Tone Deaf and Amrap are continuing in 2023 to ask music directors or presenters at some of the finest community stations around Australia to share their best Australian music finds discovered on amrap.org.au.
If you haven’t got your music on Amrap, what are you waiting for? Community radio uses Amrap to source Australian music for airplay.
Anyone can discover all the great Australian music championed by community radio on the Community Radio Plus App, featuring the diverse range of community radio stations nationwide in one handy spot.
Melbourne’s 3RRR music content producers Sarah Smith and Sam Cummins contributes with a list of Australian music from community radio you should be listening to right now.
Kosmetika – “Eighty Four”
With its whirring kraut-y energy and sugar-heaped pop hooks “Eighty Four” is a highlight of Kosmetika’s sublime new record, Illustration. Leaning into the sticky-taped DIY aesthetic of mid-80s art rock while brashly embracing melody, bandleaders Michael Ellis and Veeka Nazarova strike a jittery and utterly delightful balance here – Nazarova’s lightly detached lyrics, sung in her native Russian, providing a kind of grounding buzz to the song’s deliriously propulsive synths.
Lachlan Denton – “Zac”
Lachlan Denton writes pop songs with a vulnerability that really gets you in the guts. It’s a skill he has honed superbly across countless projects, many of them shared with his late brother Zac, who passed away suddenly in 2018. And it’s this song written to his brother –a tender and bright meditation on absence, memory and grief– that opens his latest album Furnishings. Delivered with that chest-aching beauty Denton achieves with such disarming ease, it sets the tone for an album that both documents his shift away from music to furniture making while reflecting on family, love, and life’s knottiest turns.
Sia Ahmad – double checks against the corner c
Ngunnawal Country-based artist and musician Sia Ahmad weaves patchworks of skittery percussion and warm instrumentation to create a see-sawing sense of both domestic comfort and unease in this striking track lifted from the five-part song cycle that makes up her new album, double checks against the corner. It’s an album, she says, that reflects on “queer parenthood, marriage, love, breakups, the respect that remains in the aftermath of a relationship,” and here she achieves this intimate exploration with both a thoughtful subtlety and confident ear for hazy indie-pop.
Party Dozen – “Earthly Times” (billy woods rework)
Kirsty Tickle and Jonathan Boulet released one of 2022’s best with their debut LP, The Real Work. As hard as it may have seemed to top a Nick Cave feature, they did just that – enlisting iconic underground rapper billy woods to do-over one of the record’s more mellow cuts, “Earthly Times”. It’s a truly arresting combination: woods’ laconic flow locking in effortlessly, building with a subtle intensity that mirrors the rework’s see-sawing instrumentation. Such a perfect pairing just begs one question really – could we have a whole album’s worth of this collab please?
Big Yawn – “Crying”
“Crying” is the first single from a forthcoming new album from Naarm live electronic wizards Big Yawn, which will be released later this year on Research Records. It’s so exciting to have some new music from this group after a couple of years, who I think are one of the city’s finest live electronic acts.
The singular Big Yawn sound is present here, featuring live drums, playful samples, and sophisticated modular synthesis, but what elevates this track is their modern take on the drum and bass sound that is having somewhat of a renaissance right now, but is executed here with real originality and flair.
Maggie Tra – “Yummy Lion Dancer”
“Yummy Lion Dancer” is a spellbinding song from Sydney born Khmer/Vietnamese electronic producer Maggie Tra. The first time I heard Maggie’s music, I knew it had an emotional depth that can often elude some dance music, and “Yummy Lion Dancer” is no exception.
The song is a celebration of Tết, which Maggie explains is one of the most important celebrations in Vietnamese culture, signifying the arrival of spring based on the Vietnamese calendar. The track is built on an addictive house beat that brilliantly integrates samples of Đàn tỳ bà, a traditional Vietnamese stringed instrument. The skill of Maggie’s production is her ability to distill the sense of hope and optimism we feel when entering a new year into a song that runs for less than three minutes.
Wireheads – “Hook Echo”
Wireheads are one of the finest groups to emerge from Kaurna Country/Adelaide, and are part of a community of DIY musicians who are putting out some of the country’s best rock-adjacent music eg. Workhorse, Nylex, Fair Maiden, Dom and the Wizards.
“Hook Echo” is the second single from their forthcoming sixth record Potentially Venus, being released through Tenth Court, experts themselves of mining the Antipodean underground for hidden gems.
“Hook Echo” is brimming with the sort of energy that can only be harnessed through the sort of DIY community that Wireheads are the centre of, elevated into something more singular through the evocative songwriting of singer Dom Trimboli.
Wireheads have proven to be a remarkably consistent band over the last 10 years, and with this new album confirm that they are one of the country’s most underrated groups operating in the Australian underground.
Kootsie Don – “Lemme Know”
Larrakia, Jawoyn and TSI woman and Gadigal-based MC, Kootsie Don, has just released her latest single, “Lemme Know”, out via Bad Apples Music.
After emerging in 2021 with a string of fantastic soundcloud demos and songs, Kootsie Don delivers on the promise of these early singles with her Bad Apples debut. “Lemme Know” is clearly indebted to early 2000’s R&B, but avoids pastiche through Kootsie’s commanding and personal storytelling and infectious melodies, showcasing Kootsie Don as an exciting new voice in Australian hip hop and R&B. “Lemme Know” showcases a real sense of range amongst her releases so far, and makes me really excited to see what’s next!
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