Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

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 has become fully realized here, with ten songs of urgent and 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 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. "Over the years, we built up our own sound and style, guitar pop songs with bits of punk and country” says Keaney. “Then when we started this band, with Joe Russo [Tom’s brother] on bass, Marcel [Tussie, Joe White's then-housemate] on drums, we had this immediate chemistry. We started to let the songs go where they wanted to go”.

The band's first gigs included friends' bars and old shopfronts. After a split EP with You Yangs (another Russo brother's band), released in the form of a frisbee, they self-released the Talk Tight EP in 2015, with Sydney-based record label Ivy League giving it a wider release the following year. Talk Tight garnered plaudits from critics, including legendary rock scribe Robert Christgau. In 2017, Sub Pop would join the effort, helping to release 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— Fran Keaney, Joe White, and Tom Russo—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 songs on this album are like a collection of postcards about wider things that were going on through the lens of these small characters."

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 recording sessions largely taking place in the Australian winter of 2017, the band escaped the Melbourne frost and headed to drummer Marcel Tussie’s hometown in Northern New South Wales. "We were right at the foot of this beautiful mountain next to a creek," says White. "We could play out into the bush through the night”.

"We didn't really want to record in a studio," says Keaney. “We thought we'd get away up North, somewhere where it was warm, and record the songs live in the same room. We wanted to make sure it sounded like us," White explains. With the help of engineer/producer Liam Judson and his portable setup, the band recorded and co-produced these ten guitar pop gems over the course of two weeks.

Hope Downs possesses a robust full-band sound that's all the more impressive considering the band's studio avoidance tendencies. 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’.

The first single ‘Mainland’ follows Tom Russo’s pilgrimage to the island of his grandparent’s birth, reflecting on his own love and privilege while a refugee crisis unfolds not far away, while second cut ‘Talking Straight’ wonders “where the silence comes from, where the space originates”, and suggests loneliness be faced together.

And then there's the sprawling overture ‘An Air Conditioned Man’, which portrays the slow burning panic of a salaryman and features some beautifully tricky guitar work weaving in and out of frame as well as a surprisingly effective spoken-word section from Tom Russo during its closing moments. “As the world around him gets faker and faker, he realises he's getting further away from the idealism of his youth."

Indeed, 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.
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, the band began to take shape as audiences got moving. 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, they entrenched themselves with their thrilling live shows. Meanwhile, they were prepping their next release.

'The French Press EP' levels up on everything that made 'Talk Tight' such an immediate draw. Multi- tracked melodies which curl around one another, charging drums and addictive bass lines 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 EP' 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.

On 'French Press,' it's a Skype call between two brothers -- one gallivanting overseas, the other sitting in tedious comfort in some air-conditioned office. The freedom of one, having cast off physical and emotional ties and wrestling with liberation versus feeling lost, versus the grim routine -- but also security -- of the latter, all pivoting on a series of double meanings: The journalistic French press versus the coffee pot which symbolizes drab office culture, the disconnect people crave in escaping their homes versus the disconnect from everything they knew and cared about. And finally, the disconnect of a Skype call over a shoddy internet connection.

On first single 'Julie's Place,' it's being young and dumb but full of bravado. It follows a lovesick narrator at a house party out in the country, as afternoon turns to night. Sprinting guitars mimic singer Fran Keaney's pangs of heartache, his awkwardly sensual lyrics calling to mind the chaos and confusion of being around someone you can't get off your mind.

'Fountain of Good Fortune' attacks selfishness, myopia, being content with living well even though everybody around you is doing it tough. It's a sentiment familiar to anyone living in the shadow of Boomer Australia, where a desperate middle class elected two conservative governments in a row.

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

Deeper’s Origins date back to 2014 when prior to releasing any material an abrupt line-up change left the Chicago based band looking for a new direction. Singer and guitarist Nic Gohl along with childhood friend, guitarist Mike Clawson and drummer Shiraz Bhatti threw out all of their old songs and brought on bassist Drew McBride to round out the lineup. The subsequent demos leaned on intricate guitar interplay, direct “of the times” vocals and a spirit that speaks to the band’s collective place in this pit of endless internet.Deeper honed their sound over the course of 2015 & 16’ in basements, lofts, and anywhere that would have them. Touring the demos and landing at a fully realized inflection point. Call it Post-Punk, call it Indie Rock, it’s a record that steps in and out of boxes filtered through an unmistakable midwestern lens. As social norms and political ideologies distort, writing and creating art was the only way to control the growing voice in the band’s collective head. The conceptualizing of the album started and stopped over that two year time warp culminating in a few feverish tracking sessions in late 2017. What was left is a stark shimmering portrait of a modern American experience. It’s observational, poetic and influenced by nuance. Take opening track “Pink Showers” which was conceived through the grid lock of Chicago traffic and the “pursuit” to make your monotonous life meaningful. “I can try, don’t you see that I’m no waste”, rings out over chiming guitars and a steady rhythmic pulse. There’s something burning in us, driving our choices, begging for an answer.The band has made their mark locally supporting like minded acts Omni, Protomartyr, Chris Cohen & fellow Chicago powerhouses Whitney & Ne-Hi along with their own sold out headlining shows. Fresh off official after show appearances at Pitchfork & Lollapalooza festivals Deeper’s self titled debut album will see release May 25th 2018 On New York based Fire Talk Records.

Clean Machine makes raw, left-of-center rock & roll. It's a sound that's grounded in the rootsy stomp of the band's Nashville headquarters. Sometimes punchy, sometimes psychedelic, and always melodic. Their debut album, Tennessee Beach was given a “superlative” by Huff Post, the album’s lead single, Killer, was premiered by Paste Magazine, and Wilco has included their song, Push Pin Jane, on the Wilco Recommends Spotify playlist. Most recently they’ve become a part of the Paradigm family and will be coming to a town near you soon.

$18.00 - $20.00

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