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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 rock, from most dark visceral experimental sinew to the the propulsive beats and grind of the garage and pop, this is the vinyl beat in the heart of the digital jungle.

Six Bells Chime – Crime and the City Solution
From Her to Eternity – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Faraway, So Close – Nick Cave

We start this show with three songs connected by the fact that they feature in Wim Wenders films ‘Wings of Desire’ and it’s sequel ‘Faraway So Close’. A masterpiece of modern noir, Wings of Desire was filmed in the Berlin that was pre-wall falling, a grey, graffitied plain of tension and darkness. The film featured two critical performances of these first two songs. The first is Simon Bonney and his band Crime and the City Solution which at the time featured Roland S. Howard of the Birthday Party and Mick Harvey of the Bad Seeds. Released in 1986, this is a goth masterpiece. The next band in the film is Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, at the height of their Berlin period. They played a live version of From Her to Eternity, interacting with the characters all through the sequence. I am playing the 1983 original here, although you can get the Wings of Desire on the reissue of the LP. Finally, we end the set with Nick Cave doing one of the two title tracks for the Wings of Desire sequel. Faraway, So Close is a rare Nick Cave solo song (although featuring the skills of Bad Seed Barry Adamson). It has only appeared on the soundtrack for the film released in 1993.


After the Fireworks – Tuff Monks
Karen – The Go-Betweens
Enchanted House – Four Gods

Let’s link this whole thing right up, shall we? The Tuff Monks were a ‘supergroup’ made a single 7” in Featuring Nick Cave and Roland Howard from the Birthday Party and Grant McLennan, Robert Forster and Lindy Morrison of the Go-Betweens. This track b/w a song called ‘After, After the Fireworks’ was released on the Melbourne indie label Au-go-go. Controversial in part because there is contention of whether it should have been released (with Mick Harvey commenting ‘That single was like a jam session we had in the studio which lasted about 2 hours and we never even finished… How on earth they could release it I really don’t know. It’s ludicrous, a travesty… The whole point of the exercise was no one was meant to be credited. It was just meant to be ‘The Tuff Monks’, no explanation, nothing.” The song has seen the light of day many time over the years.

Karen was the b-side of the debut Go-Betweens single, released all the way back in 1978 on the Able Label. It is the song that sets the template for some of many of Robert Forster’s best songs, especially with all the classical literature reference (helps me find James Joyce, she always makes the right choice). Apparently there were only 500 copies of this single and for some reason there are copies on the bottom of the Brisbane River. Want it? Find the late 80s ‘Able Label’ singles EP or the new Go-Betweens box set released in 2015 entitled ‘G stands for Go-Betweens Vol.1’

Finally, we have an early Go-Betweens rarity, with the band known as the Four Gods, released on the Able Label in 1981 featuring Lindy Morrison from the Go-Be’s and the mysterious ‘Candice’ on bass, which is rumoured to be Grant McLennan. The song was engineered by well-known post punk producer Patrick Gibson (he of Scattered Order fame) and is a double A-side with the track ‘Restless’. In the finest traditions of re-issues, the single was re-issued in 2015 by US label Manufactured Records.

Kid Octane – Hoi Polloi
No Moon at Midnight – The Spectre’s Revenge
This is Real – Sunnyboys

Lobby Loyde was one of Australia’s greatest guitar players, playing with bands like the Purple Harts, the Aztecs and finally his most seminal work with the Coloured Balls. He came back as a producer of 100s of great indie singles through the late 1970s and well into the 1980s. This sequence features some of his lesser known production jobs, although they shouldn’t be underestimated across the Loyde canon. First up we have Sydney band Hoi Polloi from 1983. They featured a few members who circled around the early Hoodoo Gurus family (playing on a few tracks on their first three LPs).They put out three singles to limited success. The Spectre’s Revenge put out a single 7” on Au-go-go in 1985. This band featured future members of bands like the Cruel Sea and the Dubrovniks. This cool piece of post-psych features the production talents of the aforementioned my Loyde as well (although misspelt on the label as Lloyd!). Finally we have a band that did succeed in releasing more than a handful of singles, the majestic Sunnyboys. We pick of the story with their 1982 single ‘This is Real’ which was the 2nd single of the 1982 LP ‘Indiviuduals’. Absolutely brilliant lyrics by Jeremy Oxley and clean production from Lobby Loyde mark this track as one of the unheralded masterpieces of the Sunnyboys canon.

Untitled – Scattered Order
Waiting Time – Ya Ya Choral
Church of England TV – Patrick Gibson

We mentioned Patrick Gibson earlier in the show, we start this experimental bracket (all released on the amazing M-Squared label). His band, Scattered Order were one of the most experimental bands of the scene, before being signed to the major Volition label. This track comes from the extraordinary M-Squared box set called ‘Pardon me for barging in like this’ and comes from a demo recording from 1981 featuring Michael Prowse of the similar era band Prod. Next up, we have Ya Ya Choral, another M-Squared band featuring Patrick Gibson, this time with a track from their 1982 debut single called ‘Such a Dutch Man’. Like most of these bands, these singles are as rare as hen’s teeth but have been well-comped over the years. Melbourne in the early 1980s was an experimental scene with heaps of bands coalescing around venues, and relying on the burgeoning tape scene (include the very well known Terse Tapes and Fast Forward, check them out if you can, there is a plethora of cool, rare stuff from bands, both Australian and overseas). From one of those tapes (a split between Patrick Gibson and A Cloakroom Assembly) we have this minimalist piece from 1980 from Patrick Gibson. It has also been comped on the M Squared box set ‘Terrace Industry’ released in 2014.

Television Addict – The Victims
TV Freak – The Victims

Two songs linked simply by subject matter. The Victims were the first band of Hoodoo Guru Dave Faulkner and early Guru James Baker. They were one of Perth’s first punk bands and released this seminal slab of vinyl in 1978. Covered, reissued, replayed and compiled, but never been bettered. There are very few more important cuts in Australian music history. and we end with another classic Victims track, TV freak, perhaps trying to rediscover the magic, and guess what? They did! See you next time anon on the Wide Open Road.