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.
Charlotte Jones, Billie Shanks, and Nejmere Cody, hosts of 4ZZZ’s The Amplifier – which platforms new Australian, First Nations, local, emerging and independent artists while also showcasing the diversity of genres across the nation – continue 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 Charlotte explains:
“In the wake of political movements sweeping the nation, this all-inclusive playlist ignites the flame to the patriarchy and celebrates First Nations, female and local Brisbane artists who use their music to vocalise minoritised groups within society.
“Strap on your dancing shoes ~ cause we’re going to salvation mountain!”
All the Black Queens to the front, give us your best 16, this one is for all our Black women,
who’s voices, especially in this genre, are often silenced or taken for granted. Sampa The Great returns with new music – a remix of her single ‘Time’s Up’ featuring acclaimed Brooklyn-based rapper Junglepussy.
Jaguar Jonze covers early 2000s classic Britney Spears‘ ‘Toxic’, and while we’ve heard the original kitschy, pop dream a thousand times, this time she’s flipped it completely and made it a lot darker in response to the work she’s been doing to lead the #MeToo movement in Australia’s own backyard.
Woorabinda artist Miiesha made a powerful impact with understated grace in 2020 debut album Nyaaringo. Now Miiesha invites an all-star cast of emerging Australasian rap talent including Hoodzy, Jess B and Jesswar to bring an intense, introspective feminine energy to album standout ‘Hold Strong’.
‘You’ll Never Know’ is an emboldening story of inner confidence from Brisbane RnB/soul group Pink Matter. Co-produced with friend and close collaborator Harvey Sutherland, the single is a delightfully empowering slice of disco and soul.
Releasing her third single ‘Dribble’ in less than a year, we can’t get enough of Brisbane solo artist Sycco. Delivering polished modern-pop to a restless generation where anguish and moral idealism dribbles and drys.
Using art as a vehicle for change, Brisbane multi-instrumentalist Matt Hsu is taking his penchant for collaboration to the next level, making a rallying call to citizens everywhere to address, embrace and celebrate diversity on his unifying new single and music video, ‘Welcome To The Neighbourhood’.
Garnering her sound amongst the sweet open-air fields, Clea’s music is a collection of moments, a living-breathing document of life’s rich pageant. ‘Sugar’ is a dangerfield triggered by impulse and desire, where the lyrics run smooth and the melody is willing.
Melbourne’s Thibault takes us on a whimsical and pensive journey with the third single release and opening track of their new album Or Not Tibault. It’s a space-age discovery, entwining radiant hums and appregiated keyboard loops that feel unsettling under the skin. “Right now the outside world seems ambiguous, distorted, and almost alien” says ‘See The World’ film clip producer Ashley Goodall.
As we grow, perspective and appreciation seeps more into our consciousness, shaping the way we view the world around us. Brisbane’s Cub Sport explore this theme on their otherworldly, mid-tempo ode to gratitude ‘I Feel Like I Am Changin’’ which feels peacefully hazy in its delivery and meditative in its message. It’s the latest cut off their latest album, Like Nirvana.
Felivand returns with an upbeat blend of neo-soul and bedroom pop in her 2020 single: ‘Trajectory’. Shot entirely on Kodak Color the film clip directed and produced by Levi Cranston, ignites a fierce female force in Felicity Vanderveen who is on route to a new destination since her 2019 single ‘Waitin for You’.
A collaboration like no other – ‘the recent releases from The Avalanches has seen features from aussie favourites such as CLYPSO and Sampa the Great. ‘Wherever You Go’ takes you on an intergalactic journey through eclectic samples and deep house beats.
“This album is about uniting people together, If the world unites itself, no one will say ‘I am alone.’” says Gordon Koang. Learning his craft as a musician on the streets of Juba, South Sudan. The singer-songwriter spent six years as an asylum seeker and completed ‘Unity’ in the weeks before he was awarded his permanent residency in Australia.
A Melbourne artist not to be understated nor underestimated, ASHWARYA’s latest single ‘PYSCHO HOLE’ soundtracks moments spiralling out of control with somehow flawless execution. Curiously, the track was created long before our current conditions, causing the release to feel almost prophetic.
The dreamy day time single sets the scene of a summer in LA Lockdown. ‘Tuesday’ radiates ’90s french house energy with just the right hook and repetition. I can say this song is awesome to play in the car on a hot summer’s day.
Confidence Man truly brings the confidence into the club with this track. A go-to ego booter, their first single of the year has become an Amplifier anthem with it’s heavy dance-pop influences.
Wafia has been killing it this year with the release of her 2020 singles while living overseas, but that doesn’t beart her classic track: Flowers and super powers,the change of pitch in the chorus bridge instantly shifts my lod from vulnerable to miss independent!
Amplifying the voices of women, non-binary, and people of colour through her work, Alicy Ivy’s latest offering ‘Don’t Sleep’ features favourites Thelma Plum, Ecca Vandal, Ngaiire, Odette, Bertie Blackman, Imbi, and more. Recording ‘Ticket to Heaven’ in a makeshift studio, the intensity of Thelma’s vocals glide etherealy over Ivy’s xylophone echo chamber, proving this duo to be nothing other than pure heaven.
Zimbabwean-born, Adelaide-raised hip hop Queen Tkay Maidza segues into 2021 with her latest album trilogy Last Year Was Weird, Vol 2. Dominating and innovating the Australian music scene, Tkay’s finesse follows her on ‘PB Jam’s funk-infused late ’90s/’00s soundscape.
Hypnotic and translucent, Brisbane’s FeelsClub bears all with new single ‘Skin’. The 80s new-wave electronic track harbours self-reflection in a jaunt club trap soundbite that takes you to a Matrix reality with supernatural echowy chants.
The product of Antonia Gauci, David Gauci, and Felix Lush, the trio steadily build up hyper-pop with their debut EP. “‘Heartbeat’ is about those intimate moments of exchanged whispers before confessing your unconditional love,” says Antonia. Cleverly articulating her unique sound, ‘Heartbeat’ is a heart-racing and joyful synth masterclass.
More on our radar:
Pnau & Blossom – ‘Lucky’
ZOLLY – ‘On A Low’
Fraser A. Gorman – ‘Mechanical Wings’
Bones and Jones – ‘Donna’
Sunfruits – ‘Bonsoy’
St. South – ‘Does Your Brain Ever Get This Loud?’
Haiku Hands (feat. Sofi Tukker) – ‘Fashion Model Art’
Crocodylus – ‘Social Climber’
Baby Beef – ‘Beautiful Hands’
Holiday Sidewinder – ‘Lazy GF’
Golden Vessel & Mallrat – ‘littlebitwild’
Pool Shop – ‘Kiss The Sky’
SAATSUMA – ‘Isolate’
Cool Sounds – ‘Alive’
These Guy – ‘Lifevibes’
Mildlife – ‘Vapour’