Throughout 2022, Tone Deaf and AMRAP have asked a different music director or presenter at some of the finest community stations from around the country to share their best community music discoveries.

From Sydney to Perth, Alice Springs to Hobart, we’ve been blessed with some wonderful music by local artists. It’s been a tough year for the Australian music industry – and it probably will be again next year – but the country’s musicians have remained defiantly unflustered.

To celebrate the end of 2022, we asked some of this year’s contributing music directors and presenters to pick some of their favourite community music discoveries of the year.

Reg Harris – Music Director, FBi Radio, Sydney

Anieszka – ‘Human’

Have loved every one of Anieszka’s releases since first hearing her but ‘Human’ sticks out as my absolute favourite so far. Between the hushed vocal harmonies, the hypnotic propulsion of the hand-drums throughout the track and the confessional lyrics – it might be a while before I’m sick of hearing this one!

Scan and SUS1ER – ‘Spend Something’

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One for the Drainers. This hot, cross-continental collab is full of endearing lines from Scan like “I’m the guy that everybody loves, like Raymond is” and “Kinda hate when I walk in the store, My shit start playing, I don’t wanna hear my own music man, I made it”. Luckily – unless you’re Scan or SUS1ER –  you didn’t make this song, so hopefully you enjoy it as much as I do.

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Firas Massouh – Music Director, PBS 106.7FM, Melbourne

Alexander Flood – ‘Umoja’

Earlier in the year, I discovered the work of Adelaide-based drummer and composer Alexander Flood through his recent album The Space Between. And what a revelation that was! A seriously talented musician, Flood is a maestro who effortlessly connects diverse voices, sounds and stories where the drums are the protagonist, narrator, and innocent bystander.

The track ‘Umoja’ is especially exciting in the way that it elicits the Swahili concept of unity from which the word comes. An extensive orchestra of percussion instruments animates the scene in a ritualist dance like no other. An outstanding track on an outstanding album! 

Emma Donovan and The Putbacks – ‘Muurrbay Tree’ (feat. Deline Briscoe)

In the Gumbaynggirr tradition, the foundational dreamtime story of the Muurrbay Tree describes a large white fig tree that covered an acre of land, and whose fruit fed both the mountain people and the saltwater people of the Mid North Coast of NSW.

This took place for generations until, one day, the two peoples fought over the tree and the ancestral father, Baabaga, uprooted it into the sky. The Muurrbay Tree became the place where a person’s spirit goes to eat the fruit when they die. 

This story is retold by Australia’s Queen of Soul Emma Donovan in a beautiful song that she recorded with The Putbacks during their Crossover sessions. Featuring the haunting yet unassuming vocals of strong Yalanji woman Deline Briscoe, the song didn’t make the cut on Crossover back in 2020 but finally saw the light of day during NAIDOC Week this year. For Emma, this story speaks of how her people – the saltwater people of Nambucca Heads – felt humbled and emboldened when the tree was taken into the sky.   

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Lachlan Holland – Music Director, 2SER, ydney

Anarchosophist – Stuck Inside in 95  

A gorgeously produced and eclectic LP from Meanjin’s Padraig Parkhurst, which dives into everything from oddball spoken word, jazz, blunted trip-hop, and unsettling soundtrack arrangements. Excellent collaborations throughout as well, including with Jessi Dunbar and Au Lait. There have been some fantastic albums on Amrap this year and this is just one of them. Definitely a (pleasant) trip.

Library Siesta – What You’re Worth

Excellent five-piece dream pop outfit based on Gadigal Land who have been releasing melodically rich and dazzling indie rock for quite some time now. This was the Feature Album on 2ser back in August.

Their ability to juxtapose bright shiny instrumentation with frequently heavy lyrical content, dealing with depression and abuse, really makes them stand out. They’re also fantastic live and they’re just an awesome independent local group doing real music from the heart. 

Benjamin Erin – Station Manager, 8CCC, Alice Springs

Midnight Rangers – ‘I Can Decolonise Better Than You’

With their debut EP Out On The Range, the Midnight Rangers have captured some of the essence of their dynamic live performances and distinct sound, which falls somewhere between alt-country and synth-pop. 

Having recently toured the NT to perform in Darwin Fringe alongside Alice Springs band Gurun, and having taken the stage at Blacken Festival, the Midnight Rangers have been building momentum. Their clever and cheeky lyrics will be sung back to them on stage in no time!

Cooperblack – ‘A Void of Light’ (feat. Lindsey Matthews)

Cooperblack is the musical project of Mparntwe-based producer Jez Conlon of Left of Elephant Sound. Cooperblack is a longstanding project with many self-published released and group formations centred around Jez’s song writing and collaborative processes. 

