An Australian Independent Music Experience – Wide Open Road, a celebration of Australian Independent Music, ranging from the 1980s through to now. The show will re-ignite the influences and passions that drove the creativity of the indie scene in the 80s through the links and lineages that dot Aussie music.
I was spoiled by choice this week. Record Store Day 2013 brought us a reissue of the first Scientists record, an Apartments re-issue and a new Tame Impala EP. However, none of those made this show’s cut, the bar was set that high. Yes, welcome to Wide Open Road 2013 Show 4. We start this month’s pummelling with three tracks from the grand era of fuzz power pop. Clouds rip past us with the first track off their debut album ‘Penny Century’, Hummingbirds ever amazing with the lead single from their debut ‘LoveBUZZ’ and Swirl from the ‘The Last Unicorn’. These records were formative to my understanding of Australian music. Even now listening to a really pristine copy of Blush from a 12” single I keep hearing new bits and pieces in the mix done by Mitch Easter (REM etc). Now normally, this show is entirely Aussie (with the occasional kiwi thrown in), but I cannot resist bringing this next band (A History of Apple Pie) to your attention. Out of my adopted home (London, UK) they reside so much in that tradition I have just spoken about, though probably not aware of it. This track from their debut record ‘Out of View’ is probably one of the best things I have heard in years. Check them out, I promise you won’t be disappointed. Twin girl harmonies and great guitar work and produced by Jerome Watson.
Clouds – Hieronymous
Hummingbirds – Blush
Swirl – The Last unicorn
The History of Apple Pie – See you
Proton Energy Pills(less than I) spend (produced by J Mascis)
Tumbleweed – Lullaby (Jack Endino)
Tumbleweed – Captains Log (produced by ‘the freewheelin’ Mark Arm)
Kim Salmon and the Guys from Mudhoney – I want to be everything
Bloodloss – Hated in my house
feedtime – Motorbike girl (produced by Butch Vig)
Paul Kelly – Don’t harm the messenger
Stephen Cummings – Fell from a great height
GB plus Steve Kilbey – Actress on a mattress
The Takeaways – Party on Wheels
Gangajang – Giver of life
The Angels – Storm the Bastille
The Angels – Shadow Boxer (Live)
The Angels – Comin Down
Wide Open Road greets the continuing snow, sleet, bitter winds and rain of a joyous spring time in London with the respect it does not deserve. Yes, we smack it in the chops and blow the ice off with our next show for the year. What a hard act Xiola Blue is to follow. That’s the last time I get her to do a program (until the next time I ask! because honestly, how fucking good was her set?)
Let’s start this show was a set of covers of Australian songs by Australian bands. We start with the electric version of their You Am I cover (Berlin Chair) by the mighty Smudge. This version is of the UK EP ‘The outdoor type’. We then really get our brains smacked about by The Mark of Cain taking on the Visitors track ‘Journey by Sledge’ and finally, the aforementioned You Am I taking on ‘Television Addict’, the classic Victims track from the Idiot Box soundtrack. What a way to start.
Kind of a timely intervention there by Dave Faulkner as we play three examples of his early skills as a player and band leader. We started with the Victims doing (I’m) flipped out over you as the b-side to the classic Television Addict. The Victims were formed in Perth in the late 1970s and featured James Baker (late of the Gurus) on drums. After the Victims flipped out, Dave went briefly to play with another Perth punk band, the Manikens, this is the sole single with his talents gracing it. Finally, we play the original Phantom records version of the Guru’s debut single as Le Hoodoo Gurus and Leilani part 1.
I have been listening to the Go-Betweens a lot recently. It is a simply stunning canon without peer in Australian indie music. However, a lot of brilliant songs got buried on b-sides and EPs. After working through the new best-of (my comment, sounds great, bit safe in track selection, and the cover, say wha?) I decided that it would a great opportunity to showcase a few rarer tracks. We start with ‘rare breed’ a b-side from Bachelor kisses, very new wave, eighties sound but so bright. We move to one of my favourite Forster compositions which was on the Right Here 12” and finally, ‘Just a king in Mirrors’ which was the b-side to Part Company. Now granted, all of these tracks are from the first generation of the Go-be’s. On a later show we will showcase some of the great lost tracks from the 2nd dig.
