’ve listened to this past year while co-hosting a first two, now three-hour weekly radio show about new Australian music, Laneous’ cinematic and eclectic Monsterosa Deliciosa not only stuck out from the first, but has grown to be one of my favourite releases of the year.
I could talk about ‘My Song’, a sarcastic and upbeat number with a I-Do-What-I-Want attitude, or I could talk about ‘Not Quite Right’, the heartfelt classical guitar and drum machine centre-piece of the album or I could talk about any track of the album because I love them all, but no, I’m going to talk about ‘Hold My Hand’.
Featuring a staccato riff that recalls a spooky Martin Denny, unisoned on all instruments, the song is about “… someone who doesn’t treat with love when you might not be at your best (drunk).”
The imagery of the stumbling lead man reaching for support is something from a 1950s Romance film. The concept is beautiful in its simplicity- the adolescent naïveté of holding hands layered with an adult man asking for help standing after a few too many has layers and metaphors abound.
By the time the Stevie Wonder-esque bridge section launches asking “where were you when I needed you? Dismissing me like some drunken fool” we’re cheering for Laneous as he stands (unsteadily) up for himself and asks for the support in hard times that we all deserve. (tomtom)
Check out ‘Hold My Hand’ by Laneous:
Somewhere between 1968 and 1988 jazz fusion got a bad rap. Maybe because from its loins sprung such “uncool” genres as smooth jazz that it shares borders with music that could be called “prog”. But Kumar Shome, here aided by The Punkawallahs, sprinkles his jazz fusion with psychedelic rock and a good dollop of funk to bring the flavour that you savour.
The track opens with the searing lead riff that holds more than enough spunk to keep you locked and loaded. But it’s when we hear the second motif, a hot buttered riff that ascends before falling back into itself like a delicious musical spiral that the meal is complete.
From the first time I heard this track I was hooked and have managed to squeeze it into many Amplifier episodes as well as my own show The Recipe. It’s not often that I’ll take a moment to vibe out in the studio but there’s some deep voodoo in this track that takes control of my body and makes me thrash around like the Spirit Of Jazz Fusion has gotten all up inside of me. (tomtom)
Check out ‘Shromer’ by Kumar Shome & The Punkawallahs:
CLYPSO is the ball of nervous energy building up inside of your body before you go full vogue on the dance floor. The Sydney-based artist is a collage of hyperactive beats, Atari-esque synths, grimey basslines and global tropical electronica, or as she describes it, “troppo chilli flakes”.
Surfacing onto the Australian music scene in 2017 with her Calypso inspired Afro-Caribbean style, the CLYPSO sound quenches your thirst like a fruity Campari cocktail that goes down easy but still packs a mighty punch.
Enter 2019, CLYPSO’s new boot-scootin’ baby ‘D.Y.S (Defend Your Situation)’ is millenial in its make-up, rambunctious, and woke, delivering an anthem as both a collective and individual statement. It’s about having the right to stand up for whatever it is you want; “Forget your reputation, got so much more at risk, rejoin the delegation, it’ll change if we insist”.
‘D.Y.S’ toots its own horn and carries the energising pace CLYPSO is renowned for, with its electronic brass section, driving bass lines and harmonising art-pop vocals.
In an exclusive interview with The Amplifier, CLYPSO mentions she has some exciting new collaborations and headline tours soon to be announced. Make sure you check her out in full-throttle at her next upcoming show! (Charlotte)
Check out ‘D.Y.S (Defend Your Situation)’ by CLYPSO:
Take a step sideways into the melodramatic world of Bec Sandridge, its gyrating veneer melodies and clamoured Devil’s advocate lyricism. Slipping into something more uncomfortable, Sandridge’s debut album TRY + SAVE ME preys on the predicaments of the artists’ personal anxieties in a tell-tale of her reinvention.
Running up that hill ready to make a deal with God, TRY + SAVE ME explores the interventions between individualism, identity and gender with an artful yet tongue-in-cheek approach that has become uniquely her own.
The dark chivalry only deepens as Bec Sandridge dissects the estranged creatures living in her head with her debut single ‘Stranger’. Recorded and produced with Gab strum of Japanese Wallpaper and Oscar Dawson of Holy Holy, Sandridge describes it as a body of her fiercest, most manic work to date.
