Back in June of 2018, the Australian quintet Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever released their debut album Hope Downs. It was an endlessly replayable collection of impeccably crafted jangle-pop and old-school indie, and the band subsequently won themselves plenty of fans as they toured relentlessly behind it. Along the way, they released some other tracks — last year’s characteristically infectious “In The Capital” and “Read My Mind,” and then another new one called “Cars In Space” earlier this year. (It ranked amongst our favorite songs that week.) Now, it turns out “Cars In Space” was just the prelude to a whole new Rolling Blackouts album.
RBCF’s sophomore outing is called Sideways To New Italy, and it will be out in June. All of that touring took its toll on the band. A press release describes them returning to Melbourne and grappling with a sense of dislocation, feeling not only adrift but disconnected from what remained of their old lives back home. In turn, they began working on new music that sought to capture a sense of home — the title alludes to New Italy, in New South Wales, where drummer Marcel Toussie is from — and try to bottle all of it up into something positive.
“I felt completely rudderless on tour,” Fran Keaney, one of the band’s three singer/guitarists, said of the album’s backstory. “It’s fun but you get to a point where you’re like, ‘Who am I anymore?’ You feel like you’re everywhere and nowhere at the same time. And no one in particular.” But the band took the blur of their lives and tried to channel it into something new, something whole, with Keaney adding: “I wanted to write songs that I could use as some sort of bedrock of hopefulness to stand on, something to be proud of. A lot of the songs on the new record are reaching forward and trying to imagine an idyll of home and love.”
Along with the announcement, the band has shared another new track called “She’s There.” This will come as no surprise to fans of RBCF, but it strikes that same balance of a propulsive instrumental and a carefully orchestrated array of vocal hooks, driving by on first listen and then burrowing deeper and deeper into your head. The song comes with a video directed by Nick McKinlay — who also worked with the band on the clip for “Cars In Space” — where the band tried to capture “that feeling in a dream where you need to be somewhere, and you don’t really know why, but you are determined to overcome every obstacle to get there.” Check it out below.
01 “The Second Of The First”
02 “Falling Thunder”
03 “She’s There”
04 “Beautiful Steven”
05 “The Only One”
06 “Cars In Space”
08 “Not Tonight”
09 “Sunglasses At The Wedding”
10 “The Cool Change”
Sideways To New Italy is out 6/5 via Sub Pop. Pre-order it here.