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 jangly power pop through to the comfy loungeroom of twee and the dirty excesses of punk Wide Open Road is the vinyl beat in the heart of the digital jungle. It is with the clang of guitars, the smash crash of drums and the slow flashback of memory to the nineties, Wide Open Road is back for it’s fifth giant year with a whole heap of new tracks, deep cuts and rare and long-lost gems to play for you. Let’s kick the year off over in Perth.

Wide Open Road 2016 Show 1 – Degenerate Boy by Djringfinger on Mixcloud


summer suns

















The Summer Suns – Love in Stone
Scientists – Raver
The Stems – At First Sight

The Summer Suns were part of the truly great era in Perth in the mid eighties through the mid nineties. Led by Kim Williams and featuring playing by most of Perth, the Summer Suns laid down a couple of LPs and a bunch of cool singles. This track comes their debut LP released in 1991called Calpurnia. The track features the vocals of Dom Mariani (DM3, Stems) and Kim Salmon (Scientists, Kim Salmon). Let’s keep the Perth thing going with the Scientists covering the Suicide classic ‘Raver’. This track was recorded for the 2JJJ show ‘The Nine O’Clock Muse’ in 1984. Finally, let;s just complete the triumvirate and drop some Dom Mariani in your laps. I thought long and hard about which tracks, but I really felt like the Stems. So here they are in all their glory. First track, debut album. Play it loud.






forster 2












Robert Forster- Danger in the Past
Robert Forster – Demon Days
Robert Forster – I love myself and I always have

Featuring an array of Bad Seeds from Mick Harvey (who produced the record) to Thomas Wydler to Hugo Race, this is the title track from the debut solo LP of Robert Forster, released in1990. Danger in the Past is a brilliant example of the Forster songwriting skills and is quite a stark departure from the Go-Betweens sound, especially with the heavy piano work of Mick Harvey. onto 2008 now and a track from The Evangelist, one of three co-written with the late Grant McLennan. This is another beautiful example of how Forster crafts a song, matching the lyrics with beautiful swirling strings and backing vocals. Finally, we come up to date with a track from his most recent solo LP ‘Songs to Play’. I love myself and I always have is further proof that Robert Forster is one of Australia’s greatest songwriters.












Straitjacket Fits – Hail
In the Shape of a Heart – Sneaky Feelings

OK, OK, it is time for our occasional foray across the ditch and as it appears we will probably go to war with our Kiwi brothers (Thanks Malc) it seemed appropriate to dip into a couple of Flying Nun classic. Straitjacket Fits were a Dunedin band who put out this LP in 1988, first on Flying Nun then on the UK indie label Rough Trade. Sneaky Feelings were also from Dunedin and recorded for Flying Nun. This is the lead track from their fourth and final record released in 1998 called ‘Hard Luck Stories’. They took their name from a track off the Elvis Costello LP ‘My aim is true’. True story for your next Rock Quiz














Crime and the City Solution -I Have a Gun (Woody Guthrie Mix)

Crime and the City Solution – On Every Train (Grain will Bear Grain) (Instrumental)

From the International Mute compilation (originally from the Paradise Discotheque LP) this weird melange of dark gothic and country and western is pretty damned cool and does feature the textures of Mick Harvey (again!). One of the problems sometimes with bands with charismatic lead singers is that you forget how musical the band actually is. This instrumental track (the original is from the 1988 LP Shine) really highlights how strong the band are. This version was on a limited 10” EP from 1991.

Bughouse – The Brightest Firework
Plutonic Girl – Fallout
Rubher – T-Shirt

So, when I was back home in 2014 I went into the box of EP and CD singles that I had buried in the back room of my mums house. Most of them I never bothered to rip before I left Australia in 2009. This triple is just that, three songs from lost EPs. We start with Sydney band Bughouse who had three or four incredibly good singles in the late 80s. Featuring the twin vox of Genevieve Maynard,and Lea Cameron this track comes from the 1992 EP called Bardo. Next up we skip to 1998 and Perth again, for this EP from the band Plutonic Girl. The EP ‘Use your x-ray vision’ was one the first I bought at 78 Records on my first trip to Perth to see my future wife for the first time. It holds a special meaning. Finally, a glorious track from Sydney band Rubher (featuring triple J jock Jane Gazzo on vocal). I loved this song as soon as I played it. I used to play it all the time on the radio, it just has that wonderful summery sydney indie feeling that I miss at this time of the year.














Died Pretty – Stoneage Cindarella (Live)
Died Pretty – March Past

Died Pretty are the well spring we can keep going back to over and over on this. Two rare tracks here from the 1st incarnation. We start with the classic Stoneage Cindarella from a Bucketful of Brains 7” from 1989. This shows what a powerful live band they were (and still are). Next up is from a free seven that was given away in 1991 at a Paddington RSL show. The other side of the single (Time) was released as a b-side, this track has never been released.







X- Degenerate Boy

What a way to finish the show, with Sydney punk pioneers X. Formed when Ian Rilen left Rose Tattoo after their first record and threw this band together in a Sydney squat to make this squealing noise. First track from the recent uncovered 1977 recordings of the band. Degenerate Boy is an out and out Aussie classic. Play it loud.