PLAYLIST: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever’s Songs in the Orbit of “Sideways to New Italy”

The jangly Melbourners share a handful of songs they had on repeat when penning their sophomore album.

Last Friday, Melbourne’s Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever dropped their second full-length album of guitar-heavy jangle pop. Similar in sound, Sideways to New Italy took a thematic shift with its lyrics to document certain realities specific to their Aussie homeland rather than appealing to the global audience they amassed leading up to their Sub Pop debut. 

Today, RBCF are also dropping their second FLOOD playlist, following up their pre-Hope Downs compilation of Songs About Objects, which coincided with their French Press EP. Their sophomore playlist goes behind the scenes of Sideways, exploring some of the tracks they had swirling around their brains when the record was coming together. “We wrote this album between November 2018 and October 2019 and recorded it in November,” the band explains. “These are some songs we were listening to and talking about. They helped shape the world that the songs live in.” 

Stream the playlist in full below, and read on to hear what the band had to say about each track. Sideways to New Italy is out now via Sub Pop, and you can order it here.


Warumpi Band, “Waru (Fire)”

To me this song is orange, blue, pink. I love how the rhythm is focused on the agitated snare. I love the crash cymbal on the snare.

Body Type, “Stingray”

This song explodes in all directions. Body Type craft songs by intuition and they feel perfect.  

The Rolling Stones, “Miss You”

My auntie once told me she hated this song because it reminds her of when she was a kid, her older brother, my uncle, listened to this song when he first started going out to parties. He’d lather up in cheap cologne and his cowboy shirt and get ready to go to a party in a paddock somewhere. She’d fear for him leaving the safe warm house, the bass coming through the bedroom wall. 

Cut Copy, “Zap Zap”

This song feels eternal, it could just keep going. It could soundtrack a montage in heaven, containing someone’s life highlights. 

The The, “This Is the Day”

The association/disassociation of self and surroundings. “You watch a plane flying across the clear blue sky.”

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, “Solid Silk”

Stephen Malkmus is a hero of ours. This album loomed over my thinking and writing for about a year, still does. His melodies and lyrics always seem to hint at something just out of reach. He keeps opening doors. 

The Dixie Cups, “Chapel of Love”
Darlene Love, “(Today I Met) the Boy I’m Gonna Marry”

I love songs that carry the gravity of the wedding day: nervousness, excitement, fear, envy, panic.

Silver Jews, “Suffering Jukebox”

This song took hold of me for a while, and then I slowly ventured out to the rest of the album Lookout Mountain Lookout Sea, which is a masterpiece. (Side note: this chord progression is the best chord progression, according to Joe Russo. File next to: Mental as Anything – “Live it Up”).

Felt, “Sunlight Bathed in Golden Glow”

Song to dance on water to.

The Jam, “Beat Surrender”

Soul + punk. The Jam have always been an inspiration for us.

Tom Verlaine, “Souvenir from a Dream”

Strutting, lurching, stumbling.

Lou Reed, “Coney Island Baby”

This is one of our producer Burke Reid’s favorite albums. The drums and guitars feel intimate, tactile. 

Talking Heads, “Thank You for Sending Me an Angel”

If you squeeze an apple hard enough juice will fly out. 

Pachanga Boys, “Time”

The way this song moves in and out is something we spoke about quite a lot. I really don’t know if it comes through…

Billy Ocean, “Love Really Hurts Without You”

We wanted “Cars in Space” to live between a French touch song and this song. (Side note: this has got to be one of the very best chorus lines. File next to: Mental as Anything – “If You Leave Me Can I Come Too?”).

Tirzah, “No Romance”

Devastating and simple, this informed how I tried to approach lyrics for these songs. No heartbreak, no rejection, no romance.

Bob Dylan, “Positively 4th Street”

No one could write a more savage, petty, funny character assassination. You suspect the object of the song was maybe a bit unfortunate to get him on a bad day.

Enya, “Orinoco Flow”

I went through an unexpected heavy Enya phase during the writing of these songs. This is a perfect pop song, and really nails a particular vibe. The lyrics are even weirder than you might think. We covered this song a few times, with mixed results.


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