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We recorded and produced the album with the Pound System at (their own) Bustin' Up Studios in Melbourne, in June 2000.
Produced by Woody, The Rev and Screamfeeder. Released on Shock Records / The Hypnotized Label on October 30th 2000.
Also included with the album was a second disc containing our previous two singles and all their b sides.
Re mastered by Bryce Moorhead, Brisbane, June 2015 for the Poison City records vinyl re-release. The vinyl edition includes the extended 27 song download.
All songs written and performed by Tim Steward, Kellie Lloyd and Dean Shwereb, with The Rev on Keys, Guitars and Samples, and Leo Mullins, Ollie Brown and Brendan Webb on backing vocals.
All original artwork by Denis Leadbeater - additional images by Gene Cox and M Bavestrelli. Band photo by Sophie Howarth. Layout by Tim Steward.Buy This Release
2015 Press release
“Whether you want the depravity of the post-punk noise, the sweetness of a soothing pop song, or something in between, on Rocks on the Soul they deliver. I'll give this an A-“. (In Music We Trust)
Throughout the 1990’s, Australian music in the post-grunge area exploded in popularity, fuelled by the excitement of the new punk DIY ethos and the sheer excitement of independent, non-corporate bands making thrilling new sounds.
Screamfeeder rode that surging wave, producing four acclaimed albums, enjoying significant airplay and touring relentlessly. Things were looking pretty good.
But by 1999 Screamfeeder found themselves backed into a corner by their American record label at the time, being legally prevented from recording a follow-up album to their 1996 smash Kitten Licks.
The covers EP Home Age had filled the gap, but the band were sitting on an ever-increasing pile of diverse new songs. In the end, they found a way to opt out of the disastrous contract and arrangements were promptly made for a recording session in the winter of 2000.
The studio and producers were an odd choice, a discreet office location in Melbourne’s South Yarra owned by electronic duo The Pound System. It turned out to be perfect - Woody and The Rev could hear new potential for the band’s trademark male-female vocal interplay, sweet yet bruising guitar lines and never-sitting-still song structures.
Together the team proceeded to deconstruct Screamfeeder’s approach while exploring the possibilities offered by the then- new Pro Tools digital recording platform.
It was a bold move; it would have been too easy to make ‘Kitten Licks II’, but instead the band turned a sharp corner and produced a quite-unexpected album.
The songs are sprawling and hyper-melodic, layered, edited and experimented with. Vocals are lush and the melodies emphasised, drum beats are looped and hypnotic. This was the sound of a band confident enough with their songs that it didn’t matter the sonic tangents they took off on.
“…At the time, it sounded like it was too good for a band from Brisbane, which is never true — of anywhere — but that’s how Screamfeeder made me feel. I was excited by it. It was probably the last time I felt truly shocked by what a Brisbane band was capable of. Now everyone knows.” (Ian Rogers)
Tim came up with the album title, a play on The Isley Bros ‘60s LP Soul on the Rocks. The album alienated some of the more change-resistant fan base, while engaging with a whole new one, who were captivated by Kellie’s epic Stopless, or the quasi space-age Above The Dove. Dean explored the local area and added his field recordings to some of the songs, notably If You Lived Here.
Finally released in October 2000 through Shock Records, the album was a masterful return to form, showcasing a set of songs that quite clearly raised the bar, from the first notes of masterpiece Stopless to the emotive closer, Close Again. If there’d been any doubt about the band’s ability to survive the industry travails, Rocks On The Soul proved them all wrong.
And here we are in 2015. Exactly 15 years later and Rocks On The Soul remains a pre-shoegaze-comeback gem. The songs and ideas are at once confident and assured, but never cocky, with Screamfeeder’s naiveté and wide-eyed wonder and love of the music they were creating shining through.
