Community radio music directors often have an encyclopedic knowledge of local music and an insatiable thirst to keep their ears ahead of the curve. So in this Tone Deaf series, the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (Amrap) invites music directors to highlight new Aussie tunes that you might have missed.
In this edition, Cameron Durnsford from PBS FM in Melbourne contributes with a selection of tracks currently making their way to community radio through Amrap’s music distribution service ‘AirIt’.
Check out Cam’s selections below and if you’re a musician you can apply here to have your music distributed for free to community radio on Amrap’s AirIt.
This week’s 7 best Australian bands
Jesswar – ‘Savage’
Brisbane newcomer Jesswar comes out with the fiercest statement of intent since Nas’ ‘Live At The Barbecue’ – savage indeed. Hip-hop in Australia is very healthy right now, and Jesswar, Kaylah Truth, Aywin, and a bunch of other righteous emcees are pushing things forward, as anyone who caught their cypher at BIGSOUND this year can tell you. Which brings us to…
Miss Blanks – ‘Skinny Bitches’
Once again, Brisbane delivers another breakout artist that helps Pig City stake a claim as the epicentre of forward-thinking hip-hop in this country, with Miss Blanks undeniably a central figure in this movement. Transness, positive body image, and a forthright sexuality are common themes on her debut EP, Diary Of A Thotaholic, with ‘Skinny Bitches’ a prime example.
Totally Mild – ‘Today Tonight’
I was a huge fan of Totally Mild’s stunning debut LP Down Time, so was very excited to hear this, the first taste of their forthcoming album, Her, which is due for release early next year. As well as having a voice that turns even my cold, cynical heart to soup, Elizabeth Mitchell has a masterful knack for writing pop songs that are both timeless and completely original at once.
A. Swayze And The Ghosts – ‘Smooth Sailing’
I sometimes forget how much I love no-frills, high-energy punk rock until I hear a song like this. A. Swayze And The Ghosts’ debut single ‘Reciprocation’ – an epic 10-minute slow-burner – landed on my desk about a year ago, and immediately caught my attention. Everything they’ve done since has been brilliant – up there with David Foster and Cascade Lager as one of Tassie’s finest exports.
Tropical Fuck Storm – ‘Soft Power’
First thing I saw online when I woke up this morning was that North Korea had conducted another ‘successful’ ICBM test and that Trump had vowed to “take care of it”. So much for soft power. The second single for the newly formed Tropical Fuck Storm soundtracks our impending nuclear demise – and this deeply cooked video conjures the paranoia and abject dread I think we all feel a bit right now.
Dream Kit – ‘Tender Cells’
There aren’t many hats Declan Kelly hasn’t worn in his many years involved in music – record store worker, DJ, radio presenter, recording engineer and producer to start – so it’s understandable that it’s taken him a while to follow up on 2011 EP Future Tense (last year’s remix EP, Dreamixes, notwithstanding).
He can add label owner to that list of credentials with the release of the Forma Planet EP – this track, the B-side on the two track 12” has the makings of a dance-floor weapon, indebted to both Detroit and Berlin schools of techno.
Sampa The Great – ‘Rhymes To The East’
I couldn’t start out this list talking about the incredible hip hop being made in Australia right now and not mention the GOAT Sampa Tembo. This, the first single from her second mixtape Birds And The BEE9, was apparently recorded in one take and totally cements her rep – as if there was any doubt at this point. She has just signed to legendary UK imprint Big Dada – home to Roots Manuva and Wiley among others – which will no doubt help put her on the map internationally. With a debut LP proper still to come, expect her to be a household name this time next year.