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 the dirty chaos of the supergroup to the pink Detroit sounds of Sydney through to the glories of being a saint, 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 eighties and nineties, Wide Open Road is up for our second show of 2016 with a whole heap of new tracks, deep cuts and rare and long-lost gems to play for you.  Let’s kick the show off over in Melbourne and the clutches of the bass grooves driving Hunters and Collectors…

Bad Boat – The Breaknecks

Hard Rain – Harem Scarem

I couldn’t give it to you (live) – Hunters and Collectors

We start with a track from the only LP from Melbourne band, The Breaknecks.  Released in 1988 on the Au Go Go label, this is a heavy, deep vocal piece of lost Aussie rock.  Can’t tell you much more other than it was produced Hunters and Collectors bass player John Archer (actually, you hear of a bit of the early Collectors in this track). Next up, another John Archer produced track from Harem Scarem, released in 1986, featuring the distinctive vocals of Charlie Marshall and the guitar playing of later Hunter Barry Palmer. This track was the lead single from Pilgrims Progress LP.  And finally in this bracket, featuring the distinctive bass playing of John Archer we have a live version of this Hunters song originally released on the Jaws of Life LP in 1984.  This version comes from the live LP ‘The Way to go out’ released in 1985 but recorded at the Venue in Melbourne in August 1984.

Drag the Lake – Bloodloss

Face Down in Mud – Bloodloss

Released in 1986 on the self titled EP (with this version coming from the brilliant Raw Cuts compile released on England’s Satellite Records), this track is a brilliant example of chaotic brilliance of Bloodless. later to feature Mark Arm and Guy Maddison of Mudhoney, this earlier incarnation includes Chris Wiley (Fear & Loathing) on bass gtr, Charley Tolnay (Grong Grong, King Snake Roost) gtr & Andrew Stosch (The Twenty Second Sect) drums and the brilliant vox of Sharron Weatherill.  Next up, another track from Bloodless, but a much later incarnation that does feature M.Arm but sill the core engine room of Renestair E.J and Martin Bland.  This track came out 1995 and was originally from the LP ‘Live my Way’ which I first picked up back in the day because of the Mudhoney connection before knowing the Aussie pedigree.  Amazing what you find out later in life, eh?.

Eddie (Acoustic) – Celibate Rifles

Groovin’ in the Land of Love – Celibate Rifles

2000 Light Years from Home – Celibate Rifles

Rifles time. This is a limited edition acoustic track that was given out free to the first 500 buyers of the 1986 LP ‘The Turgid Miasma of Existence’ released on Phantom.  The next track was recorded live at C.B.G.B.’s, New York, on October 30 1992. This comes from the 1993 live LP Yizgarnoff. Every year we would celebrate my wife’s birthday with the semi-annual tradition of the Rifles playing one of the LPs in its entirety on Boxing Day.  One of the things you miss by moving to London.  We finish the bracket with a bonus track that was on the CD copy of Yizgarnoff, this time a cover of the Rolling Stones track from ‘Her Satanic Majesties Request’.

Dart – Screamfeeder

Cast Iron Fly – Kellie Lloyd

Almost Past Caring – The Madmen

Screamfeeder are a three piece from Brisbane. Formed in 1988 but hitting their stride in 1991, this track comes from the brilliant Kitten Licks LP.  Striking right at the time when indie rock was at its zenith in Australia (the peak of Triple J) this LP has three radio hits including Static and Gravity.  Next up we have a track from their bas player (Kellie Lloyd’s) solo LP.  This is a dark, dark track and one that I have continually gone back to from her 1995 LP ‘For nothing and no-one’.  This is a brilliant solo LP in its truest sense. Finally, we have the band that pre-dates Screamfeeder ‘The Madmen’ which featured Cam and Tim.  This is the first an only single on Bent Records. 

The Ghost of an Ideal Wife – Ed Kuepper and the Yard Goes on Forever

The Ghost of an Ideal Wife – Laughing Clowns

Finding You – Ed Kuepper

Prisoner (Live) – Robert Forster

Ed Kuepper is one of the mainstays of the Australian indie music scene.  From the Saints, to the Laughing Clowns to a plethora of solo material, he never fails to deliver.  This comes from his 1989 project called the Yard goes on Forever (and the only EP ‘Happy as Hell’), which featured usual suspect Mark Dawson on drums and the singer from Louis Tillett’s Paris Green Rebecca Hancock on backing vox.  This song is a cover of a Laughing Clowns song from the LP entitled the same from 1985.  Next up we have a lovely Brisbane moment with Ed Kuepper covering Grant McLennan’s Finding You on his 2007 LP Jean Lee And The Yellow Dog, made with the Kowalski Collective. and finally, Robert Forster returns the favour with this live cover of the Saints track, originally released on the Prehistoric Sounds LP.  This version was recorded in Brisbane as part of Robert’s 15 songs cycle tour.