It is with that unmistakeable, gut wrenching scream of Rob Younger and its clarion call exhorting us all to play some Stooges that Radio Birdman signals the start of another Wide Open Road, playing the things that connect and link the vast catalogue of Australian independent and alternative rock and pop.

Wide Open Road is the vinyl beat in the heart of the digital jungle and It is with the twang of guitars, the smash crash of dusty grooves and the slow flashback of memory to the, seventies eighties and nineties and the simple idea that it has been way too long between shows.

I have spent the last nine months making the transition between one home in London to a new (old) home in Sydney. It was not as easy and then far simpler than I thought. So, we start this weeks show with four tracks explicitly and tacitly about moving between London and Sydney and the shadowy spaces created by memory and experience ( a topic I have explored in the context of my day job in my latest blog post on – most of which is a love letter to the Go-Betweens).

Which is a great place to start. From 1988 we have the track Love is a Sign from the 16 Lovers Lane LP. The whole album is drenched in the dank cold wet of London shot brightly through summer sun. It was the sound of warm air, dark stories and familiar memories. It was a band held together by a painful breakup, a delirious love affair and two men, connected by friendship, love and an intense creative partnership, steadfast in their belief about importance of their songwriting and their relationship. Challenging us in the lyric to this song is Robert Forster arguing that wintery London ‘no longer exists’. Balancing that is the Aerial Maps, a Sydney band centred on the spoken word of Adam Gibson (Modern Giant and the Ark-Ark Birds to name a few). From their 2008 LP In the Blinding Sunlight this track responds in a way but arguing that London Still Exists, an evocation of a time gone by living in the Capital. We move onto the Steve Kilbey (The Church) cover of the 1995 Kev Carmody track Images of London (the original of which he produced). And then we end up where we started, the Go-Betweens and their Striped Sunlight Sound. Recorded in 2005 at the Tivoli in Brisbane, Streets of Your Town asserts its place a summer anthem despite the incredibly dark and perhaps slightly dangerous lyric, which in itself is an interesting transition of the intent of a song.

Love is a Sign – The Go-Betweens
London Still Exists – Aerial Maps
Images of London – Steve Kilbey
Streets of your Town (Live 2005) – The Go-Betweens

On the 30th anniversary of their most successful LP ‘Kiss My Art” and with the delayed 30th anniversary show under my belt, I bring you a trio of songs by Melbourne’s own Painters and Dockers. One of the mainstays of the scene and drawing on sometimes smutty humour and political commentary the Dockers remain one of the funniest bands in the country. We feature three tracks of their starting with the pleasantly labelled ‘Eat Shit Die’ released on Musicland in 1990 and co-written by main man Paulie Stewart (explicit lyric here). next up we move to the Kiss my Art LP released on White in 1988 which had two singles, the successful Nude School, the less successful Die Yuppie Die and the patently unsuccessful Love on Your Breath. We go for Love on Your Breath. Why? What a great title. And it also showcases the distinct brass sound of the band, led by Dave Pace. Finally, we get right up to date, with the latest slab from the band released in 2018 called Holiday on Ice produced by the guitarist Michael Badger.

Eat Shit Die – Painters and Dockers
Love on your breath – _Painters and Dockers
Holiday on Ice – Painters and Dockers

Method Records. One of the legendary underground labels on the early 80’s. Releasing mainly bands from Sydney (chronicled on their three Sound of Sydney compiles starting in 1983), Method was started din 1980 by Keth Welsh but was ran all through the 1980s by Douglas Lees and Fabian Byrne (of the Method band Fiction Romance amongst others). Three tracks from Method catalogue, which cross from new wave, to Mod to ska. We start with MR1 by the Products and their track Powerplant. Next up we have the Skolars, who recently reformed to play a show in Sydney at the Marrickville Bowlo, with their first single from 1983 (MR9) and the track Something (should be done), a great piece of angular post punk/ska. that later morphed into alt pop when they ended up on the Waterfront label. And finally, we get to Mr23, and the paisley legends that are Surprise Surprise from 1986 (produced by David Price most noted for being in the band Bell Jar, but also producer of the Warmup Band single My Island Home which went onto to be a huge hit from Christine And.

Powerplant – The Products
Something (should be done) – Skolars
Cried all my tears – Surprise Surprise

The Australian and NZ post pink scenes were diverse and populated by so many small bands, many of which put out maybe one or two singles. We are going to feature four bands in this track, two from Australia and two from across the ditch that exemplified the diversity of styles inherent in post punk. We start with Adelaide band Foreign Body, an all female band that made just this one single in 1981 called Gang Land. We move from the new wave end of the spectrum to the more poppy, even slightly rocky Kiwi band Pop Mechanic and the ir classic Jumping out the Window, which is listed in many top 100 Kiwi songs lists. Produced bY Eddie Rayner of Split End, the Chsritchurch band went onto record several other singles and LPs but none as popular as this slice of Kiwi pop. We stay on the other side of the ditch and the band, The Screaming Meemees. Originally from Auckland, the Screaming Meemees had number one hits in their homeland as well as over here, with this single from 1982 earning a full Aussie release. Finally, we have Scant Regarde, a one single wonder from Perth and the track Cabbage Hat Virgin Head. I don’t know very much about this band. I found the single in a shop in Fremantle and was drawn to the EMI Custom label (which often releases some very rare singles recorded independently). The dude behind the counter asked me, what did I know about this single. I could honest reply, very little! Although it does feature in the history of WA indie/alternative published a few back called Way Out West by George Matzkov(get a copy if you can) and on the amazing CD that comes with the book that chronicles so many of the tracks in the book.

Winterland – Died Pretty

Wrapping the show up with a shout out to Ron Peno from Died Pretty who has been having some health problems recently. Looking forward to having you back on stage soon Ron. W have a track from the 1988 LP called Lost. Released in the UK as well on Beggars Banquet, this record is a masterpiece of 1980s Australian indie, without a single dud track.

See you next week y’all