Community radio music coordinators often have an encyclopedic 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 coordinators to highlight new Aussie tunes that you might have missed.

In this special NAIDOC Week edition, Emily Nicol from Sydney’s Koori Radio contributes with a selection of tracks currently making their way to community radio through Amrap’s music distribution service ‘AirIt’. Check out Emily’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.

Leah Flanagan – Chills

The first single from Leah’s upcoming album Saudades is a beautifully produced track that sees her deliver trademark sensitive, searching vocals over an echoey riff, contemplating an emotionally distant love. As a singer/songwriter this is what Leah does best, and if this is an indication of what’s to come, it seems that this album has brought together all of the right elements for Leah to truly shine. This is one that will stay in your head.

Benny Walker – Oh No You Don’t

Having taken a small break from a busy touring schedule after the release of his 2015 album Through the Forest, Benny revisits the theme of dealing with an anxiety disorder, this time from a different perspective that has him one step ahead of the tricks this debilitating condition can play. Teaming up with award-winning producer, Jan Skubizewski (The Cat Empire, Dan Sultan) piano and Benny’s vocals are brought to the front, to deliver an emotional, self aware and defiant performance. 

Emily Wurramara – Ngerraberrakernama (Wake Up)

The first single from Emily’s debut EP, Black Smoke, is a solid offering from an artist who knows where she comes from and what she wants to say. With a sweet sound that is sung in both English and Anandilyakwa (the language of her birthplace, Groote Eylandt in the northern Territory), Emily delivers this acoustic track with warmth and sincerity and shows a lot of promise as an up and coming singer/songwriter.

Nooky – The Greatest (feat. Jimblah)

Recent winner of the Australia Council’s Dreaming Award, South Coast rapper Nooky teams up with fellow Bad Apple artist Jimblah, letting us know that he’s aiming for the top – and his mission is clear.  With a fierce loyalty to his roots, he rallies against disadvantages and social issues that affect his community and is determined to use his voice as best he can. With Jimblah’s unique voice punctuating the chorus, this is a powerful combo. 

Pirra – Your Parachute

The hardworking Sydney-based four-piece fronted by Jess Beck have been solidifying their sound, and this track is one of their best yet, exploring the pitfalls of modern relationships. With a mellow, sparse and hopeful opening, we soon become aware of impending turbulence. Jess takes us by the hand with a romantically idealist sense of being too involved to turn back, the track finishing with a sweet cascade of drum and piano driven lament.

Jason Owen – Proud (feat. Christine Anu)

This is my kind of country music. With an opening featuring didg, along with the strong presence of our own diva Christine Anu, Jason’s first original track is a powerful statement of being proud of his Aboriginal heritage. Following the release of two #1 ARIA Country albums, Proud has a  catchy pop and guitar driven sound. This is a confident artist whose experience of recording with artists in Nashville really shines through.  

Philly – Vision In Rhymes

Newly signed to the Bad Apples label, Philly is a strong voice in the Aboriginal hip hop scene, quickly picking up a following through his lyrical gift and dynamic live performances. ‘Vision In Rhymes’ is a great follow on track from his debut ‘Dreamchaser’, giving us a confident performance with an edgier vibe. 

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