In case you haven’t been following Timeshare, it’s the solo project of longtime ATH fave Jordan Thompson, known to our six readers as one of the core members of the Ocean Party/Pop Filter. This week, Jordan announced the Yellow EP, the third in a series of EPs that sees Jordan work his way out of a period where he says he “was drifting.” Like all his cohorts, Jordan’s songwriting has an indie rock drive to it, though spun with a unique penchant for pop music; you can listen to the joyous chorus here and hear the euphoric that hits when he Maddison Newman joins in with backing vocals. I’m a fan of the way the song’s verses have this forceful nature to it, while the chorus seems more akin to exploratory folk rock; it’s a cool little juxtaposition. The Yellow EP is out on May 8th.
We first brought you news of Partner Look last April, when the band dropped a quick 7″ after forming as kind of a spur of the moment projects between the Hasnain sisters and their partners, Lachlan Denton and Dainis Lacey. This is one of the unique things about the Melbourne scene right now, with friends trading places all over to create exciting new projects. Today, the band announce their debut self-titled LP, dropping via Trouble in Mind/Osborne Again/Spunk in February. Lachlan (of Pop Filter/LD + ER/Ocean Party) gets the lead on the vocals here, and his voice always has this familiarity and spirited vibrance; it adds to the bouncing rhythm section helmed by his drum work. There’s a little bit of twang in the guitars, sort of taking a kind of psychedelic folk boogie to the track that reaches its climax in the chorus when everyone joins in for a singalong. Try this one on for size.
Snowy already released what I believe to be one of his best albums, Alternate Endings (please smuggle a box overseas!), but it seems he’s not resting, as he’s just announced Bell City. According to him, the album is made up of a bunch of tunes he wrote in May, then set aside, only to revisit them later, adding details where necessary or just leaving things be as they were. We’ve got a couple of those songs below, mostly just because I love Snowy’s work and want to encourage you to spend some time with his work. This is just a sample of the 17 songs slated to be on the release, dropping this Friday!
Over the last few months, surely you’ve noticed us hyping up Deuce; it’s the project of our old friend Curtis Wakeling (Pop Filter/Ocean Party) and Kayleigh Heydon. Deuceis an album filled to the brim with these incredible duets, where vocal duties are shared and guitar lines seem to go for a walkabout as they turn and burn in the mix. Honestly, the surprise here, or introduction perhaps, is Kayleigh’s performance throughout; she’s got such a remarkable voice that I wouldn’t be surprised to see a solo effort bubble up on her end in the near future. Still, it’s the way the two play off each other that’s delighted me, which you can hear immediately in the album’s slow-burning opener “Heat Wave.” This album takes time, and actually deserves time, as you’re not going to find a track to skip over. If you do, let me know, and we can talk about it. Stream it all below!
I’ve no qualms stating that anything loosely affiliated with the Ocean Party will likely get space on our site, but even more so if its got great songs, like the latest release from Lachlan & Snowy (now of Pop Filter, among others). In fact, Lachlan reached out to let me know the project began as sort of a joke, but when you’ve got two great songwriters and friends, its hard to keep great music buried. There’s maybe a few tunes lurking in here that you could maybe forgive for being playful recording banter, but even then, you’re not going to find many songs better than “Blame it on the Seasons” or “Triple End; I just don’t know how you call either of those tunes ‘jokes” in the grand scheme of things. Honestly, one of those tunes might be one of my favorite of the week! Go ahead and find yourself falling in love with two great friends writing music together. Stream Phone In below:
Oddly, I think I just now realized that Tuesday’s in Australia are still release days (I think?); we used to do that in the States until it seemed more fun to use corporate Fridays. Alas, today you can stream (and buy!) the brand new 7″ from Partner Look, featuring members of Cool Sounds/Pop Filter. The A-side has this deliciously infectious stabbing guitar riff that punctuate Anila’s vocals as they try to match the drum beat; the chorus opens up into a more dreamy affair, building in these group harmonies that are certain to share their charms…particularly when the harmonies are interrupted by the yelping vocal from the background…as if two-like minded souls were having an argument. Flip it over and you’ve got a more steadying indie rock feel, pretend Parquet Courts just got really really stoned, only you get a hipper vocal from Dainis. Again, you get a great chorus, ultimately making things as memorable as anything you’ll hear today. The 7″ is available today via I Heard a Whisper.
