PLAYLIST: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever Present Songs About Objects
None about buildings or food, though.
Last month, Breaking alumni Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever released French Press, their second EP and first record since signing to Sub Pop. Like their debut Talk Tight, it’s a punchy batch of expertly written songs that sound as though they’ve been around forever—and not just because the Melbourne quintet have mastered the jangly Australasia sound. Fran Keaney, Tom Russo, and Joe White write scenes, slightly impressionistic vignettes of life that center around small moments: surreptitious phone calls, mornings spent with the newspaper, afterparties, and so on.
So when we asked the group to make us a playlist of songs that had been in rotation while they were making French Press, we weren’t surprised when they tweaked the formula a bit, giving us a dozen tracks whose lyrical conceit revolves around an ordinary object: a raincoat, a pair of boots, a knife. It’s a collection that shows another side of the band who put it together—another small object that illuminates the people associated with it.
Below, you can give it a listen, and check out commentary from the band themselves.
Gillian Welch, “Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor”
This tells of that feeling of knowing your need for a bed, and the pallet evokes the feeling of home—or of thinking of a friend’s house as your home.
Paul Kelly, “Winter Coat”
This coat holds all the memories of an old lover. Unlike the lover, it still keeps him warm.
Guy Clark, “The Randall Knife”
The Randall knife holds the key to a relationship between a father and son—both physically and metaphorically.
Daniel Johnston, “Speeding Motorcycle”
The speeding motorcycle is gonna take him away. And it’s a pretty cool metaphor for his heart.
Brendan Welch, “On the Run”
This song seems to be the story of an elusive brother; the table is where they find him.
Blondie, “Hanging on the Telephone”
This song rocks. The telephone is the obvious conduit between lovers. She’s gonna “Ring it off the wall.”
Leonard Cohen, “Famous Blue Raincoat”
It’s the “famous” that creates the mystery and intrigue.
Billy Bragg and Wilco, “At My Window Sad and Lonely”
The window is witness to the love he’s sending across the seas.
Bob Dylan, “Boots of Spanish Leather”
Not until the last line does he reveal what’s going on and where they’re going. One of the most beautiful love songs of all time.
The Chieftains, “Long Black Veil”
A song from beyond the grave. The veil says so much.
Ween, “Bananas and Blow”
A lot of these songs are beautiful metaphors. This is just about a guy in cabana with bananas and drugs.
A great new band from Melbourne. This song must be about our unhealthy relationship with technology, the central character being a male I.B.M.