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 that we revisit what many consider a forgotten (rightly and/or wrongly) era of independent and alternative music – the nineties. This is our second show of the series revisiting the eras of music where vinyl was no longer the dominant form of music consumption and the CD reigned supreme. On the first show we paid tribute to the late Damien Lovelock, explored the nineties canon of Grant McLennan and listened to the influence of Wayne Connolly. We start this show with another veteran of the scene claiming ownerships of the nineties in the form of one of his best solo LPs, Ladies and Gentlemen Mr Edmund Kuepper and Closer (but disguised)

Closer (but disguised) – Ed Kuepper
A Good Soundtrack – The Aints

Two tracks from the Ed Kuepper in the nineties. I was a late comer to the Kuepper catalogue, although I did buy a copy of the Traffic album John Barleycorn must Die which Ed has sold at Ashwoods in the late eighties. Not trivia, just a fact. The LP that spawned this first track was Honey Steel’s Gold, released in 1992, this LP made the Australian charts (number 28) but for me I noticed it at the top of the indie charts in Drum Media for weeks and weeks and weeks. Little did I know that Ed Kuepper would become one of my favourite artists, and I am not sure I had even made the Saints connection knowing more about the Chris Bailey era than the original. Next up, a track from the Aints album Ascension, released in 1991. The Lints started as a three piece Neil Young and Crazy Horse style feedback monster doing Saints covers. They evolved into this loud and noisy outfit, releasing two records of original before reforming in 2017 to bring all the noise back home. Raucous.

Calmly – Frente
House on Fire – Club Hoy
Lap it Up – Penny Flanagan and the New Moon
Barbarian (Live) – Penny Flanagan


These two artists don’t have much in common to be fair. We start with Front and the last track on their much maligned second LP Shape released in 1996. After the popular success of Marvin the Album, the mockery of Accicently Kelly Street and the accusations of tweeness the regrouped in Spain and recorded this much heavier sounding record (with it’s twee moments of course). I really like this closer, its an epic, kind of psych Brit pop sounding track, similar to Lush or Echobelly. Then we move Club Hoy, another unfairly maligned pop band featuring the lush harmonies of Penny Flanagan and Julia Richardson. This track comes from the debut LP called Thursday’s Fortune, recorded and released in 1991. The record was produced by ex-Sports guitarist Martin Armiger and I think almost thirty years later holds up as a great piece of folk pop. Next in this bracket a song that is definitely related, the first solo single from Penny Flanagan from her 1992 solo LP Bravado and the track Lap it Up. Also produced by Martin Armiger this LP is poppy, dark in places with a bit of Aussie trip hop buried on the B-side with the track The Sky which enjoyed remixing by Volition artist Boxcar and some minor dance floor success. Lastly. but not least, I cannot end a Penny Flanagan bracket without this superlative cover of the Hummingbirds gem Barbarian, originally from the Love Buzz record but deployed here with heart breaking pathos and emotion by Penny, recorded live in in one take at St. Canice Church Hall, Kings Crosse in Sydney and released as the B-Side of Lap it Up. Wow. It kind of gave us a hint of what was to come with Penny’s last major release, the Seven Flights Up mini-album. I will leave that for another day.

Gone – The Hummingbirds
Penetrate – The Hummingbirds

Two tracks from the final recordings of the Hummingbirds. Long time listeners of this show will know of my love for this band. They simply are one of the finest Australian bands of all time. As a tribute to the late Simon Holmes, Blank Records released these two EPs from 1993 (Gone and Tail) on a single LP. I bought it at the tribute gig for Simon. It took me months to open and play. I love these EPs so much and I found myself listening to it in my kitchen, alone in the house, my headphone volume turned up to max crying. We play two songs here. The first is the title track from the Gone EP and the second is an alannah rocker ‘Penetrate’ from the Tail EP.

Shopping Trolley – Moler
Stairway to Hell – 51 Monday

Two tracks next featuring the talents of Helen Cattanach. This was from the debut 10” put out by her band Moler in 1996 as part of the ‘On Special” EP. The band released an album and handful of EPs across the nineties and into the early 2000s. This track was produced by Melbourne producer extraordinaire Lindsay Gravina (Magic Dirt, Underground Lovers, Meanies – the list goes on). The next track is from the only EP by the ‘supergroup’ 51 Monday which was formed around Simon Day of Ratchet and the carets Leone Carmen along with nic Dalton and Alison Galloway from Smudge. This track was written by Helen Cattanach and came out in 1999 on the The Rorschach Test  EP, which kind of sank without much a trace, partially I think because of its idiosyncratic melodies and the significant distance from the music Simon was known and famous for. TV Week readers may have left disappointed.

Seesaw Child – A Month of Sundays
Worried about Fucking – Rosemary Beads

And we round this show with two deep cuts of Perth indie. We start with A Month of Sundays from the 1993 Perth compile Bedtime Beats you Brainless. A Month of Sundays came across my radar on one of my trips back to the fourth home of Perth where my wife hails from. I was going through the racks at Dada Records and found their debut single. Poppy, slightly paisley in a Stems kind of way, A month of Sundays ironically have the same name as a band from Perthshire in the UK (who play Stone Roses style britpop). Go figure. Then we have the Rosemary beads, another band I found at Dada quite a few years back. This is a track from their I’ll Come When I’m Good And Ready EP released in 1994 on Citadel. I find it interesting that despite the growth of national public radio, here was still such a sense of parochialism and local in music that I never heard of these bands until I started dating a Perth girl. Which was a pretty good decision to be honest