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, this time recorded on the road in Japan, dredging through the deeper reaches of my archives, playing the things that connect and link the vast catalogue of Australian independent and alternative rock and pop, from the surfer psych of the Rifles, through to the croon of the country legends, through to hits from the Grrrly show and the return of the angry, political legends, Wide Open Road is the vinyl (and today the MP3) beat in the heart of the digital jungle.


Jesus on TV – Celibate Rifles
Osuno- Crent
Pandorh – Kiss my Poodles Donkey
You Say – No Dance

We start with the classic Celibate Rifles and a track off their fourth LP Roman Beach Party released in 1987. I started with this because me and my mate DJ Kurac were shopping in a Rotterdam record shop just before the Utrecht Record Fair and found a copy of this LP and had an engaged conversation with the owner about seeing the Rifles in Tilburg twenty years earlier. The reach of Australian music knows few bounds. So, next up is an LP I saw in the 50 cent bin at the same fair, obviously the person selling having no idea, and that is the oddity that is Kent Steedman from the Rifles and Chris Townend from Kiss My Poodles Donkey and the their slightly schizo band Crent. Called ‘Pink Album’, this is one of the more psychedelic tracks clearly influenced by the guitar work of Kent Steedman and was released in 1990. Next up, we have the aforementioned Kiss my Poodles Donkey an electro industrial outfit from Sydney with a track from their self-titled EP released on Hot records in released in 1991. Finally we have the super grouping of Louis Tillett, Brett Myers from Died Pretty and Damian Lovelock of the Celibate Rifles and their conglomeration called No Dance, released on Hot in 1983

Galveston – Even as we Speak
Wichita Lineman – Clouds
By the time I get to Phoenix – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds



Glenn Campbell and Aussie indie..who would have thunk it? Well, aside from the Jimmy Webb songwriting genius, Campbell himself was a master interpreter of the words and melodies that Jimmy Webb offered him. You can hear the annunciation and phrasing in all three of these tracks. The first is by Even as we Speak from I Won’t Have To Think About You 7” released in 1987. This band is sometimes criminally underrated in the traditions and histories of this scene, as they went to London and released most of their stuff on the legendary Sarah Records, worth a shed load mind you. Clouds put out their cover of Wichita Lineman on the Aquamarine EP in 1995. I love Stuart Eadie’s guitar work on this version. And finally, we have what some actually consider to be the definitive version of this classic originally recorded by Campbell in 1968. Released on the Kicking Against the Pricks LP from 1986 this shows the darker, romantic side of Cave.

Don’t Deny Me – Bainmaries
Temptation – Disneyfist
Newport Nightmare – Skulker

Three brilliant pop songs here all from Sydney. We start with Sydney’s Bainmaries who put out this EP called Wide in 1995. I loved this EP when it was released simply because the writing is great and the production is really lush and almost shoe gaze in style (and Maxine Wheelman’s voice is awesome) Next up is Disneyfist, a great live band who played in and around Sydney in the late 1990s. They released two EPs including this one in 1993 that contained this lovely jangly pop classic. Never compiled or re-released, you may need to hunt down Disneyfist. And finally, we have Skulker. We all loved this band. Aside from being local girls, they came on my radio station a bunch of times and just were fun and cool. Their two albums are great pieces of indie rock and this comes from the 2nd and final LP called Too Fat for Tahiti released in 2000. This little bracket of songs in dedicated to our much missed and fondly remembered friend Giselle, who championed girl music from every platform she could.

Solitary Man – Ups and Downs
This Perfect Crime – Ups and Downs

To celebrate the long-awaited return of this legendary Brisbane band, we offer you a few tracks from Ups and Downs. Featuring the Atkinson Brothers, Ups and Down released some brilliant early singles and then a few LPs in the late 1980s. Solitary Man is a Neil Diamond was release don the Sleepless record in 1986. This Perfect Crime was originally released in 1985 and re-released in 1986 on the Waterfront label. Returning in 2017 with a new record and tour, this band mastered the intersection between pop, jangle and a slightly gothic tone in a similar vein to the Church. They were comped a few years back so you can still get their almost entire back catalogue.

Higher than you think – Something for Kate

A single track here, mainly to note the fine show put on by Paul Dempsey at the Garage in Highbury and Islington in London a few weeks back to showcase his new solo record. This track comes from the first Murmur release for SFK called ‘The Answer to both your Questions’ and still remains my fave SFK song, with Dempsey blasting his vocal chords to shreds. Awesome piece of rock.

Dreamworld – Something for Kate
Powderworks – Midnight Oil

Of course, the Oils are back and Australia is simply better for it. Still one of the most political and articulate bands to have graced any world stage (and for fucks sake we need something like this right now), the Oils rap sheet is a brilliant one. And we are seeing them at the Hammersmith Apollo in July and can’t wait. We saw them in Canberra almost a decade ago warming up for Wave Aid and they tore the place a new one (even Wayne Swan was rocking from the wings). We start though with SFK doing an almost note perfect rendition of Dreamworld from Diesel and Dust. And we end where it began, the first song off the debut record from 1978, simply called Midnight Oil (or sometimes the Blue Meanie and by people like me, we call it Powderworks).

We shall be back next month, on a hopefully more regular schedule. The completion of a PhD thesis it turns out is more time consuming that I would have thought. Like I said, who would have thunk it?