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.

“Last year highlighted that community radio was an especially important avenue for championing local music.”

Alice Carlton, Music Coordinator at SYN FM 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 Alice explains:

“What a relief it is to finally be seeing all of our local heroes play live on a regular basis again. How I have missed it! The ability to support local artists in this way is something I will never again take for granted, post-2020. With the hope that normality would resume on the other side, lockdowns saw the music community bind together, bringing to the fore the value of supporting each other in a range of different ways.

“For me, last year highlighted that community radio was an especially important avenue for championing local music. SYN, being a youth community radio station, provides the opportunity for young people to broadcast on FM and digital radio across Melbourne. Curating SYN’s high-rotation playlist, the ‘Sweet Sixteen’, each week with my co-Music Manager, Karvesh Pillai, is a job I am passionate about and honoured to have.

“Featuring new and local music, particularly that of young artists around the country, on the station, is a responsibility I can completely appreciate the importance of, now more than ever. As such, here are some of the fresh tracks found on Amrap that we at SYN have been loving lately.”

Check out ‘Wanna Be Held’ by Juice Webster:

Juice Webster – ‘Wanna Be Held’

About the desire to be held and slowed and calmed in a time of feeling unsettled, ‘Wanna Be Held’ is one of those songs that can be universally appreciated. The song’s lyrical themes are mirrored by Webster’s delicate vocals which rise over the busy, yet gentle, guitars that later slow and become somewhat uniform as she repeats, “I wanna be held.” 

King Stingray – ‘Get Me Out’

‘Get Me Out’ perfectly balances emotion and poignancy with catchiness and head nod-ability. Powerfully spirited, King Stingray offer the most Australian surf rock going around today. They’re surely a band to keep an eye on.

Jess Locke – ‘Dead And Gone’

The simplistic guitar chord progression is all the support Jess Locke’s raw and feeling vocals need on the track that was released as a tease for her new album, Don’t Ask Yourself Why. The song builds with the help of harmonic, hollow key sounds (which I’ve long been a real sucker for), as Locke chants, “I’ve got nothing left to prove.” It is truly stunning.

Check out ‘Mexican Holiday’ by Tim Ayre:

Tim Ayre – ‘Mexican Holiday’

I don’t need anything but Tim Ayre’s music playing when I’m en route to the beach on a warm day. The playful piano that starts off ‘Mexican Holiday’ is shortly after joined by some dreamy guitar and key sounds, and Ayre’s effortless vocals to create the perfect summer bop.

Genesis Owusu – ‘Don’t Need You’

Powerhouse, Genesis Owusu, is next-level talented. ‘Don’t Need You’ brings funky indie RnB to, at times, vocally harsh rap. The track is a call to action to rid of toxicity – a sentiment that can and should be widely appreciated and consumed. It is plucked from Owusu’s new record, Smiling With No Teeth.

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