As the Australian music scene begins to re-emerge from COVID-related lockdowns, community radio Music Directors and presenters from around the country have shone 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.

“There’s a seemingly infinite amount of truly amazing music coming out right now and being able to champion that music on air is a real privilege.”

Reg Harris, Music Director of FBi Radio, Sydney, 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 Reg explains:

“FBi Radio is a music-focused, youth broadcaster based on Gadigal country in Redfern that broadcasts across metropolitan Sydney through to the Central Coast, Blue Mountains and down to Wollongong. Championing local, independent and emerging artists is the bedrock of the station, with a commitment that at least 50% of all music played on the station is from around the country and half of that from greater-Sydney.

“We’re about to enter our 19th year as a station and I believe the next few years will prove to be some of the most exciting in our history! There’s a seemingly infinite amount of truly amazing music coming out right now and being able to champion that music on air is a real privilege. Below are just a handful of favourite tracks that have come across my radar over the last month or two that I’ve loved.

“In addition to music that’s supported through our general playlisted shows, I think some of FBi’s most shining musical moments come via our specialist shows. I’d definitely encourage anyone that’s keen to have a scan through the program grid and dive into shows like Deep Web, Off The Radar, The Snacc Pacc and Utility Fog.”

Check out ‘Take It‘ by romæo:

romæo – ‘Take It’

romæo has developed a really unique voice for songwriting and production. Each of her singles marks a notable evolution from the last and I’ve been really enjoying reading about the conceptual inspiration behind her more recent work.

She says about this one: “…At the end of the day, I just wanted to make a catchy banger, but the lyrics are actually about The Grotesque. I’m fascinated by these mostly mythological, grotesque beings we seem drawn to – the vampire, the siren – gory but sexy figures…”

Kobie Dee – ‘Doobs’

Kobie’s reputation as a captivating storyteller is pretty well established by now – and rightly so – but this track was a really fun pivot for him. Flexing more of a playful, upbeat attitude. His new EP Gratitude Over Pity is an impressive display of how much scope he’s capable of delivering. 

Check out ‘SUV’ by Chakra Efendi:

Chakra Efendi – ‘SUV’

Probably my favourite track yet from the Meanjin-based artist. They have a real knack for writing these weird, otherworldly tracks that also feel intimately tailored to you as an individual listener. I love how noisey this one gets without bursting the warm bubble it places you in.

Liyah Knight – ‘Riddle’

This new project Traveller’s Guide from Liyah Knight is so good. It shows the already genre-averse artist moving through a bunch of different styles, in an even more fully-formed way than on her previous EP. Bedroom-pop inspired single ‘Riddle’ is my current favourite from the collection. 

Check out ‘Insufficient’ by Gyrate:

Gyrate – ‘Insufficient’

I don’t know too much about this band yet, but I’m pretty sure this is their first EP. This closing track from the EP showcases an offbeat, lax take on post-punk that I find really refreshing. It unpredictably meanders through a few different phases in a raucous and enchanting way. 

Consulate – ‘The Fear’

Dystopian, dub-inflected dance music from Naarm. Subterranean bass, moody atmospherics and a latent drum and bass influence are some of the ingredients that make this one of my favourite local electronic releases of the year.

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