Never let it be said that this show doesn’t recognise the positive state of Australian music in 2013. We may have been in exile for the best part of four years. We may have missed many cultural movements (MKR?) but we have kept our ears to the ground seeking amazing new music. Let’s start with the Drones from their new album ‘I see seaweed’. This is a masterful song, full of biting, growling vocals and urgent, majestic instrumentation. It is, by far, the best new thing I have heard in ages and the rest of the album doesn’t disappoint. Next we move to The Rational Academy and another intense, powerful movement culled from their most recent (and apparently last) set called ‘Winter Haunts’ and finally Perth’s Apricot Rail which missed a spot in our post-rock special a few months back offer the lead single from their 2013 release called ‘Quarrels’. Maybe once again we have gotten a little post-rock on your collective arses, but hey, this stuff is sublime, and on par with most of the bands doing the rounds here in the UK or Europe (although have a listen on spotify to this brilliant London band called ‘A history of apple pie’ especially for fans of the Hummingbirds).
So I was cruising Hulu this afternoon and came across an ABC2 series from 2010 called I Rock. Kind of odd to be seeing my stamping grounds on the teev, but even so, it was nice to see shows being made about bands and inner city living again. It reminded a little of an old ABC show from the turn of the century called ‘Love is a four letter word’ It starred Pete Fenton and set in the inner west of Sydney. Hence we start with Crow from their debut album recorded by Steve Albini and remixed by Tim Whitten and the track Railhead. Next we play two songs from the ‘love is’ sound track. Jodi Philis does this solo but otherwise so clouds sounding ballad and the most under appreciated talent in Sydney music, Bernie Hayes gives us a track from his début album ‘Every Tuesday Sometimes Sunday’ from 1999. Bernie was seen frequently in the show and in various guides has been with the Shouties and Club Hoy. Track the record down if you can, it is a lesson in song-writing.
This has been a very Perth show this month. Yes, I am married to a Perth girl, and on my last trip I did scour all the old Perth record stores for some gems (which are coming up on a few of our 7” inches of pleasure shows later in the year), but I really assure you I am showing no bias. These three songs are worthy of a play on any show. We start with Halogen. I love this band a lot and this song has one of the nicest ascending guitar solos of this entire oeuvre and more so, a great key change. Ammonia were the first band I ever interviewed back in the dark ages of radio, I was there with my co-host and we interviewed at the Metro in Sydney recording it on a VHS camera of all things! And finally, Jebediah with Animal off ‘…of someday shambles’ from 1999 (I cannot believe that was 14 years ago!)
Well there you have it, 18 tracks of Aussie goodness. The snow has stopped falling, there are small shoots of green on my tree (well, I call it a tree, more a shrub, or a bush, or a twig with leaves really) and let me open window, no, actually it is still really fricking cold out there. But hopefully, these tracks will be a good way to feel like home. See you next month.
Welcome to the first proper WOR for 2013 and this one comes guest programmed with love just for you by my dear friend Xiola Blue. We have known each other for too long to admit and most of that time we have shared a love of Australian music spread wide through genres and eras, bands and singers, signed and unsigned. One of the great treats in store for you in this show is the sheer breadth of gold that she has unearthed. And true to the spirit of this show (which I occasionally let slip in the name of rock and roll!) she has linked each set together thematically, as you can see. The tracks are by Xiola Blue and notes are by me, so if I get shit wrong, you know who to smack.
So, without further meanderings from moi, grab the link for the show HERE and have a gander at the this month’s show ‘Made up in Xiola Blue’ – worse pun there probably could never be.
Robyn St Clare
Hummingbirds Everything You Said
Ratcat True Lust
Love Positions Into Your Arms
The first set is linked the beautiful and amazing Robyn St Clare, bass player from the Hummingbirds. The first track is from the debut ‘birds record ‘Love Buzz’, its name taken from a song from the first Nirvana album ‘Bleach’. The second track is from Sydney’s Ratcat, this track off the ‘This Nightmare’ LP and featuring vox by the aforementioned RSC, and finally the beautiful Into your Arms, from the Love Positions and released as a single and on the album Billiepeebup. Of course, keen spotters might notice that some band called the Lemonheads covered this. You have to love YouTube, I mean where else would you find footage from the Hummingbirds final gig in Brisbane, with Robyn singing ‘Everything you said’. Really!