The Blurb, from 2000
Here's our new album, it's called "ROCKS ON THE SOUL"! Two words which are very ambiguous and loaded with meaning in every direction, which is something we like very much over here at feeder HQ. It's been 4 years since we released our last full length thing, "KITTEN LICKS". The first two years after that were spent touring our asses off and releasing singles ("Hi Cs" and "Triple Hook", which are both included in this package along with all their b sides) and our 10 song covers EP "Home Age". The next two were spent wrestling with overseas record companies, lawyers and accountants. Very un-rock. We've been in the ring, gloves off, and it weren't too pretty.
Anyway, one day when we were feeling as though we'd never be allowed to go and record an album ever again we went to meet Woody and The Rev, the Pound System lads! Two hours later we had their studio booked for a month, the budget sorted and approved and we were all ready to get amongst it. It was the first time we were to have the pleasure of working with producers as such; we'd always hired someone to record our albums, (and always been satisfied) but never felt compelled to credit them with production. Everyone expected the beat - crazy Pound System to completely techno-fy us.. They DIDN'T!! they acted like two completely mature and sensible gentlemen, recorded our songs for us, very well, offered their opinions on certain musical angles, (as well as telling us that a lot of our parts had "too many notes" or had "more chords than a Levis factory"). Anyway there ain't a scratching noise or a doof beat in sight. Sure we used loops and filters, but it was all completely in the context of Screamfeeder music.
The Pound System rocked! It was awesome fun recording with them, the smoothest and most inspiring session ever. We were confident enough to be pointed in a new direction and more than ready to be completely taken apart and put back together again in a different way. It felt right, and timely to do that. We're happy with the direction they pointed us in, and it feels nice to be re-assembled all over again! It was good to have a new focus, to come in from a new angle. We're steeped in our own past, but not weighed down by it, quite the opposite.. we found we could completely refresh ourselves and our sound with someone else's influence, and create something outside of any pre-existing genre or set of internal or external rules. We got a ton of caffeine and tobacco on board and did just that. Quite simply, to quote king Woody "we've made a fuckin' RECORD!"
Stopless: Kellie bares her soul and her fears become strengths. Woody assembled this song, Dean sat back and nodded.
if I’m talking in past tense / I have lived a charmed existence / now that change is in the air / another force that we’ll compare / I thought at times I’d been enlightened / to tell the truth I’d become frightened / by all the things I’ve never learned / and all the energy I’d burned / on all those stupid boys that I thought / were worth my time and I would die for / I’d lose my head and when my heart felt / I’d add to my life’s list of disappointment / he sounded good on the phone / I’d walk at night on my own / I knew that it was worth it / and I’d never have to do it again / I’ve been having weird dreams again / I just wanna have the one where I win / all the times they’ve said this job’s for you / some dss guy wouldn’t have a clue / of what I will achieve in my life / it’s not some 9-5 thing or a house wife / not that any of those things are bad / it’s just never been a dream the I’ve had / I’ve got a dark ambition in me / I will be independent and free / and all the stupid things I’ve done / i’ll never have to do them again
Domino: We wrote this in Kellie's kitchen at Taringa, before she moved to Toowong, before she moved to Bardon. It's a fun song, so simple it's hard to believe, and very hard to remember how to play.
domino, domino / didn’t want to let you know / didn’t have to undergo / should have watched the undertow / realised you’d never know / domino, domino / try to recognise the slow / always go against the flow / I would always be shallow / I could never be like domino, domino
Above the Dove: The aliens ain't coming to save our souls, sorry everybody. Our first single from the record.
we’ve got an intergalactic invasion on our hands / don’t call security because they won’t understand / the doves are nesting in the floodlights on the field / they don’t want to miss the action darkness might conceal / aliens take positions in our libraries one by one / they unwrite our history books with their little laser guns / as we’re deleted word by word it becomes clear / future’s exploded because our past has disappeared / knowing there’s a sign to say they’ll take you when they leave / wearing shirts that proudly state that we believe / confident the continent will surely hear the word / the call’s been made and all the passengers have heard / going to a place where they can walk the streets with pride / the insect world is packed and they all climb inside / the birds can learn to swim and all the fish will fly / above the dove in the safety of the sky / you won’t be proud, but you won’t be allowed / above the dove in the safety of the clouds
14 & 44: Our newest song, we finished it off the week before recording. Pure Rock WILL guide. (By pure coincidence the running time of the Above the Dove single is 14:44.)
