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, from the vil sounds of the pedal steel, through to the early sound of punk and post punk to the duelling sounds of bird man and salmon waiting to capture London and the sampling platter of Hot records, Wide Open Road is the vinyl beat in the heart of the digital jungle. It is with the twang of guitars, the smash crash of space labs and the slow flashback of memory to the, seventies eighties and nineties, Wide Open Road is up for our fourth of 2016 with a whole heap of new tracks, deep cuts and rare and long-lost gems to play for you. and we start with..

Dave Graney with the White Buffaloes – A deal made for somebody else

Recorded live in Melbourne in 1990, this EP only came out in the UK on Fire Records. The White Buffaloes were a very country styled backing band for Dave and Clare, and this song highlights the pedal steel work of one ‘Evil’ Graham Lee who made his fame in the Triffids. And then onto..

The Triffids – The Seabirds

Featuring the pedal steel work of ‘Evil’ Graham Lee, this track comes from the masterful Born Sandy Devotional LP. Generally considered one of the best Australian records ever made, the record was released in March 1986, and of course features the eponymous ‘Wide Open Road’.

John Kennedy – Miracle (in Marrickville)

The last of first triple all connected by ‘Evil’ Graham Lee, this time on a track from Sydney troubadour John Kennedy, released on Waterfront in March 1985. Centred on the inner Sydney suburb of Marrickville, this is a great little country inspired track. I just opened the single and found a copy of a flyer to launch the single (and the band Love Gone Wrong) at the Marrickville Hotel on the 16th March Free entry!!

Toys Went Berserk – Worlds Away

Now here is a slight idiosyncrasy from the Aberrant label. Toys Went Berserk put out a a few records in the late eighties and early nineties, very different to the rest of the more punky that the Bruce Griffiths label was best known for releasing. This track was the lead single and track from the 1988 LP ‘The Smiler with a Knife’. The two leading member of the band (Andy and Coo) moved to England became ‘Feast’. Thanks to Richard Bennett for getting me into this band. It was produced of course, by Rob Younger (what wasn’t back then!)

XL Capris – Skylab (Son of Telstar)

Recorded in 1979, this brilliant piece of punk was based on the news story that the Skylab s[ace station was going to crash into some unknown part of the world and could cause unknown chaos. As it was it burnt up except all for a few bit of it that hit Western Australia. XL Capris featured Johanna Piggot (later of Scribble) and Kimble Rendall who started the Hoodoo Gurus with Dave Faulkner. The track appears on the ‘Why march when you can riot’ compile put out by Aberrant.

Last Words – Todays Kidz

Keep up the punk theme, some early Sydney punk here from 1979/80. Last Words were a Sydney punk band made up of British expats (where they moved back to and did some of the earliest punk experiments with Dub through Adrian Sherwood).

Lipstick Killers – Hindu Gods of Love

One of the great original punk singles from Australia, from a band that emerged from the ashes of the Psycho Surgeons. This is an amazing example of what evolved from the impacts of punk, Detroit and Radio Birdman (and eventually morphed into the sound of bands like the Lime Spiders, chain clanging sounds et al)

Radio Birdman – Hand of Law

To mark the live return of Birdman and the Scientists to London in June, let’s have a Birdman/Salmon off, four songs, battle lines drawn. We start with one of the great Birdman sing-a-longs at gigs, hands always outstretched as they scream ‘The Hand of Law is coming down’. Originally released on the Radios Appear LP, this showcases the brilliant guitar work of one D.Tek.

The Scientists – Solid Gold Hell

Now being reissued by the amazing Numero Uno label, this key Scientists slab originates from the EP ‘This Heart Doesn’t Run on Blood’ released on Melbourne label Au-Go-Go in k1984. Helmed by Kim Salmon, ably enabled by Thewlis and Sujdovic, Solid Gold Hell is darkly slab of primal Australian rock.

Radio Birdman – New Race (Live at the Paddington Town Hall)

OK, OK, as sing-a-longs go, this song knocks all of them for six, yeah hup! Probably one of the most propulsive Australian songs of all time, it has rightly entered Australian indie music folklore. It is a powerful anthem to teen rebellion and anger, nailed to the floor by Tek and Masuak’s duelling guitars. This has been around as a boot for years, but Citadel released a beautiful clean version of it in 2014 as part of the box set reissues. This is from that collection,

The Scientists – We Had Love (Live from the Tote Melbourne 1983)

From the Bang! Records LP ‘Rubber Never Sleeps’ which collects a whole heap of boots, rare live versions, rehearsals and the like from the Scientists spanning their entire career, this live version of We Had Love is nasty and spits the appropriate amount of required venom. There you have it, 2 bands, playing London on consecutive nights, only a few minutes from my door in NW5. Who wins? me. Duh

The Wreckery – Badland Yard

A few songs from the Hot records label, once of the most diverse indies from the 1980s. We start with Melbourne’s Wreckery, which featured the vocal stylings of later day Bad Seed Hugo Race. This track comes from their ‘ I Think This Town Is Nervous’ from 1986. This band also featured the early work of one Nick Barker, who with the Reptiles has a cross-over hit with Come and See Me (Make Me Smile) in 1989.

Chad’s Tree – Crush the Lily

Chad’s Tree were originally from Perth and were part of the general social and musical whirl of the Triffids, mainly due to the presence of the Snarski Brothers (Rob and Mark) who played with Dave McComb in the Blackeyed Susans. What a tortured web we weave. This was debut single from 1985 and is a good pointer to the two LP’s which were comped a few backs in a double CD collection on Memorandum Records.

Roland S Howard vs The Devastations – Autoluminscent

We finish with this recently re-issued rarity from RSH. Originally recorded in 2005, this single has been out-of-print and in demand for a decade, especially in the wake of the death of RSH and the re-issue of a lot of his solo catalogue. Vale.