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 deep throbbing sound of Ron S Peno, through to the golden tunes of one Edmund Kuepper to the weird synth pop of the mid 80s and primal drawl of Tex, 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 pounding drums and the slow flashback of memory to the,eighties and nineties and now, Wide Open Road is up for our fifth show 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..

Out of the unknown – Died Pretty
A Moment of Despair – The Darling Downs
Whitlam Square – Died Pretty

Really, you can’t beat Died Pretty. They are simply one of the best bands to come out of Australia. Full stop. They are the perfect symphony between the players, especially Ron Peno and Brett Myers. This first track is from the EP ‘The Died Pretty’ which came out on What Goes On in the UK in 1984. Featuring the classic Mirror Blues on the flip, this is a great intro to the band. Produced by Rob Younger (of course). Next up we break up the Died Pretty bookends with this track from the Darling Downs, a supergroup featuring Ron Peno and Kim Salmon. This track comes from the 2008 LP ‘From One to Another’ which was co-produced by Melbourne legends Dave Graney and Clare Moore. Not too much of a leap then into this next track from the Died Pretty LP ‘Every Brilliant Eye’ released in 1990. This record topped every indie chart in the country and quite rightly so. Whitlam Square is a small part of the Sydney CBD at the intersection of Liverpool street and Oxford Street, near Hyde Park. It is also the name of this song. Coincidence?

Divan – Smudge
Taste for Blood – Tom Morgan
Seeing Stars – Godstar
Doctor of Love – Sneeze

Sydney band Smudge were/are unfairly maligned sometimes as a side show to their close relationship with Evan Dando. To be fair, I was one of those detractors for years. I loved ‘Don’t want to be Grant McLennan’ (which was their first single) then after that my main contact with the band was that two of them worked at my favourite record store. They are definitely one of the bands I have gone back to and re-appraised over the years and now really, really love. Divan is a great song, loud and poppy. It comes from the 1994 record Manilow, although this version is from the yellow vinyl compile ‘Tea, Toast and Turmoil’ which was released a year earlier and produced by Nick Dalton. Next up is a new track from Tom Morgan (lead singer of Smudge) from his 2013 solo LP ‘Orange Syringe’ released on Fire Records. Next in this epic collection is Godstar, the supergroup brought together by Nick Dalton. Coastal is a superb record, highly underrated and sprawling. Pushpin is almost the perfect song. Instead I am playing Seeing Stars, which features both Alison and Tom from Smudge, Rob and Simon from the Hummingbirds and Tania Bowers from SPDFGH (plus a cast of thousands). Finally, we croon our way to another collaboration between Tom and Nick with Sneeze and spectacular and slightly creepy ‘Doctor of Love’ from 1999.

The way I made you feel – Ed Kuepper
Nothing changes in my house – Ed Kuepper

This first track is from the 1991 Ed Kuepper LP ‘Honey Steel’s Gold’ which topped the indie charts in the same year. First proper Ed Kuepper LP for me, even though I knew of Laughing Clowns and of course the Saints, it took this record to convert me properly. The addition of Chris Abrahams on piano really changed the dynamics of Ed’s sound. And you can hear this change for yourself on this track from the 1988 album ‘Everybody’s got to’ where Ed is joined on vox by the delightful Rebecca Hancock who was previously in the Yard Goes on Forever and the underrated Watusi Now.

My Hearts on Fire – Machinations
Evolution – Models

One of four singles that came from the chart straddling Machinations LP Big Music in 1985, this song has an amazing clip (which you can see below). The Machinations are one of those bands that were indie darlings with their debut single and then signed major, went on Countdown, got baggy trousers and braces, lost their cool factor apparently and are now back on the circuit touring again. Underrated. Also produced by Julian Mendolsohn is this track from the Models last LP ‘Models’ Media’ in 1986. When this LP failed to live up to the success of the previous ‘Out of mind, out of sight’ the band broke up and this incarnation ended with the tragic death of James Freud in 2010.

I think you’re cute – The Johnnys
Just Right – Beasts of Bourbon

Here it is, the debut single from the Johnnys, released in 1983 and well before their debut LP, this is cow punk rent large. It is the template that never stopped giving for the band. We follow this with a slab of dirty rock in the form of the Beasts of Bourbon from their 4th LP ‘The Low Road’ which was released on Red Eye in 1991. In some ways, this track foretold the sounds that were to come from the other band that Tex Perkins fronted in this era (The Cruel Sea), the organ of James Cruickshank notwithstanding. Spencer is not a well man at the moment and all of us here at WOR wish him a speedy recovery.

High Chair – You Am I
Berlin Chair (live) – You Am I

Rocking it out to the end of the show we have two early examples of the power of You Am I. We start with a track from their 2nd EP released all the way back in 1992 on Timberyard records. We then have one the great songs of Australian music, Berlin Chair recorded live in 1993, which came out as a bonus EP with the early CD copies of their second album Hi-Fi Way.