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.
Mick and Tara – hosts of The Tuckshop, the all-new Australian music show on Sydney’s 2SER – 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 they explain:
“In 2020 – the year of uncertainty, isolation, stress and paranoia – it’s comforting to know that music, albeit of the recorded variety, is still a constant. It can help us through the hardest, saddest and toughest times as well as keep us up and going when we’re feeling great and energised.
“If one thing’s for certain, it will be that the music released this year will mark a point in time so unique that we won’t see it again in our lifetimes (well, we can hope!). With the launch of 2SER’s newest music program, The Tuckshop, it made sense to provide another avenue for Australian musicians to be noticed, receive deserved airplay and offer a flicker of positivity in an otherwise crushing year.
“At The Tuckshop, Mick and Tara are listening to dozens of great Australian tracks every week and it’s been a pleasure to discover, learn and connect with amazing artists, tracks and cultures.
“It’s also 2SER’s Radiothon at the moment, where we ask our community to help us out and subscribe to help Sydney thrive. This is a really important time of year for us and helps the station keep running, but also continue to promote and support the local community, independent music and culture. If you have the means and like what we do, please go to 2ser.com and click subscribe during 19th – 31st of October.
Now onto the music!”
This was the first track to ever be played on The Tuckshop when we premiered in September and what a way to start! Birdz has created a track that not only slaps hard and is catchy as hell, but tells a story. Inspired by the story of the Butchulla people seeing James Cook sail past Kgari (aka Fraser Island), this song has everything!
Featured is the voice of Birdz’ cousin Fred Leone, who sings in language and together with the prominent sound of the didgeridoo, sets the platform for one of the songs of the year.
With a debut like this, we’re already asking “What’s next?” for Melbourne R&B/Soul artist Kaiya. Her first ever track Introspect, released in September, hits all the right spots. A track dedicated to the ongoing isolation measures in Melbourne, Kaiya uses her new found voice to reflect on the importance of self-compassion and kindness in these rough times.
Despite growing up with Turkish music in her household, Kaiya admits “hip hop captured her heart early in life”. The unique blend of R&B, hip-hop and Jazz genres in this track, paired with her thoughtful lyricism makes for easy listening. As a technically trained pianist and self-taught producer, Introspect is surely the first of many incredible releases from the Victorian artist.
The debut album, In Feelings, from Sydney’s Lisa Caruso has been something of a labour of love and pain for the artist over the last six years, since her Take A Walk EP. Once you experience the warmth and texture of her new music, you forget all the waiting. This track showcases the evocative power of her music to transform you to a sleazy bar out the back of nowhere, staring silently at the night sky, waiting for the moon to rise. Simply stunning.
Kick ass all-girl-group Pink Matter, a trio of university friends from Brisbane, are well and truly shaping up to be a group to watch. Since their debut five-track EP Human Error in August 2018 the band has scored numerous top tier support gigs and is checking festival slots off left, right and centre (and assumedly will continue doing so in a post-COVID world). ‘You’ll Never Know’ is their first release of 2020, and only their third single release since the breakthrough EP in 2018.
The latest single is everything we could hope for from the smooth neo-soul trio. Psychedelic and funky, the Kaytranada influence shines through on this track. All we can do now is play the waiting game for the next releases from Pink Matter.
This emerging WA band aren’t mucking around with a pop-rock song that dives into your head and won’t let go. There’s a pulsing bass groove and dancing guitar are reminiscent of old U2 or new Everything Everything, but with the storytelling of the suburbs and a warmth that sucks you in. There’s a lot to like about this group and just as soon as everyone can travel around this country again, we’re sure a live performance will be something special.
With lyricism and musicianship as impressive as this, it’s no wonder that BLESSED is well on his way to becoming a household name. His impressive blend of hip-hop, pop rock and soul, combined with poetic bars, easily taps into the incredibly popular trap hip hop genre dominating the industry.
Originally from Accra, Ghana, BLESSED is now based in Sydney where he both writes and produces for himself. He’s received nods from all over the world, and has accumulated a hefty sum of streams on Spotify. With a discography as versatile and diverse as his, it’s not hard to see why this Sydney artist is shooting up the ranks.
With a pedigree that demands attention, you enter into the new world of Ex-Olympian with a knowledge that the time spent with Saskwatch and Dorsal Fins has treated Liam McGorry well. With a fresh debut album and passion for soul music, Ex-Olympian’s ‘Netherworld Boogie’ feels like an exploration into a dreamworld.
A touch of funk, a slither of flute and you quickly get the sense that you’re being transported into a new dimension. It’s a world that Ex-Olympian wants us to stick around in and, well, we’re fine with that.
BOY SODA, the enchanting persona of Central Coast born Brae Luafalealo, has us wanting to shoot our shot with every stranger we pass on the street. The self-produced musician’s discography, while still relatively small, is an incredibly solid collection of R&B vocals, backed up with impressively produced melodies and playful, intelligent bars. Having already bagged a supporting slot for Dominic Fike at a Camp Flog Gnaw event in 2019, undoubtedly BOY SODA has big things coming down the line.
Daisy Chain is the first of two tracks in the SPRINGTIME COLLECTION, due for release in 2020 – both as a pre-emptor to his debut EP in 2021. The track, featuring production by Tentendo, is no exception to his signature charm, saturated with flawless vocal runs and warm, comforting melodies. Bring on the next release, please!
When a debut single has this much passion, sensitivity and a build that leaves your breathless, you know there’s something worth taking notice of. Rowena is sprouting from an Adelaidean music scene that is popping off and this song, telling of loss, heartbreak and defiance, is also just a damn fun indie-rock track from an artist just starting out. Get on board the start of this adventure, but we get the feeling, there’s plenty more to come.
Melbourne brothers Daylan and Coben, collectively known as Yuto., have broken onto the dance/electronic scene with a series of impressive first releases. With only four singles to their name, three with impressive features from other up and coming artists, Yuto. have debuted to the world with a cleverly curated and special set of first songs.
Circles is the accumulation of their previous three releases, a perfectly low-fi electronic dance track paired with a lovingly mixed vocal from Luna May, that you can’t help but move to when you hear. The self-taught electro-pop duo are only improving with every release, and with a debut EP, Self Aware, scheduled to drop in November 2020 we suspect big things are on the way for this team.