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.

“I’m completely blown out of the water with the bubbling creativity that still somehow manages to get to the surface, especially after everything that didn’t happen last year.”

Cameron Menegoni, host of all-Australian program The Band Next Door at 2SER-FM in Sydney, 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 Cameron explains:

“I’ve been quite honoured once again to put together some tracks for Amrap’s Turn It Up series, and once again I’m completely blown out of the water with the bubbling creativity that still somehow manages to get to the surface, especially after everything that didn’t happen last year. I remember thinking to myself, ‘oh lockdown is the perfect time for people to write music,’ naively not truly understanding the mental workload that it takes to write a song – as I am the furthest thing from a musician as possible.

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“Each week on The Band Next Door, I try to be as diverse as possible with the music that I program, and I’ve etched a few golden rules for myself in terms of that (like never playing the same artist two weeks in a row) as there is an abundance of musicians and groups out there that deserve to be acknowledged, that deserve to at least have their 15 minutes of fame, that deserve to be showcased for their ingenuity and creativity.

“If you like what you hear, hopefully you’ll reach into your pocket and give more to an artist than any streaming service ever will. So, without further ado, here’s a list of tunes from alternative Australia that live rent free in my head.”

Check out ‘New Rocket’ by Full Flower Moon Band:

Full Flower Moon Band – ‘New Rocket’

The entire EP that this tune comes from is dripping in loose rock n’ roll swagger. But, none more-so than ‘New Rocket’, which is built around one hell of a bluesy lick and goes hand in hand with the intimate delivery of sultry vocals. Full Flower Moon Band’s mastermind Babyshakes, isn’t one to hold back and treats her axe as an extension of herself and exhibits a prowess like no other.

Suiix – ‘The Great Nothing’

I couldn’t hide how pleased I was to hear about the upcoming Suiix single, and I didn’t even try while listening to it. An ethereal, cosmic entanglement in true trademark Suiix style. Otherworldly tones mapped out by the Sydney group that look to the stars for where their colourful rainbow road will ebb and flow.

Droves – ‘Trash’

Objectively soft beginnings have seen the tide turn for Droves, which now have seen the group stepping into a quasi-industrial synth driven sound that suits their new explorations into lyrically darker territory. The pop ethics are still at the centre of the band which helps them seamlessly transition into dance heavy choruses. Not unlike the very early days of the seminal Ministry.

Check out ‘The Worker’ by Party Dozen:

Party Dozen – ‘The Worker’

Party Dozen have been ripping up the stage as an avant-alternative two piece, but you haven’t really experienced them until you’ve seen their saxophonist Kirsty screaming into the bell of her instrument in between somehow having the lung power to still blow a screeching gale. If that isn’t enough, meanwhile Jonathan on drums is pounding through this number like there’s no tomorrow.

Blake Scott – ‘Fever’

Parched lips. Weathered skin. A bass that tangibly pouts along the shimmering heat wave horizon. Teetering on the edge of insanity somewhere between the middle of nowhere and the centre of everywhere. That’s not an oasis you have come across, it’s the Speewah, the mythical sheep station that has no boundaries. Songman Blake Scott has been there, and it lays the foundation for his album Niscitam.

Check out ‘Atomic Blonde’ by LÂLKA:

LÂLKA – ‘Atomic Blonde’

An electronic warp conduit of glitching hyper pop from the Brisbane Future Bass producer LÂLKA (ft. Brux). This one churns in a multibubble of simultaneous static explosions and low end implosions. With a famous line of Malcom McLaren acting as the hook for this track, it’s great to see LÂLKA break the principles of what modern computer music is generally programmed to be.

New Talk – ‘Frida’

This Perth based band spent their debut record pulling all the post-punk punches they could master, so for their second one, they stepped back and let the vast construct of the Australian socio-political landscape be the concept, translating the endless space of the wide flat plains into musical form. This track though, a tandem written effort between vocalist Keira and guitarist Axel, encapsulates the demons of Frida Khalo, although given what 2020 and 2021 have wielded so far in terms of political policies, it could be anyone.

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