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ROLLING BLACKOUTS COASTAL FEVER

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever return in 2022 with Endless Rooms, the Melbourne quintet's third album proper. Described by the band – comprised of Fran Keaney, Joe White, Marcel Tussie and brothers Tom Russo and Joe Russo – as them "Doing what we do best: chasing down songs in a room together", Endless Rooms stands as a testament to the collaborative spirit and live power of RBCF.

While initial ideas were traded online during long spells spent separated by lockdowns, the album was truly born during small windows of freedom in which the band would decamp to a mud-brick house in the bush around 2hrs north of Melbourne built by the extended Russo family in the 1970s.

There, its 12 tracks took shape, informed to such an extent by the acoustics and ambience of the rambling lakeside house that they decided to record the album there. The house also features on the album cover. For the first time, the band self-produced the record (alongside engineer, collaborator and old friend, Matt Duffy), creating their most naturalistic and expansive document yet. The result is a collection of songs permeated by the spirit of the place; punctuated by field recordings of rain, fire, birds, and wind.

"It's almost an anti-concept album," say the band. "The ‘endless rooms’ of the title reflects our love of creating worlds in our songs. We treat each of them as a bare room to be built up with infinite possibilities."

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Aaah, there's nothing quite as satisfying as a new RCBF album. Their latest definitely sounds like them, with the roaring angular guitar lines and post-punk vocal sneer but is somehow softened into a more crepuscular, thoughtful selection of pieces. It's by no means a mellow record, but their usual drive is tempered a little, and all the better for it. A lovely record.

TRACK LISTING

Pearl Like You
Tidal River
The Way It Shatters
Caught Low
My Echo
Dive Deep
Open Up Your Window
Blue Eye Lake
Saw You At The Eastern Beach
Vanishing Dots
Endless Rooms
Bounce Off The Bottom

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

Sideways To New Italy

    After years spent looking out at landscapes and loved ones and an increasingly unstable world, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have turned their gaze inward, to their individual pasts and the places that inform them, on their second full-length, Sideways to New Italy.

    Led by singer-songwriter-guitarists Tom Russo, Joe White and Fran Keaney, the guitar-pop five-piece returned home to Australia after the relentless touring schedule that came following their critically regarded 2018 debut Hope Downs. Feeling the literal and metaphorical ground under their feet had shifted, the band began grasping for something reliable. For Keaney, that translated into writing "pure romantic fiction" and consciously avoiding the temptation of angsty break-up songs, while Russo looked north to a "bizarre place" that captured the feeling of manufacturing a sense of home when his own had disappeared.

    The New Italy of the new album’s title is a village near New South Wales’ Northern Rivers – the area drummer Marcel Tussie is from. A blink-and-you'll-miss-it pit-stop of a place with fewer than 200 residents, it was founded by Venetian immigrants in the late-1800s and now serves as something of a living monument to Italians' contribution to Australia, with replica Roman statues dotted like alien souvenirs on the otherwise rural landscape. The parallels to the way the band attempted to maintain connections and create familiarity during their disorienting time on the road was apparent to Russo. "These are the expressions of people trying to find a home somewhere alien: trying to create a utopia in a turbulent and imperfect world."

    The record's geographic identity emerged from the band losing their grip on their own, whether that was through the pressure of touring, the dissolution of relationships, a frustrating distance from their daily lives – or some combination of all three – that came from being slingshotted all over the world, playing sold-out headline tours and festivals including Coachella, Governors Ball, Primavera Sound, All Points East, and Pitchfork Music Festival.

    The notion of crafting, in Russo’s words, “a utopia of where your heart’s from,” permeates Sideways to New Italy, in which early attempts at writing big, high-concept songs about The State of the World were abandoned in favor of love songs, and familiar voices and characters filter in and out, grounding the band's stories in their personal histories. There’s something comforting, too, in knowing the next time they’re buffeted from stage to stage around the world, they’ll be taking the voices of their loved ones with them, building a new totem of home no matter where they end up.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Darryl says: It’s been well documented that we love the sunshine rich sound of The Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever here at Piccadilly; two EOY Top 10 entries with 2018’s ‘Hope Downs’ and 2017’s mini-album ‘The French Press’ speaks for itself. And now the Australian quintet have returned with ‘Sideways To New Italy’, a superbly crafted and exceptionally well produced album that’s easily on par with their previous releases.

    Kicking off the album with the timeless “The Second Of The First” it’s clear that they’ve lost none of their songwriting wizardry, all the key RBCF elements are here; interlocking jangling guitars, pristine melodies, a driving rhythm section and hooks that’ll earworm their way around your head for months on end.

    Track after track of effortless sunkissed indie-pop follow including the standout “Cars In Space” where the intertwining triple guitars really hit their peak, layers upon layers of blissful golden soundz over an infectious motorik beat. This is RBCF at their best, where all five members click into a groove that you’ll never want to end.

    ‘Sideways To New Italy’ is the sound of a band that’s happy to be back in the confines of their studio again having spent around 18 months touring the world; finding warmth in the familiarity of their setting, but wiser for the adventures and tribulations that they’ve encountered so far. Here’s hoping the next album is just as good!

