With a table-clearing smash of Who-like power chords, Radio Birdman grandly announced that they were back in the game from the very first track—the appropriately titled "We've Come So Far (to Be Here Today)"—on 2006's Zeno Beach (Yep Roc), the legendary Australian band's first album of new material in a quarter-century. Historically the group has been led by guitarist/chief songwriter/Navy pilot/doctor/token Michigander Deniz Tek, but the other members made significant contributions to Zeno Beach alongside Tek's trademark riff-twister "Locked Up" and the blurrily exotic drone "Die Like April," including keyboardist Pip Hoyle's enigmatic epic reverie "The Brotherhood of Al Wazah" and the icy chimes of singer Rob Younger's "Subterfuge." (Full disclosure: I played guitar when Younger did two solo shows on the West Coast back in 2003.) Once Birdman started in Sydney in 1974, they became the missing link between '60s garage rock and the sullen chaos of the Stooges (Tek and Younger even collaborated with the Stooges' Ron Asheton in the short-lived supergroup New Race in 1981), practically inventing punk rock with their distant Oztralian relations the Saints and the Ramones.
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