Rowland S Howard
Crime and the City Solution Six Bells Chime
These Immortal Souls Marry Me
Rowland S Howard Sleep Alone
Honeymoon In Red Come Fall
The late Roland S Howard was a talent of gargantuan stature on the Australian music scene. I saw him play a set at the old Mandarin Club in Sydney over ten years ago and finished with the most fractured version of Shivers you can imagine. Drugs had certainly taken their toll. Anyways, here are four tracks linked to him. We start with Crime and City Solution (recently reformed) with Six Bells Chime, which they performed in the classic Wim Wenders film, Wings of Desire. These Immortal Souls also formed in Berlin around 1987 with Roland S Howard at the centre, this is from their debut LP called Get Lost (Don’t Lie!), Next was Roland himself off his ‘Teenage Snuff Film’ album which to my mind is such an under-appreciated record. Get a copy if you can, every track is sublime and dangerous and beautiful. Finally from 1982 (released in 1987) Roland and Lydia Lunch teamed up to form Honeymoon in Red and this track ‘Come fall’ from the self-titled album. This album featured Tracey Pew from Boys Next Door and Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth.
Lisa Gerrard Sanvean (I Am Your Shadow)
Dead Can Dance Severance
L.G. with Hans Zimmer Now We Are Free
(From the Gladiator Soundtrack which won an Academy Award!!)
Lisa Gerrard formed Dead Can Dance in 1981and the second track is from their Serpent’s Egg album in 1988. The opening track of the set is from her solo album The Mirror Pool released in sumptuous packaging on 4AD back in 1995 and the finally we have a track from the soundtrack to Gladiator which she did with Hans Zimmer.
Toys Went Berserk Brand New Life
Itchy Rat The Sky is Falling
The Kelpies (Soggy Porridge) How Can I Tell You
Bruce Griffiths has a CV that is far too long to recount here (Good News Weeks etc) but here we work with his mighty Aberrant Records label and three tracks off releases from that label. Toys Went Berserk were a brilliant band, with a timeless sound and such kick arse vox. This track was a single from 1990 and had a cover of Stairway to Heaven from the Andrew Denton show ‘The Money or the Gun’ on the b-side. Itchy Rat. Ah the glories of the Sydney punk scene, and this track came from the ‘Not so Humdrum’ compile, one of the three LP and one EP complies put out by Aberrant. Finally, we are left the Kelpies and the track ‘How can I tell you’ from the band ‘Soggy Porridge’ which was released in 1982 by the remnants of the Kelpies and another Sydney punk band on Aberrant Suicide Squad.
Underrated / Overlooked
Apian Low (Glare) Three Times Nothing
Laura I Hope
Because of Ghosts You Fool
Can’t tell you much about Glare aside from a few people I know liked them lots and I have heard the other track ‘Slider’ a few times. Produced by noted knob-twiddler Craig Beck, enjoy a nice piece of Aussie shoegaze. Next is Melbourne band Laura off the ‘Radio Swan is Dead’ album and this track (lead single and all) is an other fine piece of Melbourne post rock and finally we get Because of Ghosts from the No more Reason, No more Doubt LP from 2006.
Teenage Radio Stars Modern Girl
Inxs To Look At You
The Triffids Wide Open Road
Last but not least Xiola Blue links us all together with tracks about our screaming inevitable -death! The first track is from James Freud who had a hit in 1980 with this track before he joined up with Models. The next track is from INXS, a much maligned band almost entirely unfairly in my opinion (well certainly up until 1985). This comes from the 1983 LP Shabooh Shoobah and finally she pays tribute to not just this show but the immense loss that the death of Dave McComb brought upon the Australian music scene.
Well, thanks to my guest programmer for an amazing and beautiful set of tracks. Hope you all enjoy them and we will be back in March with show 3. As always, spread the word and the love about the show and let us klnow through the comments what you like, what you don’t and what you want to hear more of. Peace out.
Full track list
Hummingbirds – Everything You Said
Ratcat – True Lust
Love Positions – Into Your Arms
Crime and the City Solution – Six Bells Chime
These Immortal Souls – Marry Me
Rowland S Howard – Sleep Alone
Honeymoon In Red – Come Fall
Lisa Gerrard – Sanvean (I Am Your Shadow)
Dead Can Dance – Severance
L.G. with Hans Zimmer – Now We Are Free
Toys Went Berserk – Brand New Life
Itchy Rat – The Sky is Falling
The Kelpies (Soggy Porridge) – How Can I Tell You
Apian Low (Glare) – Three Times Nothing
Laura – I Hope
Because of Ghosts – You Fool
Teenage Radio Stars – Modern Girl
Inxs – To Look At You
The Triffids – Wide Open Road