The Australian music industry and community of local musicians is undoubtedly in crisis mode at the moment, with the global pandemic that is COVID-19 causing events, tours, and festivals to be cancelled, and robbing artists, performers, and those in the creative industry of a dependable income.
While a number of initiatives have sprung up to help support artists in this current time, the most effective way to continue supporting creatives is to buy their music and merch, hold onto any postponed tour tickets, and above all, stream their music as often as possible.
Here’s a list we’ll regularly update with community radio music directors from around the country of Australian artists much loved and supported by community radio and its dedicated listeners. Their music has been a source of strength, inspiration and connection. Some of these tracks are new releases, and others from artists who would otherwise be traveling and touring at this time.
Sally Lewis of Melbourne’s SYN FM continues this series with Australian music available on Amrap’s AirIt service to help compile a playlist of the best Aussie tunes doing the rounds on community radio to show your support to. As Sally explains:
“The music industry is a little different at the moment, but despite how dull and dreary the scene may feel, (writing from Melbourne Stage 4 lockdown, here!) every day there is a new Australian track released or new act to discover.
“Tune your radios or set your online streams to a community radio station in your city and you’ll be sure to have your ears buzzing. Also, subscribe to these stations if you can! Community media broadcasters need a helping hand to continue the incredible work they do in providing localised news and entertainment.
“Supporting artists directly too, will help keep the party going. If you are able, purchase their latest release or merch drop, join their virtual listening parties, or even just have their music on repeat to learn every lyric for the next eventual live show.”
Check out Arno Faraji & Two Another’s ‘Just A Phase’:
‘Just A Phase’ is a luxurious and leisurely collaboration that wonderfully pairs Two Another’s warm and wavy electronica with Arno Faraji’s sly and sleek rap flow. Delicious.
The Yorta Yorta MC teams up with Gamilaraay singer-songwriter Thelma Plum to deliver an evocative and fearless track that focuses on Indigenous Australian’s often exhausting experience of living between two worlds and meeting society’s expectations.
The ambient-electronic collective from Melbourne have released another blissful single. The opening arrangement of ‘XING’ symphonically sprawls into wistful chimes and synths, and somehow within the three-minute track a bass-heavy dance beat kicks in and it’s a UK garage-house thumper.
Kick back and relax to some low-key, easy listening, guitar-pop. The song, a reflection on how life is always changing, will whisk you away to a far-away tropical island. A stark contrast to Melbourne’s lockdown period in which the song was written and recorded during.
Yorta Yorta artist DRMNGNOW in collaboration with producer Dizz1, takes a hard and sharp stand against the deep injustices experienced and faced by First Nations people at the hands of Colonial systems and societies.
Wiggly flute melodies? Tick. Delightful harmonies? Certainly. Homey psych-rock guitars? Check. Quirky and chaotic lyricism that leaves you ruminating on the nature of existence? Absolutely, yes.
Check out Elsie Lange’ ‘Talk To Me’:
Fans of Julia Jacklin and Angel Olsen, be sure to check Elsie Lange’s debut EP ‘Talk To Me’. The title (and end) track beautifully closes the EP’s explorations of confusion, agency and growth.
Has Australia found its own Win Butler? Reminiscences of Arcade Fire, the Sydney slow-glam group have nailed the synth melodies and fuzzy guitars on this one.
Conceived by the Sydney duo as a mantra for compassion and connecting, you’ll get lost in this hypnotising and heartwarming electronic-dance track as it winds you back to memories of dancing in the club or inner-city house parties.
‘Arrow’ is a super nice slice of rocky, dream-pop. On the track, FRITZ whisks you away to feel all of your feelings.
A sunny blend of ’70s groove-rock and neo-psych, the Gold Coast-based group have gifted us this charming track.
Prog-pop eccentric Gregor has returned with a simmering new single that’s as cosy as a cuddle with your cat on a rainy day.
Check out Grievous Bodily Calm’ ‘Mosaic’:
As mosaic as music can get, the Perth-based instrumental-jazz group cohesively piece together vibrant, shifting melodies and toe-tapping rhythms.
The dance-pop renegades are back with and another boogie-inducing belter. Get ready to vogue the house down listening to this one.
This powerful new track from Jimblah sends an incredibly strong message by ways of his songwriting and distinctive voice that is complemented beautifully by those smooth hip hop beats.
An infectiously funky mix of jazz, psych and disco, the Melbourne four-piece turn over a flute-infused, boogie inducing number.
From the Melbourne oddball-punk’s Machine Nation EP, thrash your head to the jagged guitar riffs and jerky rhythms of ‘2021’ while we wait for 2020 to blow over.
Plastic swing between serious and sarcastic on this excellent dose of guitar-noise-pop. Look out for their debut LP New Hands out next month.
Check out Pop Filter’s ‘Big Yellow Van’:
Made up of familiar faces from Snowy Band, The Ocean Party and Cool Sounds, Pop Filter here delivers a completely candid and homely guitar-pop/dolewave track that is an instant joy to listen to.
Melbourne producer Market (Lee Hannah) has sprinkled some balmy lo-fi beats over this incredibly relaxing remix. Sit back and take it all in.
A riotous hit of their fiery pub-punk, Private Function put pedal to the metal (“straight up the Hume”) with this thrashing and thwacking ode to the twin cities. Guess who’s still on top? Albury. Wait no, PF.
REBEL YELL is the moniker of Sydney electronic artist Grace Stevenson, who teaming up with Marcus Whale on this track, serves up one of the many mesmerising, tech-club anthems from her latest album Fall From Grace.
SaD – ‘Sign From Above’
With Daphne Camf (NO ZU) on vocals and synth, and Simona Castricum on guitar and programming, this collaborative project was only ever going to promise us some deep and dark waves of brooding electronica. Count me in.
The thick basslines and electric drum machine drives this post-punk, shoegaze stunner down the highway and straight to the beach for a summer night swim.
Check out Stella Bridie’s ‘My Girl’:
Melbourne singer-songwriter Stelle Bridie will blow you away with her powerful vocal work and poetic lyricism. ‘My Girl’ starts with a soft piano and Bridie’s silky voice before swiftly soaring into emotive choruses that hit you right in the heart.
Plunge yourself into the hallucinogenic dreamscape of Sunfruits. This whacky and warpy track is packed with psychedelic guitar riffs, clapping percussion, tooting horns, and a special spoken word feature from Zoë Fox (Zoë Fox and the Rocket Clocks).
A heavenly jangle-pop hit, Terrible Signal captivates you with those catchy hooks and sprightly melodies.
It’s an atmospherically lush single from the upcoming Or Not Thibault album that’s a little slower and softer in its melodies than predecessor ‘Drama’. However, it’s a much welcomed pace that lets you soak in the spacious mystery of the music.
An absolute idol of the Australian R&B scene, Tkay Maidza is back with her slam-dunk Last Year Was Weird Vol.2 EP. ‘You Sad’ slides into the EP as a bossa-twisted track that sees acoustic riffs meeting bubbly pop melodies.
A powerful and soul tingling debut single from Yirgjhilya, ‘Baganar’ is written in the Aboriginal language of Mirning from the Far West Coast of South Australia. It is stunning.