With the end of the year fast approaching, it’s time to look back and reflect on what was an incredible year of Australian music with our own small acknowledgment of the artists and releases that made our 2016.

Throughout the week, we’ll be announcing the winners of our Tone Deaf awards over the following categories:

Today, we’re happy to present our award for Album of the Year.


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“Rap music will always be different to hip-hop. The latter is an all-encompassing elemental movement, the former is a mechanism of character, mettle and finesse. We know Briggs and Trials can rap. But what’s vital in noting is that the skill and professionalism of their craft disregards any claim that this album is just shock value for shock value’s sake. Reclaim Australia is Rap-101, which sees the duo deliver some of the verses of their career.

It’s impossible not to talk about the imperative social message of Reclaim Australia. However, as much as this record casts a light on this country’s history of racism, discrimination and inhumanity, it also casts a light on the culture and the craft whose sound and identity has been watered down courtesy of bubble-gum friendly diatribes and appropriated sensibilities of first world problems delivered by privileged voices with hip-hop as the cash cow delivery system.

The breadth and thematic density of this record is immense. It’s a concept album and simultaneously not a concept album. The slaughter and mistreatment of Indigenous Australians is not a concept – it’s a fact. This record is historical artefact. This record is protest music in the purest meaning of the word. This record has been waiting to be made for over the past two hundred years.

The message is raw, it’s undeniable, and its context is unprecedented. It’s something that Australia has been missing – true protest music. This is if Run The Jewels made It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back with M.O.P writing every hook. However, one thing above all can’t be understated: this is really good rap music.” – Kieron Byatt

“It seemed the number one question on everybody’s minds once Australian hip-hop’s foremost bad apples, Briggs and Trials, announced the formation of A.B. Original was “What the bloody hell took you so long?”It wasn’t necessarily a question aimed at the two emcees behind the fiery protest album that we’ve dubbed the best of 2016, it was more an acknowledgement that the issues raised on Reclaim Australia are hardly new.

The next most commonly asked question is why the album – entitled Reclaim Australia and written and recorded by two rappers who are Australian as fuck – is so steeped in the tradition of American hip-hop? The answer is simply that the struggle is one and the same and, on what will hopefully be the first of many albums as A.B. Original, Briggs and Trials articulate that struggle both vividly and eloquently. This is an album that rubs the face of a nation in its own vomit, and forces it to look in the mirror.” – Greg Moskovitch


Reclaim Australia – A.B. Original
Nonagon Infinity – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
Don’t Let The Kids Win – Julia Jacklin
Bloom – RÜFÜS
Blastoma – Ngaiire
WACO – Violent Soho
Self-Talk – Olympia
Outlier – 12 Foot Ninja
As Above, So Below – Stonefield
Self-titled – Camp Cope
Nullarbor 1989-1990 – friendships
GARY – Mangelwurzel
Opera Oblivia – Hellions
Self-titled – Koi Child
Two Degrees – Illy
Utopia Defeated – D.D. Dumbo
Divas & Demons – REMI
Skeleton Tree – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
If This Is All We’re Going To Be – Luca Brasi
Afterlife – NOZU

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