As the Australian music scene begins to enter a cautious state of normalcy following a few difficult years, 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 the new global environment after these last two years, 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’ve turned to the Music Directors and presenters at some of the amazing community stations from around the country to get their latest favourite Australian music discoveries from Amrap.

Benjamin Erin of 8CCC Community Radio – which broadcasts on Arrernte Country in Mparntwe/ Alice Springs and Warumungu country in Tennant Creek – continues the 2022 edition of 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.

Check out ‘Prison Cell’ by Eastern Arrernte Band:

YouTube VideoPlay

Love Classic Rock?

Get the latest Classic Rock news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more

Eastern Arrernte Band – ‘Prison Cell’

From their press release: “The Eastern Arrernte Band are a group of young, desert reggae artists from Ltyentye Apurte, 80km from Alice Springs. Singing in both English and Eastern Arrernte, their songs revolve around country, culture and social issues experienced in their community.”

Recorded and mixed by Jeremy Conlon at CAAMA Music, ‘Prison Cell’ is the lead single from the album Reggae Dancer. It’s a Central Australian production that showcases the desert reggae sound.

Stuart Joel Nugget – ‘Shy’

Stuart Joel Nuggett / Kirriyangunji (Pronounced: Girri-yar-ga-newn-jee) is a Jingili man from Kulumindini (Elliott), about halfway between Darwin and Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. Ngaaya-Ma Jingila Baaya is the first full length album from him, following on from his debut solo self-titled EP released in 2019.

As lead singer for Storm Riders, Stuart built on a lifetime of music before developing his solo sound, singing in both English and Jingili language, his mother’s language. ‘Shy’ is the lead single with a film clip shot in downtown Alice Springs. It’s an honest love song.

Purple Patch – ‘Inevitable’

With a wide-ranging music style influenced by the diverse interests of the band, this is an Alice Springs supergroup – from classic rock to psychedelic blues, their powerful live performances have earned them a strong local following.

‘Inevitable’ is accompanied by a film clip dreamt up by the band after a long day in the studio and produced locally: “We sat out on the back porch of the Red House Studio and came up with the concept over a few beers, ha ha. It worked out pretty good.”

Madam and the Mafia – ‘Riding High’

‘Riding High’ is “a song about liberation, about finding the courage to express yourself, really embracing the difference and the uniqueness of bodies, genders, sexualities,” says Faggot Mafia, whose tight synth basslines and dirty lyrics form an alliance with the theatrical, operatic highs of Madam Zuzu.

The track was released alongside an epic film clip that reflects the full package stage performances from this powerful duo: “An all queer local production uplifting trans and non-binary hotness, the music video for ‘Riding High’ features the improvised performative play of over thirty people dressed in ass-less chaps, rodeo fetish costumes and spandex.”

Check out ‘Shy’ by Stuart Joel Nuggett:

YouTube VideoPlay

Cooperblack – ‘Broadcaster’ (featuring Yoshi Kawazoe)

Cooperblack is the project of Jez Conlon, a prolific music industry figure in Mparntwe who recorded, mixed or mastered a number of tracks on this list as Left Of Elephant Sound. 2022 sees the release of interpacer, an archived re-release of a 1998 CD-R that was only originally available in limited selected stores.

Produced on a Tascam cassette 4 track and Sound Edit 16, interpacer explores industrial lo-fi beats, driving bass lines and warbled vocals. This is the first of several archival releases from Cooperblack, an exploration into a vast music catalogue of unheard sounds. ‘Broadcaster’ is 8CCC Radio’s pick because hey, we can relate to the theme!

Desert Eagles – ‘Arelh-Alywarra (Alywarra Woman)’

From the band’s press release: “Desert Eagles are an explosive musical collective from the Barkly community of Ali Curung – a melting pot of 4 tribes and the musical heartland for Warlpiri, Alyawarra, Warumungu and Kaytetye peoples. Like a tornado the band are an explosion of rhythm, sound and energy and have been captivating live audiences across Central Australia with their latest batch of party shaking tracks.”

When the Desert Eagles came on stage at BamFest (Barkly Area Music Festival), the crowd rushed forward like a tidal wave ready to dance! ‘Arelh-Alywarra’ is a crowd favourite that gets everyone singing.

Harold Dalywaters – ‘One More Chance’

Harold Dalywaters is an elder of the Barkly Music Scene, humble and dedicated to his craft and community. His songs speak of his experience while reaching out to the next generation to have faith in themselves. The title track ‘One More Chance’ speaks to this struggle, of hope and the journey.

Check out ‘Riding High’ by Madam and the Mafia:

YouTube VideoPlay

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine