Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever discuss new single and album ahead of Roadmender gig

Keaney: “My Echo is about being surrounded by phone screens, computer screens, TV screens, paranoia and loss of time and place.”

By David Jackson
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 8:40 pm
Rolling Blackouts Costal Fever will headline the Roadmender in May.
Rolling Blackouts Costal Fever will headline the Roadmender in May.

Aussie alternative five-piece Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have released the latest single from their forthcoming album which is due out ahead of a headline gig at the Roadmender next month.

Written during a coronavirus enforced lockdown, Endless Rooms is the band’s third record and is released on May 6 via Sub Pop. They head to the Northampton venue on May 28 as part of a rescheduled 15- date tour.

New single My Echo follows previous singles from their forthcoming LP, The Way It Shatters and Tidal River.

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“My Echo is about being surrounded by phone screens, computer screens, TV screens, paranoia and loss of time and place,” explains singer and guitarist Fran Keaney.

“The album recording is pretty faithful to the very first rough recording.

“Most of Tom’s leads were improvised but they became the DNA of the song.”

Since releasing their debut EP Talk Tight in 2015, the Melbourne-based five-piece have been chewing through stages across the world.

Early 2020 saw them gearing up once again – putting the finishing touches on second album, Sideways to New Italy, and prepping for another international tour.

Instead they were caught in the longest Covid-related lockdown in the world.

“All our touring was amazing,” says Tom Russo, who along with Keaney and Joe White make up the band’s trio of guitar-playing, singer/songwriters, rounded out by bassist Joe Russo and drummer Marcel Tussie.

“It’s also sensory overload and a bit chaotic. So it went from that to the complete opposite – sensory deprivation. We were basically in a bubble.”

With no shows to support Sideways to New Italy possible, the band had little to do but sit at home.

“I was spending all my weekends building stuff on Garageband,” says Keaney.

“Writing without having any sense anybody would listen to it.”

Soon, experiments wandered adding a synth line here, a disco vamp there.

Files were traded among members - weird ideas without parameters included.

Without realising it, the group’s signature sound of rushing acoustic guitar, motorik drums and sparkling pop hooks was being subtly shifted into a new era.

When lockdown momentarily lifted at the end of 2020, the band and long-time engineer Matt Duffy headed to The Basin – a lakeside, mud-brick house in regional Victoria the Russo extended family built in the 1970s.

With the building’s high-ceilings and rural setting encouraging a huge live sound, the reunited members spent two weeks figuring out what they had.

Back in Melbourne the band set about finishing the record on their own, working through months of lockdown restrictions, trial and error and the isolation of a post-pandemic world.

“A lot of my ideas came from endlessly walking around the same streets of West Brunswick,” says Russo.

“But I was also kind of liberated by that - my mind wandered into places it wouldn’t otherwise have.

“Then when we finally got to recording in the country, the ambience seeped in.

“We ended up including field recordings of fire, rain and bird sounds. Then we finished it ourselves back in our Brunswick practice space.”

The result is Endless Rooms, the band’s most cinematic, stylistically diverse and ambitious album yet. Self-produced by the band with Matt Duffy and mixed by Scott Horscroft, Endless Rooms pulls back the curtain on what Rolling Blackouts C.F. can achieve, revealing a wider screen, deeper narrative currents, more confident shades, and an excitement at letting their tumbling brand of ragged, nervy pop wander and breathe.

Rolling Blackouts C.F. headline the Northampton venue on Saturday, May 28.

Support is by Stella Donnelly.