If you’re currently navigating your way through Austin, attempting to spot the next super cool indie pop artist among the ineffably profound plethora of other likely-pretty-fucking-cool indie pop artists, I would recommend looking for Melbourne-based Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, who have a handful of performances scattered throughout the city this Thursday and Friday… And if festivals and travel aren’t really your thing and your ass is still right here in Philthy, no worries, because Rolling Blackouts C.F. are kicking off a string of dates supporting wife-husband indie popping duo Tennis this Saturday, March 18th, at Underground Arts.
Last week Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever released their second EP (and first courtesy of Sub Pop), The French Press. The album (which you can hear streaming below, via Sub Pop’s YouTube channel) boasts an amalgam of some of the best and most anthemic brands of working-class alternative pop to come out of the latter portion of the 20th century, from echoes of jangle pop and twee to notable hints of Brit pop. The band has already received love from the likes of Pitchfork and Noisey and I recently got a chance to chat with Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever’s Tom Russo about the earliest years of the band.
Izzy Cihak: I realize that this is quite a big question but, considering that the band is still relatively new, what have been some of the highlights of Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever so far?
Tom Russo: We didn’t expect anything to happen with this band, so everything new is a highlight. We’ve now done a few good festivals and fun tours around Aus. Getting our hands on the vinyl of the new EP was a highlight. And obviously, doing this US tour is crazy, we’re all pretty excited and keen to jump in.
Izzy: What would you consider to be the band’s most significant influences, both musical and otherwise?
Tom: Musically we were initially influenced by a lot of classic guitar pop like The Go-Betweens from Australia, The Embassy from Sweden, and Orange Juice from Scotland. We all listen to a lot of music that doesn’t sound like us, I’m a big fan of hip hop, for example. Non-musical influences include places, landscapes, big ideas, and glorious failures.
Izzy: I know that your latest EP, The French Press, just hit shelves. How do you feel like it compares to Talk Tight? Did it just feel like a natural evolution of your sound, or were you trying anything out for the first time?
Tom: We recorded in the same place, in our practice room. The first EP was recorded over a weekend, but we spent a bit more time on the new EP, experimenting with overdubs. Apart from that it has essentially been the same process.
Izzy: How is it being signed to Sub Pop? I mean, it’s just such an amazing label with such an incredibly impressive history. Are there any Sub Pop bands of past or present that you’re especially excited to be able to now call your peers?
Tom: It’s an honour to be part of the label. Again, we didn’t see it coming. There has been so much great music come out of Sub Pop over the years. I personally grew up with my older cousin’s Soundgarden CDs, looking at the cover and the label thinking it must be so cool. So it’s weird and great to be on the same label.
Izzy: And you’re about to kick off your first US tour right here in Philly, or Philthy as we call it. What can be expected of the live show?
Tom: Lots of guitars. We move around a bit. We’re not one of those bands that stays perfectly still.
Izzy: Are there any cities or “landmarks” that you’re especially excited to see when you’re here in the states?
Tom: I think it goes without saying that the Philly Cheese Steak is top of the list. We are currently researching the best place to get the genuine article. Everyone says good things about Austin, so looking forward to exploring there as well.
Izzy: You’re playing a bunch of dates with Tennis, who I’m also very into. Are you excited to be sharing the stage with them for a handful of nights? Were you previously fans of the duo?
Tom: We’re very excited. It’s very cool that we get to waltz in on our first US trip and play some great venues with such a good band. I had heard some of the songs and the backstory, which is a solid one. Looking forward to seeing them in action.
Izzy: And what’s next for you? How are you hoping and planning to spend 2017?
Tom: Go back to our day jobs, tour Europe, and start recording our debut LP later in the year!