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 loud feedback drenched wail of guitars, the smash crash of dusty grooves and the loud and fast flashbacks of memory that we celebrate the Aussie punk in all its glory.  Yup, not much to link this together, just some heavy, punky classics from across a bloodstained country, centred on the 1970s and early 1980s. So, this week, not much to write. This has been done fare better by writers like Ian McFarlane, so just some track names, some dates and some cities (and maybe how to get these classic tracks)


Task Force (Undercover Cops – Razar
Pig City – Parameters
Burning – Just Urbain
Savage – Fun Things


Let’s start with three from Brisbane, and the seal is broken by the amazing Task Force (Undercover Cops) from 1978, released on the legendary Able Label by Brisbane band Razar. Next up the book that gave its name to Andrew Stafford’s amazing history of Brisbane punk, Pig City by the Parameters released in 1984 on Sundown Records. Next in this bracket we Just Urbain also from Brisbane and the lead track from their stupidly rare first single released in 1979. It was reissued by 540 records in 2010 and this version is much easier to find! And then we have the Fun Things, featuring Brad Shepard from the Hoodoo Gurus and his brother Murray who played in Screaming Tribesmen amongst many others and their 1980 debut EP (which featured the classic When the Birdmen Flew).


Dirty Lies – News
Psycho-Analyst – Johnny Dole and the Scabs
New World in the Morning – Suicide Squad
In Tune with Living – Positive Hatred


We start with Melbourne’s anti-nuclear classic from News called Dirty Lies, released in 1978. This has been reissued to death including a great version on Buttercup Records. Next up we have Johnny Dole and the Scabs from Sydney. I first heard this band on the Aberrant Records compile called Why March When You Can Riot?! I don’t think it was ever properly released as a single, but you can find copies of the compile pretty easily.  Also found on an Aberrant compile (Not So Humdrum) is Wollongong band Suicide Squad, this cover of the Roger Whittaker soft pop classic I reckon was recorded in that 1979 maybe early 1980 period. I love this cover. And then we have Positive Hatred from 1981/82 and their classic In Tune with Living. They went onto to become Happy Hate me Nots. I think Paul Berwick has something about hate?


I only Panic When There’s Nothing To Do – The Leftovers
Baby Come Back – The Survivors
New Trends – Young Identities


Back to Brisbane and the classic 1979 single by the Leftovers (b/w Cigarettes and Alcohol). Authentic as fuck. And another in the same vein, from 1979 and the Survivors sole single on the Suicide (produced by mark Moffat from the Monitors!) And finally more snotty Brisbane punk from the band Young identities and their 1980 EP, also reissued by 540 records.


Hanging On – Rocks
Disco Tek Wreck – The Chosen Few
Dowanna Love – Babeez


From their 1978 EP called “You’re So Boring”, Sydney band Rocks and Hanging On (I love the name of the lead singer of this band Bill Posters, so punk). Melbourne band, the Chosen Few put out a 7” in 1978 called The Jokes on Us, recorded in a studio in Smith Street, Collingwood

which featured this classic allegedly about Radio Birdman guitar legend Deniz Tek. They swear, a lot in this track. Finally, another punk classic from Melbourne 1977 and the Babeez classic Dowanna Love. Comped to death, this track is great, with band going on to become the band News


Victory – Thought Criminals
Television Addict (Live) – Victims
Australia’s God – Black Chrome


From the 1980 LP Speed Madness and Flying Saucers come Sydney punk legends The Thought Criminals, owners of the legendary Doublethink Records and featuring Sydney music producer, manager and record executive Roger Grierson, the Thought Criminals were seditious in all the right ways, Find this on an amazing compile called Chrono-Logical as well. WA’s own Victims and their classic Television Addict, but LIVE recorded at Hernando’s Hideaway in Perth, Australia on 5th of Jan 1978 and released on Japanese vinyl in 2014. Oh yes, the lead singer is Dave Flick who is also known as Dave Faulkner of the Hoodoo Gurus. Adelaide punk from 1978. Released on Tomorrow Records, this is a great track whose lyrics still hold up today. Our God is Apathy!


L-I-E-S – The Saints
Lost and Found – The Saints
Brisbane (Security City) – The Saints


Did you think we would get through a punk show without the Saints? This is the blueprint for so much punk and alternative that went after it, both here and in the UK. We start with a version of L-I-E-S from the Scarce Saints compile, and originally featured on the UK EP This Perfect Day c/w L-I-E-S released in 1977. Next up, lost and found from 1978’s Eternally Yours LP, although I got this off a French compile called Prehistoric Songs released in 1981. And then we have a track from their 1978 final release with Ed Kuepper called Prehistoric Sounds.