Welcome to Wide Open Road.  This show has been banging around since 2011 and is produced by Peter Bryant from his adopted home of NW5 in London.  The philosophy of Wide Open Road is simple.  Celebrate the greatest Australian music, unearth the rare and the brilliant, keep the music alive and make the audience part of the traditions and communities that define and live the sounds. It is the vinyl beat in the heart of the antipodean digital jungle.  From the visceral dark twangs to the pumping psych and garage beats, Australian music is a unique microcosm of indie, punk, post punk, dark, experimental pop and rock that drew from and leached into so many other scenes; from London, to New York, to Tokyo and across Europe.  With traditions dating back into the swinging sixties and reaching forward into artists that have exerted global impacts today, Australian music is a vital cog in the history of independent music.

London and Australian Music are bound together, through the Moodists squatting in Kentish Town heating beans on a candle, through to the Triffids ripping out the stage at the LSE and the Birthday Party cutting a dark swathe through underground venues, Australian bands have found fertile ground in the UK, bouncing back and forward illustrating and illuminating each respective scene. These connections run deep and this show explores the influences, the patterns and development of Australian music as both a local and global phenomena.

The Show

Each one hour show is a carefully curated set-list, with selections of songs linked to each other, in sometimes deep, other times spurious ways.  The aim of this structure is to explore the hidden connections, the community and the influences that drove the creativity of the indie scene in the 80s and 90s and continue to inspire others globally today.  From singers that become producers that go onto to form bands that make songs sung loudly at parties, at gigs and between friends in the pub (see Rob Younger), these connections are organic, influential, exciting and sometimes unexplored, extending far beyond our island borders into other seminal scenes and genres.  Names like Nick Cave, the Go-Betweens, the Triffids and the Saints are intrinsically linked to Radio Birdman, Died Pretty, Screaming Tribesmen, Hard-ons and thousands of other unique 7″, EPs and LPs by a myriad of bands both known and unknown.  This show aims to bring them all to the fore to celebrate them and share with them with London, the UK and the wider community.  We called the show Wide Open Road for one reason, and it’s not that complex.  It is one of the best and most passionate songs written in Australia.  It is a scream of the real.  As Dave McComb, the lead singer and songwriter of the Triffids says it, ‘I yelled my insides out at the sun at the Wide Open Road’.

Who is your host?

I am an award winning radio producer and host, originally from Sydney, Australia, now living and breathing in London. I have been making Australian music radio shows for nearly 20 years, mainly on Triple R in Sydney until I moved to the UK in 2009.  Since 2011, I have been making Wide Open Road as a podcast for a growing audience of locals and expats, developing and shaping the format, connecting with artists and fans from across the globe. I have worked to build a website community that promotes Australian bands playing live across Europe, engages in community development betweens fans and bands, provides everyone with a chance to celebrate their favourite Australian tracks as part of our ‘top 5’ page and become a repository of videos, songs, news and information about what we play on the show.  It is an interactive, engaged community that grows every month and with every new show (there are over 30 shows in the archive currently).  I am also an active DJ, playing everything from Australian music to the unique sounds of French garage, psych freakbeat and ye-ye.

My Story

I started listening to Australian music in the early 1980s, not realising that many of things I liked were actually cool and indie and displayed proudly next to my Elton John collection (my brother had the first Saints record, early Skyhooks, Radio Birdman, AC/DC). I promoted and organised gigs for bands in the mid 80s, putting on shows at my high school in Dundas, NSW, which included Pat Drummond and the Dynamic Hepnotics (I won’t mention all the bands I rejected as inappropriate for a suburban Catholic school!)

Despite no apparent singing voice, I was sometimes heard hollering songs by the Angels, Radiators and the Screaming Tribesmen at band rehearsal (I had the Peter Grant role of manager in this instance) when the singer was away smoking durries. In 1989 I discovered the Hummingbirds, the Clouds and the Falling Joys and it all clicked into place. Thousands of singles, LPs and CDs and many moons crate digging later, I am here. Wide Open Road is my love song to Australia, as it looks to me from 16,500km away. I now makes music myself so that I can add further to the grand tradition of Australian music (find it here).  But what has never changed is my love and passion for this unique scene, my desire to share it with those who remember it, those who want to hear it for the first time and those who never knew it existed (or that it was even Australian).

The top 5
Like any great radio show, there has to be top 5’s. We are no different, although we are asking you for your top 5 Australian songs which we will feature on the Top 5 page over the next few months. So, being the gracious host, let me start with my top 5 Australian songs in no particular order.

A. Wide Open Road by the Triffids

Simply one of the most painful and heartbreaking songs ever written. It is Australia, it is love, it is loss, it is anguish, all represented by a lyric personal and the shot of an old Ford spewing out dust on a desert road. The end.

B. Blush by the Hummingbirds

I bought this record from Grace Bros in the city the day it came out after seeing this song, ‘You’re in a Mess’ by the Falling Joys and Souleater by the Clouds played in sequence on Rage late one night. An amazing 3 minutes of pop/rock, power-popped into shape by legendary producer Mitch Easter, that sums up Australian indie for me. In one three minute burst. Talk to me, don’t talk to me, please.

C. Cattle and Cane by the Go-Betweens

This could have been any number of tracks by this band. Hundreds really. Well, actually, it couldn’t. They have a catalogue of stunning tracks, crowned by this single jewel. It was one, without a doubt, of the saddest moments as a fan of Australian music, when I heard Grant has died. I found myself I mourning the loss of someone I never would have known except for this angelic, amazing voice. Cattle and Cane deserves to be held in an esteem reserved for National Treasures. And they are.

D. Sweet and Sour by the Takeaways

This fictional band was the very first Australian music I ever obsessed over. I had the LP, the single, the t-shirt and the poster. I read all the credits and for the first time heard the names Deborah Conway, Johanna Piggot, Mark Callaghan, Dave McComb and so many more. Everything I knew about Australian music was shaped from this TV show. And I LOVED Sandra Lillingston 🙂

E. The Band has Broken Up by Modern Giant

This track is much more recent, but one of the most evocative pieces of spoken word ever committed to tape. It is the nineties for me. It is the life I lived. It is the life I wanted to live. It represents what my youth was and that the past tense is now the term that needs to be used. As Simon Gibson says ‘…there was little hope of going back’