Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

Johnny Brenda's Presents

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

Robert Earl Thomas (of Widowspeak), Big Nothing

Thu, May 10, 2018

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$12.00

This event is 21 and over

All shows are 21+ Proper I.D. required for admission

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - (Set time: 11:00 PM)
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
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 landcape of Melbourne music. Chock full of snappy riffs, spritely drumming and quick- witted wordplay, Talk Tight was praised "for the precision of their melodies, the streamlined sophistication of their arrangements, and the undercurrent of melancholy that motivates every note." (Pitchfork)

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.
Robert Earl Thomas (of Widowspeak) - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
Robert Earl Thomas (of Widowspeak)
There are a million songs dressed in white t-shirts and American denim, songs that drift through open spaces in some busted sedan, over lost highways that become tributaries to eventual static, crawling traffic and stifling density. There are a million more songs about being wild and green in the cities and outside them: a song about love for every person on this earth. Another Age, the debut album from Robert Earl Thomas, avoids inhabiting these clichés even as it embraces their personal influence, distilling plucky observations and reveries into something both universal and specific. This is an album about small moments with big emotional footprints, told humbly and honestly.

It’s a debut that plays the part without succumbing to it, more pastel romantic comedy than sepia historic drama. Thomas addresses with uncommon gentleness his own pet preoccupations with iconic imagery and tones: there are stylistic nods to Springsteen and Dire Straits, Arthur Russell’s more folk-leaning output, the various collaborations of Tom Petty & Jeff Lynne. But Thomas seems intent on conveying his specific take on these things over emulating them; you get the impression that he’s just as inspired by karaoke renditions of “I’m On Fire” or “Romeo and Juliet” as he is by the originals. As a narrator, he steers a road song away from jaded indifference, and his self-aware ballads are concerned not with broken hearts (or breaking them) but with city-induced anxiety, complex and unfamiliar love, and soft ruminations on getting older.

Thomas is not new to making records, and Another Age is actually years in the works. A founding member of Brooklyn-based indie outfit Widowspeak, he’s previously lent his talents as a lead guitarist to that band as well as the experimental pop group Vensaire. He began writing and home-recording songs two years ago, gradually and purposefully in moments of solitude between tours, between stints working in a Seattle woodshop and at a hotel in the Catskills, and during weeks couch-surfing back and forth across Brooklyn. For Another Age, Thomas combined these intricately layered demos with tracks from a two-week studio session in the winter of 2016 at Marcata Recording in New Paltz, NY with producer Kevin McMahon (Swans, Real Estate, Widowspeak).

Sonically, the album is buoyant throughout, even at its most emotive. There’s an inherent sense of approachability to his melodies and, as a frontman, Thomas is sincere and affable. He coaxes the listener in with idiosyncratic vulnerability, like a lounge singer raised on AM radio and Elliott Smith singing bedroom arena rock without the bravado, easy-listening with a little more at stake. His voice is distinctive, confident even as it wavers and slides through lyrics, lending a poignant sensitivity to his otherwise assertive guitar and synth compositions. Thomas excels in the sort of wandering, hypnotic codas that instantly recall a feeling of aloneness, a feeling of sequestering oneself to a closet-sized bedroom even as the city keeps moving around you.

And the stories he tells are full of intimate moments and observations: a walk home from a lover’s apartment, a long night drive back upstate, a quiet Wednesday morning existential crisis. Musings as to the significance of a Winona Ryder portrait on the wall of a stranger’s bedroom. The sense of discovery that comes with being young in a city with a new person, and the sense of loss when that novelty is gone. Another Age is indoor music at its most expansive, rock and roll held at arm’s length.
Big Nothing - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Big Nothing
Born from a spit pact at Queen of Sheba in West Philadelphia, Big Nothing is four idiots completely out of touch with reality. They are hell bent on having a good time and bending the G string up to the note that the B string is playing. They worship Tom Petty and do a terrible job at representing that. Sometimes they want to tour a lot... other times they skip band practice to go to the mall... but no matter what, they will distract you from your meaningless life for twenty minutes - so give em a chance.
Venue Information:
Johnny Brenda's
1201 N. Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA, 19125
http://www.johnnybrendas.com/