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. 

Aeron Clark, Music Director of Edge Radio in Hobart, continues this 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 Aeron explains:

“Community radio plays an integral role within our musical landscape. Fostering and supporting new artists as they arise is fundamental to allowing a musical ecosystem to flourish and remain diverse and textured, and the local community station is the place where most artists receive their first radio airplay or interview experience.

“It’s one of the things that helps us shed the tired, misinformed idea that something must come from elsewhere in order to be considered “good”, and to realise that interesting and vibrant music already exists and is accessible right here in our local neighbourhoods.”

Check out ‘Romantic Notions’ by Mere Women:

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Mere Women – ‘Romantic Notions’

Enthralling post-punk four-piece Mere Women are set to release their highly anticipated fourth album this Friday, March 5th, on Poison City Records. It’s been four years since their previous offering, 2017’s critically acclaimed LP Big Skies, but they’ve lost none of their urgent, cavernous intensity.

Romantic Notions was recorded with Tim G Carr at One Flight Up studios on the cusp of lockdown in March last year, after being written and rehearsed in a riverside cottage in Sydney. Profound and pensive, the title track is a tale of obsessive love and control, breaking free, and releasing deep inner desires.

Big Scary – ‘Stay’

After a break of over four years between album releases, Big Scary have announced their fourth LP Daisy. Jo Syme and Tom Iansek have characterised the new record, due for release on their own label Pieater on April 30th, as their most playful yet, with plenty of drama, and for the first time, no guitars.

Lead single ‘Stay’ is the first we’ve heard from the duo since their 2016 record Animal. Discombobulated percussion and frantic synths mirror the anxiety sometimes felt when invited to leave the safe bubble of home, with the band asking “at what point does safe and comfortable become a trap?”

Check out ‘Fit Right’ by SLOMO:

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SLOMO – ‘Fit Right’

SLOMO is Jem King, brother Tom and Cal Walkinshaw. From atmospheric soundscapes to heavy post-punk fuelled riffs, you won’t stay in one spot for long throughout their debut LP, L-DOPA, which was released independently on February 19th.

The band has spent the previous twelve months exploring endless textures and moods, and have emerged with a dense and accomplished release, mixed and mastered by Mikey Young. The album’s lead single, ‘Fit Right’, showcases the band’s thoughtfully layered sound, centred around howling distorted guitars intertwined with circling rhythms.

Carla Geneve – ‘Dog Eared’

Perth-based Albany native Carla Geneve has announced her debut album, Learn To Like It, is
set for release on April 23rd via Dot Dash/Remote Control. The album is an emotional catharsis of forging identity through hardship, and serves as a reflective statement of an artist finally coming into her own.

Single ‘Dog Eared’ was inspired by Geneve’s work as a music teacher. Of the song’s genesis, she says: “I had been in a room of teenagers playing music with the pure, raw emotion that most people grow out of as you enter adulthood.” The song sees her harnessing that violent enthusiasm and moulding it into a work of nostalgic energy.

Check out ‘Sleeping Tiger On The Bund 蓄势待发’ by Mindy Meng Wang 王萌 & Tim Shiel:

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

Chinese/Australian avant-garde composer Mindy Meng Wang 王萌, and her Melbourne-based collaborator Tim Shiel, have announced an EP, Nervous Energy 一触即发, due on March 12th via Music in Exile. The material for the EP was first recorded by Mindy on her 21-string traditional guzheng, and reworked by Tim into something neither had imagined possible.

First single, ‘Sleeping Tiger On The Bund 蓄势待发’ is a combination of strength and softness, decisiveness and delicacy. It references the juxtaposition of Shanghai’s Bund district, where a ceaseless pace of life meets protected heritage sites, and is symbolic of Mindy’s struggle to give inspiration drawn from ancient traditions relevance in a modern world.

Hello Satellites – ‘No Delivery’

Melbourne artist Eva Popov has been writing, producing and performing adventurous inimitable indie pop as Hello Satellites for over a decade now, with an expansive and genre bending sound that has undulated seamlessly through folk, pop, neoclassical and spoken word tropes across three studio albums. Fourth album There Is A Field has just been announced for later this year.

New single ‘No Delivery’ is a cold plunge into the addictive nature of excessive screen time and a danceable reminder to avoid seeking solace in palm-sized validation. Popov says she wrote the song, “…to remind myself that nothing was going to be given to me and that I was just going to have to go out into the world and do stuff as my own imperfect self and fail and feel things”.

Check out ‘Stranded’ by Sumner:

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Sumner – ‘Stranded’

It’s been a while between drinks for Launceston-based electronic duo Sumner. Chloe Wilson and Jack McLaine have emerged from an intense period of hibernation and creative growth with glittering new single ‘Stranded’, co-written and produced by Nick Littlemore and Peter Mayes (PNAU), and their first new music since 2019’s standalone single ‘Blame Myself’.

The first in a string of singles to come from this exciting collaboration, Wilson says that lyrically ‘Stranded’ is about seeing the beauty in all versions of yourself instead of abandoning the ones that no longer serve you: “It’s a letter to a former self – acknowledging that without that previous person you once were, you would never have arrived at your current form.”

June Jones – ‘Home’

A bittersweet art pop epic, ‘Home’ is taken from June Jones’ second solo album, Leafcutter, released on February 19th through Emotion Punk Records and Remote Control. The album was created entirely “on a tiny refurbished Lenovo Thinkpad that I bought off a guy at McDonalds”, and is filled with the confessional, poetic intimacy Jones has become known for.

In Jones’ words, ‘Home’ is, “a song about being a trans woman in love, both with another person, and (eventually, hopefully) with herself. It’s a reflection on the idea of the body as a place that we are always arriving at, a home that is both constant and constantly changing.” The song is accompanied by her most ambitious video to date, directed by Geoffrey O’Connor.

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