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 e celebrate the smell and touch of long lost vinyl gems.
Welcome to Wide Open Road. It is a long-running Australian independent and alternative music podcast, playing the best of the Australia indie scene from its nascent beginnings right through the glory days of the 1980s, 1900s and into the new century. This show has been banging around since 2011 and is produced by Peter Bryant, originally from his adopted home of NW5 in London and now back proudly from the glory that is CB-City here in Sydney, NSW, Australia. 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.
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 and 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. 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.
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).