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.
This week, 2SER Music Director Lachlan Holland contributes a list of local music from community radio you should be listening to right now.
Potential – Normal
Normal is the third album from Eora-based DIY noisemakers Potential, made up of Alisha Bourke of Burlap as well as Nick Levy and Dean Crowe of Ted Danson With Wolves.
Released on Sydney mainstay Black Wire Records, it’s a strange, short, and cathartic trip that sets out with piled-on layers of brooding dystopian shoegaze and whacked out ambient ephemera embellished with saxophone and dense, forceful noise.
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Twisted and difficult at times, it really drives home when the drum machines whirl into action on tracks such as ‘Observer’ and ‘Chronic Gains’, taking this into some really excellent and memorable darkwave territory.
Orange Orange – The Sun Isn’t Gone
The solo project of Ryan Basile, this was recorded and self-produced at home during the various lockdown periods of 2020-22. And he has crafted an excellent rock, pop, psych, and folk record that lyrically explores what it means to be human in an obsessive world.
The smoothly climactic opener ‘Red Stinking Sun’ sets the tone of the rest of the album, embracing a lo-fidelity aesthetic while aiming high, and this is an under-the-radar self-release that I’d humbly suggest is worth spending some time with.
Jen Cloher – I am the river, the river is me
Switching seamlessly between singing in Māori and English, Jen Cloher’s fifth album is a wonderfully arranged and orchestrated work that combines surging, swelling protest rock with intimate explorations of history, language, and the effects of colonisation on both individual and collective identity, as well as the search for community in its various guises and places.
Their first since 2017’s self-titled LP, I am the river, the river is me was recorded between Naarm and Aoetoroa and it features inspired collaborations with Emma Donovan, Kylie Auldist, Liz Stringer, TE KAAHU, Ruby Solly, as well as members of the Naarm-based performing arts group Te Hononga o ngā Iwi.
Cloher covers a lot of ground thematically, emotionally, and stylistically across these ten tracks, from the sweet breeziness of singles like ‘Mana Takatāpu’ to the burning energy of ‘Aroha Mai, Aroha Atu’, and the sublimely beautiful duet on ‘He Toka-Tu-Moana’. An incredible record that stays with you long after.
Close Counters – Soulacoasta II
The sophomore album from the Naarm-residing electronic duo comprised of Allan McConnell and Finn Rees, this just sprung out immediately with its impeccably constructed house and jazzy-dance goodness. Across fourteen tracks of excellent sample-based arrangements that capture the spirit of early 00s house and garage, while pushing the genre into unique places.
Everything just gels, owing much to the obvious deep-digging for the material that is cut up across this. An exceptional and lengthy record of electronic music that works for dancefloors and just about anywhere else. Really worth hopping into and vibes aplenty.
Vayah – ‘Tonight’
Vayah are a duo based in Mparntwe made up of Tyra Latoya (vocals/songwriting) and Arrente man Jason Renehan (mixing/composition/guitars). Both playing music from a young age, they individually list influences ranging from Sade to Joe Satriani, and these shine through here.
Released at the end of 2022, Tonight is fantastically produced contemporary soul music, with Latoya’s mesmerising vocal delivery riding over crisp beats, synths, and a soaring yet controlled guitar solo at the tail from Renehan. A top tune from a pair that have found a great synergy and hopefully keep on.
Echo Omen – New Moon, Ancient Eye
This is the debut full-length from Menang Country producer Matthew Bracknell, who set about to break through a lingering writer’s block by releasing a single for every moon cycle throughout 2022. And it paid off in spades on this 12-track collection that tells of a search for self and belonging, spread hauntingly across a musical landscape of trip hop, folktronica, field recordings, and experimental beatmaking.
Collaborative work was also a key component of this, and included working with the likes of Myla Rose, Mathas, and many others. An excellent debut and statement of musical prowess, and also an inspiration in breaking down creative obstacles.
Baby Cool – Earthling on the Road to Self Love
The debut solo album from Nice Biscuit frontwoman Grace Cuell, this walks a path through some sublime psychedelic pop and cosmic folk, with a sound and feel that is constantly evocative and dreamlike. Cuell’s vocals are sentimental and tender, as it unfolds with steady rhythms and interplays of guitar, harp and organ. The instrumentation and production on this are top-notch, with excellent contributions from Jess Ferronato (Nice Biscuit), Nick Cavendish (Nice Biscuit), and Drew Heyden (The Flamingo Jones).
Key tracks such as ‘Altar’, ‘Ode to Mother Luna’, and ‘The Sea’ stand out as mini-journeys in their own right, and the whole record ties together as a cohesive album and a gorgeous collection of rich, melodic and spacious guitar music.
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