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.

Wide Open Road is the vinyl beat in the heart of the digital jungle and It is with the twang of guitars, the smash crash of dusty grooves and the slow flashback of memory that we celebrate the smell and touch of long-lost vinyl gems. For many years, I have been a vagabond soul, wandering from Sydney, to The Hague, back to Sydney, then onto London for a decade before settling back here. On this show we dig deep into dusty recesses of a collection that has spanned continents, time zones, memories and taste. We start with five songs all connected by the Bad Seeds and specifically through Mick Harvey and Roland S Howard.

I’m a Believer – Anita Lane
At the Crossroads – Crime and the City Solution
Three Kings – Honeymoon in Red
Marry me (Lie! Lie!) – These Immortal Souls
Pop Crimes – Roland S Howard

A dynamic, powerful and dark voice in Australia, Nick Cave has spanned four decades of mayhem, religion and insight. We start with former Bad Seed and co-writer of the classic Cave track From Her to Eternity, a favour he repaid on this track from her debut EP Dirty Sings. Released in 1988 (and later on her debut LP Dirty Pearl) the EP featured three Bad Seeds (Barry Adamson, Thomas Wydler and Mick Harvey) and was produced by Harvey. Next up, we move the Simon Bonney supergroup Crime and the City Solution. A band often referred to as being in the orbit of the Bad Seeds, each of the records is uniquely characterful, with dark brooding lyrics and sweeping narrative stories. This track comes the 1985 The Dangling Man EP, featuring Mick and with music written by Roland S Howard (Bad Seeds, Boys Next Door et al). An epic track, with clanking guitars and industrial drumming courtesy of Harvey. Next up, another supergroup featuring Howard, along with Lydia Lunch, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and Clint Ruin (Foetus). This track was written by Howards partner, Genevieve McGuckin and was released in 1987. Another epic, noisy, scattered track full of industrial menace. Next, another RSH band, These Immortal Souls. Recorded in the UK in the late eighties, this track is from the EP of the same name, featuring Howard, his brother Harry, McGuckin and the brilliant and tragic figure of Epic Soundtracks. Once again, a very moody, dark track punctuated by a jaunty piano line and the brilliant sound of RSHs voice. Finally, we have a track from the final solo album of RSH released in 2009, featuring the organ and drums of Mick Harvey (full circle) and produced by Magic Dirt producer Lindsay Gravina, this is a brilliant LP recently re-released and well worth hunting down. I saw Roland launch this record at the Mandarin Club in Sydney. It was an epic show, with a sparse audience in attendance, but seminal and chaotic all the same.

Never too Late – Shrinking Violets
Love to Rule – Shrinking Violets
100 – Even As We Speak

Three tracks connected (in part) by the Julian Knowles, songwriter for the Shrinking Violets and these days a member of the ongoing concern that is Even As We Speak. We start with a track from the first (and only) Shrinking Violets EP Mask, released on Phantom Records in 1988. Poppy and fuzzy, the Shrinking Violets were around for three years in the late eighties putting out one EP and a single, and of course, two tracks on the 10th Anniversary compile of the Phantom label called Assorted Desecrations And Magnificent Mutations. The amazing compile features the Hummingbirds, Mark of Cain, Vanilla Chainsaws and the Shrinking Violets with this cover of the Sunnyboys classic Love to Rule. We end this set with a track from the ongoing concern that is Even As We Speak. Majestic pop at its very best, reunited in 2017 and releasing their latest LP Adelphi in 2020, this is the lead track from their 1990 EP on Phantom entitled Outgrown This Town (you can find this track and a host of others on their 2005 compile on Egg Records called A Three Minute Song Is One Minute Too Long, which nicely summarises the band and their catalogue!

Sold – Bhagavad Guitars
Sleeping Dogs – Bhagavad Guitars

Two tracks from Sydney/Canberra band, the Bhagavad Guitars. Released on the Red Eye label, they released a few EPS, and the LPs of poppy, kind of psychy songs in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Featuring another member of the Kilbey family (John this time), we play two tracks from two different Eps released in 1988, Sleeping Dogs from Everglades and Sold from Headland. Both those Eps (confusingly) were brought together on the Foreverglades compile of 1990

War- Altar ego
Kid Octane – Hoi Polloi

Two pretty random tracks up now. We start with a 1983 proto pop track from Altar Ego, recorded in Sydney in 1983. Despite a few singles and a 1987 LP, there is not much I can find out about the band. Happy to learn any lessons from the assembled masses. Hoi Polloi on the other hand have a bit more meat on the bone. This 1984 single was produced by legendary producer, guitarist and performer Lobby Lloyde. The band itself featured several members who went onto other bands including the Vindaloonies and performing with the Hoodoo Gurus.