“I will not leave my bed today, I’ve got a thousand things to do, I need a mental break, a holiday, somewhere to hide.” ‘Stranger’ was written during the artists’ struggle with image dysmorphia and depicts the anxiety that goes with seeing yourself as flawed.
The commanding vocals glide to a peak, shadowed by an a capella chorus. The angular guitar work and sonic savagery of the synthesiser lunge you forward into a full-blown dance track. In response to her finished work, Bec Sandridge admits that this is the first time someone has been able to capture who she is holistically – “the ugly, the unhinged, the raucous”. (Charlotte)
Check out ‘Stranger’ by Bec Sandridge:
‘Second Dinner’ strikes the politically charged world of nutrition with a resounding parry from the Don that – it’s okay, if you just like to eat. Like all music from this titan of titulation, Don takes a multi-modal approach, best enjoyed playing the video clip from your smart fridge as the cool oozes slowly from your crisper, feasting on that forgotten weekend karaage don.
Recorded at Donnyland Studios, this ghrelin-gushing sonic dream lands you in the middle of a strutting bassline, that’s taking this doggy for a groovy walk and a twangy six string dripping with effects that has a hard time keeping up with Donny’s sultry vocal melody. Donny Benét pays homage to a bygone era with his ghostly ’80s sustained synths and curated selection of 808 samples.
It’s hard to see the mountain range of Don for his peaks, because this behemoth simply keeps climbing. After recently finishing his tour of Europe with his five-piece band, he is set to soothe the North American audiences as a part of his world tour. (Benjamin)
Check out ‘Second Dinner’ by Donny Benét:
I discovered FELIVAND this year through the Brisbane music scene. Her vocals and dreamy ambience in her songs are hypnotic and addictive; forever leaving me wanting more. This stance does not waver with her recent single: ‘waitin’ for you’.
FELIVAND challenges listeners with unique yet relatable lyrics and dreamy beats; creating a heartfelt soul ballad that you can sway your whole body to.
The track opens with a lo-fi guitar riff that instantly entices listeners. Then the riff is continued with a trip-hop beat that is impossible not to head-bop to. FELIVAND’s songwriting is reflective and yearning; writing about the recovery of breakups. I could feel both anguish and redemption through FELIVAND’S honeyed vocals.
The shift in ambience in the bridge of the song leaves listeners floating in a state of vulnerability before dropping them back into the gravity of down-tempo beats. Moody and magnetising, ‘waitin’ for you’ is the song you listen to on a lazy Sunday, when you’re putting on lipstick before a night out, a late night drive; the list goes on.
FELIVAND has been my standout artist of 2019, and I await her new music with great anticipation. (Billie)
Check out ‘waitin’ for you’ by FELIVAND:
Another breakup song, ‘beautiful baby’ by Elizabeth is about leaving the chaos of a relationship behind. The track picks up similar elements to the works of Lana Del Ray and Paloma Faith; reigniting components of a 1950s soul ballad.
Elizabeth states the inspiration for this single was sourced from the Twin Peaks soundtrack, hoping to reimagine the magical spell of Angelo Badalamenti and Julee Cruise. The slow, rhythmic drums combined with a romantic piano scale and dreamy guitar are all ingredients for your next favourite mascara-stained anti-love song.
The music video reflects the same dark, atmospheric aura as the lyrics do. Elizabeth performs on a smoky stage whilst reminiscing the happier times with her ex-lover. The song itself tackles the concept that love can end, no matter how beautiful it may have been. (Billie)
Check out ‘beautiful baby’ by Elizabeth:
‘Don’t Overthink It’ is the latest anthem released by Brisbane babe Sahara Beck. The track brings her trademark swagger with a glistening groovy vibe; treating listeners to an art-pop banger. The single refuses to be another dramatic love letter.
Sahara Beck writes empowering and catchy lyrics that create an intoxicating chorus that you will catch yourself singing for days. Don’t Overthink It’ is the kind of track you listen to while you rise like a phoenix; no more vulnerability, redemption, and ultimate girl power.
Don’t Overthink It’ has already received an excellent reception, proving to be a crowd favourite at her recent show at the Triffid. When Beck performs the tune live, the audience moves unanimously in rhythmic waves. The energy Beck brings not only to her live shows, but to this single, is a force to be reckoned with. (Billie)