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. We dig deep into the dusty boxes and pull out some incredibly rare singles, some loud smashing guitars courtesy of X, knob twiddling by Rob Younger and the multiple incarnations of Spencer P Jones.

We start with three tracks all connected by the legendary punk citizens that are X. We start with a track from Ian Rilen’s last LP recorded in 2006 called Passion Boots & Bruises released on Bang! Records in Spain. Next up, Melbourne punk band Dollsquad get down and dirty with Steve Lucas from their 2010 LP Lethal in Leather, with this cut also produced by Steve. Finally we have X, from their 1985 record, At Home with You and Oxford Street Nick, recorded with the most popular X line-up (Rilen, Lucas and drummer Cathy Green)

I Dare Ya – Ian Rilen and the Love Addicts
He’s My Thing – Dollsquad with Steve Lucas
Oxford Street Nick – X

Three tracks produced by Radio Birdman pipesman Rob Younger in 1989. We start with Sydney punk band Hellmenn and their debut single called Blubber Soul released on Waterfront. Releasing a handful of LPs and Eps, the Hellmenn are seriously underrated as this pop classic attests. Next up, the Horny Toads from the 1989 EP Wired and the lead track. A cool garage band originally from Brisbane and relocating to Sydney, the Toads released this EP and one LP in their short career. Finally, we Toys Went Berserk. It’s hard to describe how good this band were. Starting off on the classic Aberrant label, the band combined 1980s UK pop sensibility, with a punk undertone matched with whip smart song writing. This track comes from their 1989 EP of the same name. You could do far worse than to find some of their stuff or get the awesome compile The Bitter & The Sweet – Best & Rarest ‎on CD.

Daydreaming – Hellmenn
O.P Love – The Horny Toads
Have no More – Toys Went Berserk

Let’s get all cold and new wave now. Three tracks featuring the talents of Ash Wednesday. We have featured his ‘pop’ band Crashland on the show this year. Now we play three tracks that showcase the more experimental side of the canon. We start with production works, the very new wave sound of Karen Marks and Cold Café. Released on the Astor label in1981, this extraordinary example of Australian minimal wave should be held up in more esteem than it is (although original copies go for $500 plus). The amazing Efficient Space label have put out a compile of everything released by Marks through Bandcamp. Next up, from the LP Multiple Choice by the Metronomes we have an Ash Wednesday track which also features Karen marks on vocals, released in 1981. Lastly, an Ash Wednesday solo single released o Big Dwarf Music in 1980. You can track a copy down on an compile of Ash Wednesday solo stuff as well as the critical ‘Can’t Stop It” compile of Australian post-punk.

Cold Café – Karen Marks
Ballad of the Metronome – The Metronomes
Love by Numbers – Ash Wednesday

Four songs linked in style to the C86 sound from the UK. So named after a cassette compilation released by the NME in 1986, C86 became the byword for jangling power pop. These four bands all have been generally associated with the C86, though in no formal way, just a nice way to bring together four pretty obscure tracks together to share with you. Released in 1986, this debut single by Bell Jar (featuring Raoul Graf) was followed by several LPs and EPs, including one on the major Festival label. Love and Squalor released this one 7” on the EMI Custom label (the very last single to be released on this prestigious house label) in 1986. Red Ochre break the trend and come from 1988 with this tracks off their debut single featuring Ken Gormley later of the Cruel Sea on bass. And finally back to 1986 and the Yapocks off their Whizzzz Bang Yoww EP and a track called Passionfruit Creek. This band was a side project of the second incarnation of Tactics. C86!

Run and Run – Bell Jar
Swap – Love and Squalor
In the city when it rains – Red Ochre
Passionfruit Creek – Yapocks

And last but not least, we have four tracks from the late great Spencer P Jones, spread across the decades. We with a track from the 2001 release ‘The Lost Anxiety Tapes’ recorded with the band Cow Penalty. Next up a 2013 release with Kim Salmon of the Scientists (et al) and the LP Runaways released on the Basque Bang! Label. The Johnny’s from the 1986 LP Highlights of a Dangerous Life saw the release of this amazing slice of Australian cow punk (and a much deserved top 50 appearance and a story in TV Week) and finally from the most recent Beasts record (2019 Still Here), the last track involving Spencer and the band before he died and a meditative blues track clearly about his experiences in and out of hospitals.

My Week is Better – Spencer P Jones
A Bitter Projection – Kim Salmon and Spencer P Jones
(There’s gonna be a) Showdown – The Johnnys
At the Hospital – The Beasts