Wednesday, May 23, 2007

TWO STEAMROLLERS FROM fEEDTIME

There was this compilation of mostly current Australian punk & art/noise I bought in the mid-80s called “WHY MARCH WHEN YOU CAN RIOT?”, and it was a mind-expander for several reasons. First, it featured three tracks from the Australian band X that are among the greatest punk rock songs ever recorded – “Hate City”, “Home Is Where The Floor Is” and “TV Cabaret Roll”. If you think “X-ASPIRATIONS” is a masterpiece, and I do – these tracks are even better. I’m going to post all three in an upcoming entry.

Alongside debut recordings from the HARD-ONS (whoopee) and lesser lights, there were also two tracks from Sydney’s fEEDTIME that blew me and many others clean away. fEEDTIME (the small f is deliberate) were a trio who played a propulsive, mechanical, wicked-fast, sometimes bluesy punk rock, sounding like a band of the 21st Century who just happened to be stuck in the 20th. I’d never heard anything like them before, and still haven’t since. A lot of us in the United States took notice pretty quickly, and they got a US distribution deal for their LPs, which were all over the place for a while there in the late 80s. Forced Exposure magazine were a particularly enthusiastic proponent. Me, I thought the LPs were good, but spotty and uneven. In 1987 a 45 came out with new versions of the two songs that were on “Why March When You Can Riot” – “Don’t Tell Me / Small Talk”. They were good, just not as powerful and angry & weird as the ones from the 1985 comp that I’m posting for you today. Listening to them now makes me want to dig out the fEEDTIME records for a reappraisal. Anyone have an opinion on how they’ve held up? In the meantime, here’s what I still think were the band’s finest moments.

Play or Download fEEDTIME – “Don’t Tell Me”
Play or Download fEEDTIME – “Small Talk”

(both from 1985 “WHY MARCH WHEN YOU CAN RIOT?” compilation LP)

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think the first LP holds up really well; "Suction" is pretty good; "Cooper-S" is a hoot (all covers) and probably the easiest to find nowadays. I never warmed to "Shovel." I really liked the reunion record, "Billy," when it came out but haven't listened to it in a long time.
"Why March When You Can Riot," is on CD with a couple of other Aberrant comps. And speaking of CDs, I have a CD with the first fEEDTIME and "Suction," on it that I plan to part with - interested parties can email the last name below @earthlink.net

Chris Selvig

Anonymous said...

Agreed on those X tracks - about as good as anthemic punk ever got. Love the first LP, too (and think the second one has some good moments).

As for feedtime, I like the first two LPs all the way through and think they're genius (and even better than the two tracks you have here). Cooper S is probably the best covers LP of the punk era (or maybe Killdozer's). Suction was spotty. Billy was OK as a comeback album, but it's easily their worst moment (sounds plodding/leaden to me)." Overall, I listen to Shovel the most, surprised Chris never warmed to it, because that's one of my favorite records, period.

-trickknee

Anonymous said...

THanks for the post & the downloads. Have to disagree about about the "spotty and uneven" comment but that's your head space not mine. When I hear the first album it still feels like I've been grabbed by the balls and dragged down the street, just like the first X album - very intense, very immediate. Incidently the 2nd X album At Home With You has been reissued with extra material. Go on folks do yourself a favour - you need it just as much as X-Aspirations.
Oh there was/is? talk of an Australian label reissuing the feedtime material as well as other material of theirs. The years roll by, we can but sit and wait til whatever digit is extracted.
D

Dave said...

Dropkick is going to do some sort of a Feedtime complete-recordings box set some time this decade. There's been delays for various reasons. Jay, I must take umbrance w/ your claim that their albums were "uneven": the first two are stone-dead classics, like nothing else from Australia or elsewhere. I only saw the band once, back in '95 or '6 when they reformed for their last album, and they were insanely powerful for a three piece (my brother was lucky enough to see them back in high school during their peak period in the mid/late '80s several times. What a bragger...).

Now... The Hard-Ons... it may seem hard to believe as an American, but back in the '80s The Hard-Ons were considered the ABSOLUTE BEES' KNEES by pretty much EVERY rock 'n' roll hipster from down under, the absolute SAVIOURS of post-Birdman/Saints/Birthday Party underground rock. The fact that they've stuck around WAAAY past their use-by date has possibly sullied their rep w/ many (inc. myself), though I shan't ever forget what a fucking AMAZING band they were live and on record during their peak period in the '80s. Especially when they first broke thru ('84 or so), Aussie underground rock basically came in about 3 different and not very tasty flavours: bad mohawke Brit-punk; '60s mop-top revivalists; post-Birthday Party pretentious drug addicts. OK, that's simplifying it - there were other fine bands around - but the Hard-Ons were the first Australian band to play a US-derived HC/surf-punk w/ a local flavour and DO IT SO WELL. The Kids - inc. myself - LOVED 'em for it. Ahem... there is my brief defence for the glory years of The Hard-Ons.

Jay said...

Regarding Feedtime, I know I was a big fan of the first album and the covers album when they came out, but the more I listened to them in the 90s the less I enjoyed them. Too many samey-sounding songs – a total blood-rushing whoosh of a sound for sure, but not enough variation or drop-dead excitement for me. Regarding the Hard-Ons, well, I was a big fan in my late teens as well, but then, “funnypunk” went over better when I was still a relative kid. The Australian punk/garage underground that they were on the vanguard of around 1986-88 was actually really popular here in the US – Celibate Rifles, New Christs, even the “Spunk Bubbles” and “I Spit On Your Gravy”. I don’t think I could handle any of it these days, but you never know.

maintain said...

it`s not fEEDTIME & it`s certainly not FEEDTIME ... it`s feedtime & don`t you fuckwits forget it . the only aust 80`s bands that came anywhere close to feedtime for originality creativity & brutal physical agressive playing was venom p stinger & fungus brains , the hard-ons & all that other u.s. copy cat pop punk crap are not even in the same race & anyone who says different can go & get well & truly fucked ... you pathetic wankers

Dave said...

Wooaaah! TOUGH GUY!

Anonymous said...

the feedtime 2cd comp on dropkick is nearly ready. final stages of mastering. includes the four complete aberrant lps and most of the 45s and comp tracks. a few things will have to be left out unfortunately.

from talking to rick and others who saw them i get the impression they had a very tight knit group of outsiders and weirdos, quite apart from the hip weirdness of sydney at the time. talk of music is never in terms of blues or punk, but in terms of physical volume and generating suction. the blood rush is precisely what it was all about.

rich.

Anonymous said...

Fuck you, Rich - get yer ass in gear & finish this project. Pronto!

-trickknee

Martin said...

Thanks, always good to hear Feedtime! I don't know these tracks and they're classic Feedtime. I got their first LP after reading about them in FE and I think it still sounds great, really raw with a great feel. 'Suction' is more tuneful but not as striking. Really excited to hear about the CD reissue! Cheers!

Lemon said...

all hail the concrete urban blues