on the corner at five to ten / you could have set me on fire again / the record's spinning slightly slow / I'm out of gear I'm feeling all set to implode / at the speed of sound everything's alright /don't feel so down at the speed of light / a restaurant window at four to eight / every move a second late / a clue to move a cue to stay / I never knew what time was meant to mean anyway / at the speed of sound everything's alright /don't feel so down at the speed of light / in a foreign car in a borrowed night / in a purer second pure rock will guide / wanna disappear right before your eyes / in a blinding flash of light I will vaporise / I got a ticket to ride I found a new way to glide / I got a sharp little knife for an invisible slice
Deletia: Woody thought it sounded like the Stone Roses, I've never even listened to them, neither has Kellie as far as I know. More soulful social commentary though.
I couldn’t see, pressed my face into the glass / transparency up to the sun betrays my past / chances are this has been a big mistake / I have learned to embrace the things I hate / it’s always been the same with you / your lies have always been see through /make lists of things you want to buy /plastic held up into the sky /I forgot what it’s like to write by hand / no one teaches us that glass is made of sand / I’ve trained myself to enjoy what I can’t taste / pre-determined to subconsciously erase / conditioning that will make us /discard the things we know won’t last /restrict what’s in your memory / pretend you don’t act randomly / this is the future purposely / non-interactive apathy / you’ll wait your turn so patiently / undoing your brain like tapestry / instant microwave train of thought /social behaviour is not taught to children who think nintendo’s sport / language and virus, one and naught / avoid your life
Metal Detector: Mixed this 'till 6 in the morning then flew to Sydney at 7.00 to master the record. Didn't feel too great. The Rev came through like a king with the atmospheric noises.
it was the calmest scene,it was the warmest sea / I could walk ankle deep it was like diamonds / I was lost in a dream of what was to come / I comb the land each day, scraping the sand away / metal detector’s running away with me / bottle caps sending me such a hum / I wrote the rules that say I don’t have to lift my gaze / there is a priceless treasure staring me in the face / and that just makes my work look dumb / so waves do not break for me, diamonds don’t wait for me / I will detect the key that opens the secret door / that’s going to take me from where nothing is mine
Olive: Can't start a fire. It smoulders for a long time though. Your soul is on the rocks.
started out easy, the kids are alright / they got a natural flavour / the bit is there to bite / I hate waiting, it takes such a long time / when I'm left out to dry / this one’s broken, I gotta get another one / can't start a fire / can't start a fire / is there a reason why your head is still on tight? / can you take your time to answer
I found out just in time about / the lies that we wrap around a family just to survive / and I'm left out to dry / even though I'm left out in the sun / I can't start a fire / can't start a fire.
Mr Tuba: I wrote this in the garden after watching a Sesame St animation about Mr Tuba, who joins the band but doesn't listen to what anyone else is playing. Everone's met someone like this. Dean went out and recorded street noise to go on the end of the song.
mr tuba your sound is beautiful and round but you don’t listen / the rest of the band are tired of only playing your tunes / you should stop being rude, and just be happy with what you’ve been given / a nice big bell an inspired section and a chair to sit on / small prickles grow into rosebushes / we can change anything we feel / how can we love a guy who pushes? / we won’t deny or can’t conceal / that we’re not going to grow to love your presence
If You Lived Here: We almost scrapped this song a year ago. Dean didn't know what to play even when the tape was rolling. Lucky he's so obedient. Kel went down to the station and got some more "field noises". A true "3 chord-er".
