As we roll through mid-late December it’s a rite of passage for music lovers to start collating, penning, reworking and sharing their ‘best ofs’ so naturally we’re jumping in to share a few retrospective tips.

The first list we’re running however, comes in the form of a collaborative piece with the crew from Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (Amrap). For those uninitiated Amrap is a local music institution that gets new Australian music to community radio stations and helps broadcasters promote Aussie artists on air and online.

So for our first best of list we asked nine influential community radio Music Directors (because who knows local music better than the good people at community radio?) to tell us about their favourite Aussie releases of 2015. The tracks are also available for DJs to grab for airplay from Amrap’s music catalogue AirIt. Also a huge congratulations to everyone who devotes their time to community radio as 2015 has been one of the best years for community radio in local music history!

Simon Winkler | Triple R | Melbourne

Sampa The Great – ‘Class Trip’
Taken from: The Great Mixtape (Wondercore Island)

So many incredible releases and musical discoveries in 2015, and The Great Mixtape by Sampa The Great stands as one of the absolute highlights of the year for Triple R.

Lyrically Sampa explores themes of identity and social politics with powerful poetry, and musically the record plays with a unique combination of soul, jazz, funk and blues. Could have picked any song from this revelatory release for the list!

Andrew Khedoori | 2ser | Sydney

Blank Realm – ‘No Views ‘
Taken from: Illegals In Heaven (Bedroom Suck)

Straight-up, Illegals In Heaven, the new album from Brisbane’s Blank Realm, is insanely good. They’ve upped the ante on their thrilling rush of psych-rock energy and 60s girl-group pop bounce with deeper extensions into the realm of song to make this their most substantial record yet.

The extra nuance and invention might be in part due to Lawrence English, renown sound artist and sonic explorer at the production helm, but this is a band making the utmost of an anything goes policy when that could be a dog’s breakfast in the hands of so many others.

Adam Christou | RTR FM | Perth

Erasers – ‘Returning Home’
Taken from: Stem Together (Pouring Dream)

Erasers is the musical project of Rebecca Orchard and Rupert Thomas who’ve been making music together for nearly half a decade. Returning Home comes from their long-awaited debut album Stem Together, which came out through the band’s own label, Pouring Dream.

Their music is a warbling wonderland of psychedelic synth-work and subtle, layered guitar and percussion. Orchard’s vocals get into the mix as well and bring it all together.

One of West Australia’s best kept secrets.

Chris Cobcroft | 4ZZZ | Brisbane

Ainslie Wills – ‘Hawaii’ 
Taken from: Oh The Gold (Independent)

Ainslie Wills is a favourite. Her achievements always seem…quiet… and subtle, but they reward the attentive listener, discovering someone who’s much more than a country-tinged singer-songwriter. Her latest EP, Oh The Gold, is a perfect example. It’s full of softly unexpected stylistic touches: mournful folk shot through with angelic r’n’b, or singer-songwriter fare transformed by darkly tinged neo-soul.

There’s not a single track that doesn’t give you something unexpected although even without the tricks it’s stellar songwriting. The one I’ve chosen is, ironically, just about the loudest thing Wills has ever made: the slow-burning, Springsteen-esque, anthemic rock of ‘Hawaii’.

Chelsea Wilson | PBS FM 106.7 | Melbourne

The Meltdown – ‘Better Days’
Taken from: Better Days 7″ (HopeStreet Recordings)

This beautiful sweet soul track has real heart and the perfect amount of melancholy. The stunning vocal performance by Simon Burke backed by Lachlan McLean, Anton Delecca (The Bamboos), Mick Meagher (The Putbacks) Hugh Harvey, plus Hailey Cramer and Chantal Mitvalsky on backing vocals creates a sublime southern roots sound, beautifully produced by Hope Street Recordings. One of the best tracks of 2015. I’ve nearly worn my 7” out and will need a new one very soon!

Luke Penman | Radio Adelaide | Adelaide

Glass Skies – ‘Still Here’

Taken from: Fly On, Children (Independent)

Glass Skies are the best band in the world. Whether it’s stretched over 11 minutes or condensed to barely more than 2, they explore space-y psych-rock sounds without messing about.

Josh Van Looy is the best guitarist in the world. He’s also the best gif in the world. What more could you possibly want?

Stephen Goodhew | FBi Radio | Sydney

Szymon -‘Golden’
Taken from: Tigersapp (Eloper Music)

‘Golden’ is the second single from Szymon’s posthumously released debut album, Tigersapp, offering us a glimpse into the talent of a man we lost far too soon.

Blending folk, electronica and pop, ‘Golden’ stands as a testament to Szymon’s ability to turn the beauty within and around him into something truly special. Although the circumstances of Szymon’s ultimately tragic battle with depression will always be tied up with his music, the track offers us a window into Szymon’s life in happier times.

Aeron Clark | Edge Radio | Hobart

Going Swimming – ‘Them Shakes’
Taken from: Deadtime Stories (Independent)

This one punches you right in the guts from the word go and doesn’t ease up. From the visceral scream of the opening line (you can almost feel Nicholas Leggatt’s spit hitting you in the face), through to the final growling breath, ‘Them Shakes’ is 2:20 of pure and unembellished garage energy.

Going Swimming are straight to the point, completely unpretentious, and monstrously fun.

Melissa Fletcher-Young | SYN | Melbourne

Lanks – ‘Settle Down’
Taken from: Banquet EP (Independent)

Lanks has been an artist that SYN have followed keenly since Will’s inception of the solo project. His sophomore EP, Banquet, released earlier this year, was a beautiful exploration of sounds and genres, expanding on ideas and working to find his sound as an artist.

‘Settle Down’ is a standout on the record, a very chilled out yet captivating, expansive track, which received a lot of love across the station, particularly with presenters on our Australian music program, The Hoist.

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