‘A Void of Light’ is a recent release recorded in collaboration with Lindsey Mathews, a visual artist and instrumentalist based in Mparntwe/Alice Springs. This is a track for deep listening and immersion, featuring blended piano, drones, and ambient acoustic experiments informing a shifting sonic landscape.

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Matt Perrett – Music Director, RTRFM, Perth

Gia Como – ‘Don’t Call Me on Fridays’

A wonderfully dark alt-pop anthem laced with sax, echo-drenched vocals and explorations of the depths and shock of maternal loss from Boorloo talent Gia Como. “Cinematic” is a term that gets thrown a lot when describing music but it’s perfectly fitting for ‘Don’t Call Me On Fridays’—this hazy slow jam rolls right out of the end credit sequence of a neo-noir classic.

Mia June – ‘Fish in a Bowl’

Aged only 18, Mia June has left an indelible stamp on the West Australian indie rock scene this year—releasing a series of stadium-ready singles brimming with emotion, texture and ear-worm melodies.

‘Fish In A Bowl’ was her debut release after four years of playing live around town and the musical maturity she’s developed is evident in every facet of the single. Soaring guitars, deft incorporation of lap steel and lyrics that cut deep are all packaged together perfectly.

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Lucy & Louis – Future Cream presenters, Edge Radio Hobart


Body Type – ‘A Line’

If I was the kind of person who rode a skateboard I would 100% ride a skateboard to this song and I think it would probably be a transcendent experience. Psych-grunge flavours but not one bit nostalgic. The video is also fantastic, creepy and silly. Sesame Street on a tab.


Slag Queens – ‘Dogs’

This isn’t  promotion for the show, more outright, sidekick admiration. Ultimately I’m a fan of Lucy’s music, as well as a close friend.  ‘Dogs’ is my favourite of the currently released tracks from Favours, it also has a great video clip with Wesley power drilling the air at night under the Tasman Bridge. There has been no coercion or intimidation by Rough Sky Records in choosing this song and has nothing to do with the safe return of my cat (who I do not want). 

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Louis Pattinson, Grace Dudley, Vanessa Violo – Music Directors, SYN, Melbourne 


Sappho – ‘Trouble’

Having formerly been the singer and frontwomen for Alpine, Phoebe Baker’s reintroduction to the Australian music landscape as Sappho is fantastic to watch, and even better to hear. After a string of killer indie pop singles since the end of 2021, Sappho has delivered once again with the irresistibly sweet ‘Trouble’.

It’s got grooving plucky bass, bright synths left right and centre, and Sappho’s distinct voice playfully singing about being in trouble without a care in the world. It’s cheeky, it’s bubbly, and it’s downright fun. The joy of this song gets encapsulated perfectly in Sappho’s simple request to “B E A C H me babe”.



Recently nominated for Music Victoria Awards’ 2022 Best Solo Act, IJALE is a rapper, mix and mastering engineer, and creative director who produced the lion’s share of his 18-track 2021 album OTTN (On to the Next).

When listening to IJALE’s music, it becomes clear that this artist is not only talented, but also skilled, dedicated and determined to produce cohesive, well-executed music. ‘TOSS IT UP’ is written, performed, and produced by IJALE, with his flow wrapping around the beat like climbing ivy, frequently switching it up throughout the track and incorporating production elements that create a diverse soundscape.

He’s got great pen game, rich storytelling, and utilises interesting timing. From his poetic lyricism, to his musicality, to his technical capabilities, IJALE is a multi-talented artist who leaves his listeners in anticipation of his next moves.

Having had the pleasure of seeing him perform live, it can confidently be recommended that you tune into his ‘TOSS IT UP’ performance on Phoenix Central Park’s Youtube channel (see below), and keep an eye out to catch any future shows he may be playing near you.


Drella – ‘Night Crawls’

If you haven’t already heard of ‘Bobi Andonov’ (BOBI), you will become infatuated with his crisp falsetto quality and infectious, dark production. The Melbourne-born artist has come a long way since honouring his Macedonian heritage by representing them in the Junior Eurovision song contest in 2008. With a new stage name that combines Dracula and Cinderella, Drella is an enigma to be reckoned with.

In 2022, Drella has electrified the interest of new and old listeners with his latest singles, ‘Night Crawls’ and ‘Until The Morning’. Not only are his vocals as impressive as ever, but his production skills have somehow become richer like aged wine. With sonic landscapes that are lush with funky bass lines and an overall darker feel than earlier BOBI projects, I look forward to hearing future releases from Drella.

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