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.
“As a not-for-profit community radio station, we get by with a little help from our friends and couldn’t remain on-air without the generosity of our friends.”
Will Backler, Music Director of RTRFM in Perth, 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 Will explains:
“At RTRFM, May means Radio Love Month, where we ask listeners who have a bit of spare coin to support the station through a subscription or a donation. As a not-for-profit community radio station, we get by with a little help from our friends and couldn’t remain on-air without the generosity of our friends.
“Here’s a list of some of what myself and the presenters at RTRFM have been digging over the last few weeks, all available via Amrap. As you can see, there’s some incredible stuff on the AMRAP website, an incredible tool not just for broadcasters but artists as well, so if you’re not already utilising Amrap… what are you waiting for?!”
Check out ‘Moving On’ by Web Rumours:
Perth-based Em Burrows is gearing up for her second album as Web Rumors (yes, “Rumors” is spelt with the US version on purpose as Web Rumors is an anagram of Em Burrows), New Tricks, with the earworm that is ‘Moving On’, fusing elements of 70s disco and 80s New Wave in a modern, fresh production.
Continuing their evolution from Spencer Arbuckle to GIA COMO, GIA gives us their third single from soon to be released debut album FLUX, a tune of dark pop sounds drawing on both bleak industrial-leaning sounds as well as electronic pop music, teaming up with Perth-artist Beth Commons (Pool Boy) for some contrasting yet complimentary vocal harmonies.
Hailing from Geelong, Partner Look’s name couldn’t be more appropriate, with sisters Ambrin & Anila Hasnain joined by their partners Dainis Laces and Lachlen Denton to craft irresistible, undeniably Australian jangly indie-pop, while lyrically dealing with some heavier topics, including the institutional greed in our country that has caused Australian’s involvement in Nauru, as well as the countries subsequent appalling treatment of refugees.
Check out ‘Sky Brown’ by KUČKA:
Born and cutting her musical teeth in Perth, now based in LA is one Laura Jane Lowthar AKA KUČKA, who has documented the changes in her life over the last few years since moving to the US on her debut album of experimental electronic pop, Wrestling. Album cut ‘Sky Brown’ shows Laura meeting at the intersection of underground, deconstructed club music and modern R&B, fusing both effortlessly.
Returning with their first new music in eight years are Perth’s The Scotch of Saint James burst back on to the scene with the somewhat ironically titled ‘Slow Down’ – somewhat ironic as the tune does anything but slow down with a slice of guitar driven straight up rock and roll that sees a blending of styles from old and newer rockers.
Stalwarts of the Melbourne scene are duo Stefan Blair and Liam Parsons AKA Good Morning, who recently blessed us with the double A-side Mollyduker / Keep It. Mollyduker, a term used by Stefan’s father used in regards to home being left-handed when working on the farm, is a free-wheeling slice of indie Australiana with a minimal yet relentless groove that does not let up.
Check out ‘The Great Nothing’ by Suiix:
‘The Great Nothing’ is the first taste we’ve had from Sydney four-piece Suiix’s forthcoming debut full-length album, a luscious, ethereal slice of dream-pop goodness packing soaring synths and vocal melodies, a head-nod inducing beat and restrained, fuzz-laden guitars to take your mind somewhere fantastical for its six minute runtime.
Continuing on their quest to blend elements from post-punk/hardcore and grime/trap production is Sydney-based band Shady Nasty, whose new single ‘IBIZA’ feels like a logical next step for their truly unique sound, offering a menacing, tongue-in-cheek observation of modern influencer and mainstream club culture.
Honing their fusion of indie-pop and alt-folk around the traps of Perth’s live scene for the last few years have been Man Sandal, who are back with catchy new single ‘Can’t Mean Much’, with sun dappled guitars and soaring vocals complimented give way to understated piano and strings taking things to the next level.
Check out ‘Open My Eyes’ by Jonny Faith:
Making a name for himself with his jazzy breakbeat infused downtempo hip-hop beats for the last 5+ years, Melbourne-based Jonny Faith cranks up the tempo and intensity with the soulful cut of drum and bass that is ‘Open My Eyes’.
Flying the flag of modern UK Garage in Australia is Melbourne’s FOURA, teaming up with Sydney-based MC Big Skeez on ‘On Tonight’ – a track of slickly produced UKG with a healthy dash of electro-pop sensibilities.