As the Australian music scene continues to gradually return to its pre-COVID glory, community radio Music Directors and presenters from around the country shine a light on the finest local talent doing the rounds today.

While many of us are adjusting to a new sense of normality after 2020, Australian musicians are still facing enormous limitations in working opportunities to support and sustain their careers. Exposure is more important than ever and ironically harder to come by in today’s media landscape.

The Australian Music Radio Airplay Project – best known as Amrap – offers Australian musicians a pathway to airplay to the many community stations who have long championed Australian music of all stripes. Providing exposure often before anyone else, community radio is a strong and unique network immune to passing trends.

In this Tone Deaf series, we’ll turn to the Music Directors and presenters at some of the amazing community stations from around the country and get their latest favourite Australian music discoveries from Amrap. 

Steph Liong, Music Director of 2SER in Sydney, kicks off this new series with Australian music available on Amrap to help compile a playlist of the best homegrown tunes doing the rounds on community radio for you to sink your teeth into. As Steph explains:

“With Covid restrictions easing and as plans for the vaccine rollout unfold, the music community returns to a new year after the year that was. Recovery will be slow but I’m remaining optimistic and hope people can support their local industry as best they can.

“Continue sharing content, support live music where possible and if you have the means, purchase vinyl, CDs and merch directly from the artist. A silver lining continues to be the wonderful service offered by AMRAP and their platform that connects broadcasters from over 400 community radio stations with home grown music content. Here’s a list of what’s been on rotation at 2SER and has us looking forward to 2021.”

Check out ‘Sleeping Dogs’ by Alice Cotton:

Click to play videoPlay

Alice Cotton – ‘Sleeping Dogs’

At the end of Alice Cotton’s first queer relationship, she found herself conflicted. On one hand there was a longing to reconnect to her once partner but on the other, a wanting to respect boundaries. On ‘Sleeping Dogs’, Cotton pens a beautifully tender and emotive track inviting us into her reflection.

Cool Sounds – ‘Crimson Mask’

Building on from the momentum of last year’s EP Sleepers, The Melbourne band returns with this stellar cut from their fourth album ‘Bystander’. There’s a lot to love on their latest record but ‘Crimson Mask’ is one that I keep returning to.

Just as the band’s name suggests, there’s an enviable effortlessness that comes across when listening to this, and I can’t resist a tune that takes influence from The Velvet Underground’s early days. Scraggly, jangle-pop grooves with a nod to classic rock.

Hello Satellites – ‘No Delivery’

‘No Delivery’ is the latest track lifted from Hello Satellites’ forthcoming album, There Is A Field. Melbourne songwriter Eva Popov is at the helm of this project and explores screen addiction on this electro-pop number. A cerebral adventure with some other-worldly production.

Check out ‘No Further Than You’ by Izy:

Click to play videoPlay

Izy – ‘No Further Than You’

The Cairns raised trio may have relocated to join the vibrant neo-soul scene in Melbourne, but ‘No Further Than You’ still packs some tropical heat. Izy pair free-flowing rhythms and sun-soaked vocals on this raw and pliable single.

Mindy Meng Wang 王萌 & Tim Shiel – ‘Sleeping Tiger On The Bund 蓄势待发’

The Music in Exile label and their ‘Building Bridges’ project sees Chinese/Australian guzheng player Mindy Meng Wang 王萌 team up with Melbourne’s Tim Shiel. Both are excellent composers but their talents and intuition in melody and production coalesce on this stunning track that offers both a pastoral and cosmopolitan feel.

Instantly absorbing and a transportive and hypnotic experience. Look out for their NERVOUS ENERGY 一 触即发 EP, due out next month.

Placement – ‘Harder’

Bursting with energy is this latest track from the Adelaide five piece. While lately we’ve been hearing a lot of post-punk come out of the British Isles, Placement are a home grown rival. There’s something rather cathartic in the way the arrangements move with the cool vocals, and a pure catharsis towards the end with this cacophony of free flowing improv.

Web Rumors – ‘Human Commodity (We Like It)’

This crisp new track about the perils of capitalism sees the Perth group lean deeper into new wave influences and taking notes from the songbooks of Kraftwerk and Gary Numan. The tongue in cheek vocal delivery and synths had me immediately hooked.

Check out our playlist of community radio’s Australian music picks: