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 share another slab of the heavier side of the ledger, this time focusing on the late eighties and early nineties. Be prepared for sludge, distortion, loud, loud, loud guitars, dark lyrics and the Cosmic Psychos.

We start two tracks on legendary indie labels. The first is Sydney punks Box of Fish with a track from their only EP, released on Method Records in 1985. We follow that with Examplehead, on the Aberrant label released in 1989 on the LP Powertools. This brilliant LP (which is very underrated IMHO) was produced by the Celibate Rifles axeman Kent Steedman.


What are Men’s Fears? – Box of Fish

Ordinary Madness – examplehead

Four tracks from Victoria and one from South Australia now. We start with the deep, bass heavy GOD led by Joel Silbersher (who went onto to form Hoss and play with Tex Perkins, more of him later). Formed in Melbourne in 1985 GOD released a small clutch of singles and two LPs on Au Go Go. These two tracks are the opening blasts from their last LP recorded in 1989 called ‘For Lovers Only’. Check out the romantic dinner on the sleeve art. Next up is two cuts from the great Bored! Formed in Geelong around Dave Thomas (with members leaving to form bands like the Powder Monkeys) Bored released consistently great chunks of rock and roll until they disbanded in 1993. Dave Thomas (who sadly passed away last year) was also a member of Magic Dirt) and co-produced their early EPs) and recorded the underrated Tiger by the Tail LP on Spanish label Bang! In 2005. Two tracks here, we have Human Being from the 1988 debut EP and a cover of the Saints classic released on a compile of rare Bored tracks called Scuzz, also on the Bang! Label. Vale Dave. We end with the madness that is Grong Grong, Adelaide’s ‘noise terrorists’ according Ian McFarlane, playing swampy, dark, psychotic no wave, this posthumous LP was released on Alternative Tentacles (the label formed by former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra) in 1986.

Gunk – GOD

Headin’ for the ID – GOD

Human Being – Bored

Erotic Neurotic – Bored

Grong Grong – Grong Grong

Three noisy entries to the show now, we start with our only entry into the seventies with original post-punk noise merchants, the Slugfuckers. I wanted to play this on the last punk show but couldn’t fund the LP compile of their incredibly rare first two singles, but here it is in all its glory. Loud, brash and very post punk. Next up, Lubricated Goat. We have played plenty of the Goat on the show and I won’t try and summarise the band here, it just won’t do it justice. Suffice to, this is a from the 1989 EP on Black Eye called Schadenfreude. Next up we have a track from the aforementioned Tex Perkins, in his Tex Deadly and the Dum Dums phase and a track from a 1983 compile called Leaving Home For The Party On The Roof and a track called Crazy.

Cacophony – Slugfuckers

Magumbo Head – Lubricated Goat

Crazy – Tex Deadly and the Dum Dums

How could you have a punk show without the Hard-Ons. Punchbowls finest continue to this day playing their brand of fun, hard and sometimes incredibly loud punk. Two tracks here, an album track from the 1988 LP Dickcheese recorded on Waterfront. And then their version of the Stooges classic 1970 from the Hard to beat compile of Australian bands covering the Stooges. 1970 of course is the song where Deniz Tek misheard the lyric and took the name of his band Radio Birdman (the actual lyric is Radio burnin’ up above, close enough)

Something About You – Hard-Ons

1970 – Hard-Ons

Fun Again – Massappeal

Foxy Lady – Hellmenn

Next up, not much connection here, just two great tracks both on Waterfront. We start with Massappeal, hardcore punk legends from Sydney. Releasing four albums and a handful of singles, including the magnificent Jazz LP on waterfront, this band shook rooms and blew speaker cones for nearly ten years. This track comes from their 1987 7” released also on Waterfront. Sticking with the Waterfront label, we have the Hellmenn, who we played on the show a few months back, were from the Northern Beaches of Sydney and peddled their unique brand of skate/thrash punk, with this track from 1988 being almost the total opposite with their cover of the Hendrix classic from the Bastard Sons Of 10,000,000 Maniacs! EP.

Can you see now? – The Mark of Cain

Decadence – Cosmic Psychos

These two bands probably couldn’t be more different. We start with the debut single of the Mark of Cain released in 1988 on the Phantom label, Mark of Cain went onto record several critical records of hard rock as well as contributing a great cover of the X classic Degenerate Boy to the Idiot Box soundtrack. And then we have the Cosmic Psychos, lunacy and bogan punk played with serious intent. Formed in the mid 80s, this track comes from the debut album released in 1987.

Gotta Get Out – Mudrac

Motorbike Girl – feedtime

Two last tracks to finish this show up. Mudrac only came to my attention a few months ago when I picked this single up on Discogs. Sounding very much like an Aussie Kyuss, this sludgefest was released on Messiah Complex based in Canberra. They did record one EP for Phantom but it seems it never made it past the five test pressings. I don’t have one of those! And we end with feedtime, lauded by punks everywhere (so much so they had a deluxe Sub Pop reissue of all their LPS in a box set a few years back). This comes from their 1989 LP Suction released om Rough Trade and Aberrant. All I can say is that if you love punk, and you haven’t heard of feedtime, prepare for your mind to get blown.  They came back a few years ago and did a marathon show at the Marrickville RSL spread across three sets. Insane.