he knows it's not always out there / he slows, the song on the radio is always on for him / and she'll turn the light on for him / she knows it's safe to be sun-smart / sun screen's on special at k-mart / the summer's burning in, and she knows she's not long for this world / but you'd better be patient sister / if you lived here you'd be home now / water's been flavoured with fluoride / air hums with shiny black powerlines / the neighbourhood's electric / the reception is just pathetic / he makes his way down the motorway / he takes his hands off the steering wheel / the exit's gone, it won't be long / if you lived here you'd be home now
The Singer: I got to use my favourite Bitch Magnet songline in one of my songs after years of trying. The weirdest lyrics on the album, half serious, half funny, half silly, half abstract. A lot like the band really..
what kind of voice did the singer have? / who sang the songs from when you were five? / theme tunes were filling you with life / and words that really dance in your mind / and when you slept did you dream of me? / do I still own a set of keys? / and though that I was sleeping too / I know that I had dreams of you / I’ll tell you yours if you tell me mine / country slipped in my city mind / saw planes flying sideways in the sky / they’re navigating on a butter knife / is this a match we’re holding? / think I just felt a spark / secret language doesn’t need decoding / a maze a letter in the dark / how many misses have you hit bang on? / were you a target or a broken gun? / how many pisses have you ever done / and can you name your favourite one? / got a broken glass and a cloudy lens / got a bucket of bolts and a jar of pens.
Close Again: The surprise package. It ended up so long because it just got better and better. The crazy drums on the end are some mistakes of Dean's we'd pushed up to the far end of the screen where we thought the song would be over by. It reached all the way, over 10 minutes, so we left them on too. Probably the most fun song to record, it took on a life of its own.
so close today / i've been giving into my misconception / and living by your misdirection / crawling around my day / as changes fall through and tumble down / so close again / boredom whispers quietly restless / fidgeter’s fingers i have, i confess / here i lay / a grey hell / i've been awake in my sleep again / every crime is intertwined / for every one of your there's mine / faithless hope, a tight rope or some easy antidote / personal, chernobyl / like entertaining a black hole / entertain, don't explain / just a band-aid for your pain.
smiling stars and musical notes / I can’t read either / on hi cs I navigate by neither / can’t see a pattern forming
i know you’ve been banging his drum / I know so does everyone / talk’s cheap, but it’s never free / you shouldn’t trust your secrets with me / so thin that it doesn’t stink / stretching it on top of everything / even your smile hides a bitter tongue / I know what you’re talking about / rumours are getting around / talk low so nobody hears / your body language is loud and clear / is it hatemail that your’e sending? / is it a broken heart you’re mending? / is it your mother’s cash your spending? / is this your get away? / I know what you’re talking about / rumours are getting around / talk low so nobody hears / your body language is loud and clear / I know you’ve been banging his drum / I know so does everyone / talk’s cheap. this advice is free / don’t trust your secrets with me
sparks jump from less than all we have mentioned / bulbs don’t light from just good intentions / a million thoughts will just get ignored every second / lick my phone mouthpiece to colour in the gaps that you discover / taste my words before they’re deleted by others / minutes tap their fingers as their coffee takes a day / seconds dream of being years / where everything they say won’t be erased / used up all of your attention / the more I try the less you’re digesting / and time I lose, I guess I’m forgetting more every second, every second / big hand chews his nails ‘cos his coffee’s taking years / other hand’s impatient with the motion of the gears / minutes tap their fingers while their coffee takes a day / seconds dream of being years where everything they say won’t be erased
can anybody tell me if I've been talking in my sleep? / cos cocoons they cook at night while I dream / bad morning to the day when all your days become aligned / you be a passenger? / I'll be a meteor / you be a telescope / or be an astronaut / will you be planet bull or planet matador? / and nothing excites like when you were a child / and nothing seems to get you feeling wild / like planets we're attracted but we can't see the force / will you be a passenger? / or be a meteor / being a telescope / or be an astronaut / will you be planet bull or planet matador? / or planet matador? / or planet matador? / can anybody tell me if I've been talking in my sleep? are the rings that run around me charging in? / and I wake up to find that all my worlds have been aligned