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.

“Listener support is vital to keep the station operating, and April Amnesty is also a chance for us to celebrate and thank our incredible subscribers, and the local musical community.”

Simon Winkler, Music Director of 3RRR in Melbourne, 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 Simon explains:

“Triple R is currently in the final few days of April Amnesty, a month where we ask those who can afford to do so, to subscribe or donate to the station. Listener support is vital to keep the station operating, and April Amnesty is also a chance for us to celebrate and thank our incredible subscribers, and the local musical community.

“Here’s a small cross-section of some incredible new releases available via Amrap. If your music isn’t already uploaded to their website, I highly recommend creating an account to ensure your songs reach as many community radio stations as possible!”

Check out ‘Let Me Grow My Wings’ by Ajak Kwai:

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Ajak Kwai – ‘Let Me Grow My Wings’

The title track, from Ajak Kwai’s brilliant new album Let Me Grow My Wings. It’s her fifth album, performed in English, Arabic and Ajak’s native language, Dinka. The songs combine rhythmic rock, blues and ballads, all underscoring Ajak Kwai’s powerful vocal performances.

Ex-Olympian – ‘Lilac Youth (College of Knowledge Remix)’

One of many cinematic soul highlights taken from Afterlife Remixed EP. Liam McGorry aka Ex-Olympian invited friends, favourite musicians & DJs to rework some of their favourite songs from the original, released last year. Alongside College of Knowledge are re-interpretations by GL, Alice Ivy, Katarzyna Wiktorski, Penny Dub, Pepito, and Mike Gurrieri. The whole EP spans jazz to soul, acid house, and funk.

Tkay Maidza – ‘SYRUP’

Another essential track from Tkay Maidza. Syrup follows the Yung Baby Tate-featuring ‘Kim’ and Tkay Maidza’s cover of Pixies’ ‘Where Is My Mind’ for the 40th anniversary compilation of label 4AD, Bills & Aches & Blues.

Check out ‘Golden Hour’ by Babitha:

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Babitha – ‘Golden Hour’

Babitha is the solo project of Gadigal/Sydney creative Imogen Grist, a new signing to iconic label Spunk Records. Golden Hour is a propulsive country inflected jam from her Through the Light EP. The record is described as a “journey through heartbreak, retreat, and finding yourself along the way; accepting your flaws and building the strength to move on.”

Mindy Meng Wang and Tim Shiel – ‘Hidden Qi .气’

An extraordinary meeting of the minds between two prolific and prodigiously talented artists, Mindy Meng Wang and Tim Shiel. Their collaborative Nervous Energy 一触即 EP was released earlier in the year via Music In Exile. The compelling set spans traditional and modern musical genres, and even manages to fit in a small musical nod to the production genius of Timbaland. 

Time For Dreams – ‘Death To All Actors’

Latest single from forthcoming album by the brilliant music makers Amanda Roff & Tom Carlyon. Life Of The Inhabitant is due for release on It Records in June, a record born from a desire to “create something romantic. Not sexy, swoony romantic but “terrible/lonely/beautiful romantic, broken, defiant, tired, kind, quiet, strong and conflicted romantic” as Carlyon describes it.

Check out ‘Irene’ by Izy:

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Izy – ‘Irene’

‘Irene’ is the title track from the debut album by Izy (pronounced eye-zee), a Melbourne-based trio originally hailing from Cairns. The record is a 10 song collection of raw neo-soul grooves, rich vocal harmony and subtle jazz guitar.

Music Yared – ‘Sindayo (Mikey Young Remixes)’

The original song is a striking composition by Anbessa Gebrehiwot and Haftu Reda, masterful players of krar and masinko, traditional stringed instruments from Eritrea and Ethiopia. Mikey Young offers two memorable reworkings, one spacious ambient interpretation, and one up-tempo take, destined for dancefloors everyone.

Birdz – ‘Fly (feat. Ngaiire)’

For his recent single ‘Fly’, Birdz collaborated with singer-songwriter Ngaiire. Produced by trials, the song addresses themes of resilience and strength, with lyrics such as “When the pressure’s on you, shoulder press in the clutch / better learn to double down when they double up“.

Birdz says in a statement around the single; “As Indigenous people, we carry with us the oldest living cultures in the world. That’s something sacred that no one can ever take from us – it’s that energy that holds our heads up high no matter what the world throws at us.”

Check out ‘I Don’t Wanna Go Out’ by Bitch Diesel:

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Maple Glider – ‘Swimming’

Maple Glider is the new project of singer-songwriter Tori Zietsch, and Swimming is taken from her debut LP To Enjoy is the Only Thing due in June on Pieater Records. “This was meant to be a love song, but by the time I finished it, it kind of predetermined a break-up,” Zietsch recalls in a statement about the single.

Bitch Diesel – ‘I Don’t Wanna Go Out’

A highly energised anthem about staying home and doing nothing originally written by X, and performed here with inimitable style by Bitch Diesel. This song features on the excellent Cover Is Blown compilation, and on their recently launched ‘Hail’ cassingle.

Louise Terra – ‘Yuu’

From Louise Terra’s anticipated Follow The Moon Into The Ocean EP, Yuu displays Terra’s skill for soaring electronic ballads and captivating rhythmic explorations. Her recent solo releases follow years of work in other acclaimed outfits such as Sugar Fed Leopards, Sawtooth, and Flying Scribble.

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