    TRACK LISTING

    The Second Of The First
    Falling Thunder
    She's There
    Beautiful Steven
    The Only One
    Cars In Space
    Cameo
    Not Tonight
    Sunglasses At The Wedding
    The Cool Change

    It's rare that a band's debut album sounds as confident and self-assured as Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever's Hope Downs. To say that the first full-length from the Melbourne quintet improves on their buzz-building EPs from the last few years would be an understatement: the promise those early releases hinted at is fully realized here, with ten songs of urgent, passionate guitar pop that elicit warm memories of bands past, from the Go-Betweens' jangle to the charmingly lo-fi trappings of New Zealand's Flying Nun label. But don't mistake Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever for nostalgists: Hope Downs is the sound of a band finding its own collective voice.

    The hard-hitting debut album is a testament to Rolling Blackouts C.F.’s tight-knit and hard-working bonafides. Prior to forming the band in 2013, singers/guitarists Fran Keaney, Tom Russo, and Joe White had played together in various garage bands, dating back to high school. When Rolling Blackouts C.F. started, with Joe Russo [Tom’s brother] on bass, Marcel [Tussie, Joe White's then-housemate] on drums, the chemistry was immediate. After a split EP with You Yangs (another Russo brother's band), released in the form of a frisbee, they self-released Talk Tight in 2015, which Sydney-based record label Ivy League gave a wider release the following year. Talk Tight garnered plaudits from critics, including legendary rock scribe Robert Christgau. In 2017, Sub Pop released The French Press EP, bringing the band's chugging and tuneful non-linear indie rock to the rest of the world as they settled into their sound with remarkable ease.

    Hope Downs was largely written over the past year in the band's Melbourne rehearsal room where their previous releases were also written and recorded. The band's core trio of songwriters hunkered down and wrote as the chaos of the world outside unavoidably seeped into the songwriting process. "We were feeling like we were in a moment where the sands were shifting and the world was getting a lot weirder. There was a general sense that things were coming apart at the seams and people around us were too,” Russo explains. The album title, taken from the name of a vast open cut mine in the middle of Australia, refers to the feeling of “standing at the edge of the void of the big unknown, and finding something to hold on to.”

    With the help of engineer/producer Liam Judson and his portable setup, the band recorded Hope Downs live, and co-produced ten guitar pop gems over the course of two weeks in Northern New South Wales during the winter of 2017. Hope Downs possesses a robust full-band sound that's all the more impressive considering the band's avoidance of traditional recording studios. If you loved Talk Tight and The French Press, you certainly won't be disappointed here—but you might also be surprised at how the band’s sound has grown. There's a richness and weight to these songs that was previously only hinted at, from the skyscraping chorus of “Sister's Jeans” to the thrilling climax of album closer “The Hammer.”

    Hope Downs is as much about the people that populate the world around us—their stories, perspectives, and hopes in the face of disillusionment—as it is about the state of things at large. It's a record that focuses on finding the bright spots at a time when cynicism all too often feels like the natural state. Rolling Blackouts C.F. are here to remind us to keep our feet on the ground—and Hope Downs is as delicious a taste of terra firma as you're going to get from a rock band right now.

    TRACK LISTING

    An Air Conditioned Man
    Talking Straight
    Mainland
    Time In Common
    Sister's Jeans
    Bellarine
    Cappuccino City
    Exclusive Grave
    How Long?
    The Hammer

    Rolling Blackouts C.F.

    The French Press

    In early 2016, the release of ‘Talk Tight’ put Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever on the map with glowing reviews from SPIN, Stereogum and Pitchfork, praising them as stand outs even among the fertile landscape of Melbourne music. Chock full of snappy riffs, spritely drumming and quick-witted wordplay, ‘Talk Tight’ was praised by Pitchfork “for the precision of their melodies, the streamlined sophistication of their arrangements, and the undercurrent of melancholy that motivates every note.”

    The band was born from late night jam sessions in singer / guitarist Fran Keaney’s bedroom and honed in the thrumming confines of Melbourne’s live music venues. Sharing tastes and songwriting duties, cousins Joe White and Fran Keaney, brothers Tom and Joe Russo and drummer Marcel Tussie started out with softer, melody-focused songs. The more shows they played, the more those driving rhythms that now trademark their songs emerged. Since then, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever rode that wave from strength to strength. Touring around the country on headline bills and festival slots all the way to BIGSOUND, the entrenched themselves with their thrilling live shows while prepping their next release.

    ‘The French Press’ levels up on everything that made ‘Talk Tight’ such an immediate draw. Multi-tracked melodies which curl around one another, charging drums and addictive basslines converge to give each track its driving momentum. Honed through their live shows, this relentless energy carries the record through new chapters in the band’s Australian storybook. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever’s songs have always had all the page-turning qualities of a good yarn and ‘The French Press’ is no different. Somewhere between impressionists and fabulists, lyricists Fran Keaney, Tom Russo and Joe White often start with something rooted in real life - the melancholy of travel on ‘French Press’, having a hopeless crush on ‘Julie’s Place’ - before building them into clever, quick vignettes. The result is lines blurred between fiction and reality - vibrant stories which get closer at a particular truth than either could alone.

    Blending critical insight and literate love songs, ‘The French Press’ cements Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever as one of Australia’s smartest working bands.

    TRACK LISTING

    French Press
    Julie’s Place
    Sick Bug
    Colours Run
    Dig Up
    Fountain Of Good Fortune


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