It’s been a crazy year, and a depressing year, so perhaps we all retreated more into our record collections to seek out that fleeting joy. On my end, I spent a lot of time running/walking in the ‘burbs, so these are the records that played the most in my life…thus they are my Favorite Albums of 2020. The validity means little to anyone other than myself, but since you stop by, perhaps come by and check out my list!
And, just an FYI…there are 30 bands, and I linked back to Bandcamp pages so you can buy directly from the artists…except that one band because apparently they’re too cool…even though that album rips.
So, lists are pretty arbitrary, especially for a site like ours, where you mostly know what you’re going to get each day. But, still, I always fall for the “Best Of” lists, though this year, I’m personally staying away from the numbering system; it just doesn’t really mean much to me these days. That said, I do spend a lot of time covering Aussie acts, more than most, so for me, its fun to revisit my favorites. Without further hoopla…here’s my Top Aussie Releases of 2020.
Not more than a handful of months ago, we were treated to the debut LP by Pop Filter, a group largely made up of the songwriters from the Ocean Party; it was a glorious visit from old friends; they also took some time out to share a Rock n’ Recipes with us. Those old friends were able to get back together and write an entire new album, which they sort of dropped out of nowhere today. They chose not to offer singles, celebrating the release as its own standalone story, and in that, we all get the joy of listening to the whole thing together! Right now, I’m stuck on “Tree Change” as my favorite, but I reckon that’s because I’m in a sad bastard sort of Thursday. Love this group so much. Donkey Gully Road is now available via Bobo Integral.
The story of Pop Filter as a band is quite long, although Banksia is their debut LP. But, that story is easy to find for those who wish, so instead, I wanted this post to reflect how the a group of friends was able to cope with tragedy by writing an album full of wonderful pop songs. We dive in a little bit to the process that went into this record, plus, Mark is so kind as to share his recipe for Chicken Fricassee with Porcini Mushrooms; you can really impress your friends with “something you just threw together.”
ATH: The band is essentially a gang of songwriters/friends working together. How does the editing process work for you all? Does is change from songwriter to songwriter, or is there a routine approachyou all use when it comes to completing a track?
Mark: It genuinely changes song to song and album to album. Sometimes things arrive pretty much done, with a lot of parts already written. Sometimes things are jammed into place. Sometimes things sort of accumulate as we record them. With Banksia, because it was all done so quickly, we basically started recording things before wed even heard the vibe of the song. Then figured it out piece by piece, adding things and trusting that Snowy would be able to mix it into a nice shape. Theres a lot on the album that is first or second take. Most of my guitar parts Im just improvising to the song. It was very loose.
ATH: There’s a huge backstory/history to Pop Filter, but does Banksia represent something new, aside from the name? Does it feel like you have to start all over? And to a certain extent, is it a relief to have it under your belt, so to speak?
Mark: It definitely doesnt feel like starting over exactly. It feels more free, in a way. Because were releasing ourselves from the expectations of what being a band means. Were going to be less interested in concrete things like whos in the band, whats the album title, whos putting it out, whats the artistic statement – and more interested in the simple act of getting together and playing music. For me, its a kind of relief to lose some of those more careerist aspects of being in a band and focus on the real reason we play together in the first place, which is because were friends. In a world where the worth of everything is determined by the clicks it garners and the money it makes, it feels like an act of rebellion to focus on togetherness and friendship as the most important thing about an artistic project – rather than focusing on making a product. I think i speak for everyone when I say that I would make these albums with these people even if no one ever heard it and we never showed any of it to anyone. That would be just as valuable to me.
ATH: Is there a story behind covering “Romance at the Petrol Station?” Any particular connection that brought that song into the album process?
Mark: Everyone in the band has always loved that song and that first Stolen Violin record was Zacs favourite album. Lach had wanted to cover it for ages so it felt like the right time to do it.
ATH: Most of this record has been promoted throughout a global pandemic. How does that affect the way you, as a band, go about promoting the album? Plans for any live streamsor that sort now that it’s out in the world?
Mark: We havent really talked about it I guess. Obviously wed be touring if we could. Most of the band is under a serious shelter in place lockdown in Melbourne while Im free and relatively easy in a totally different state so I can at least go to the pub to celebrate the release. No plans for anything yet.
ATH: I admit this is a tough one to answer, but who brought the best songs this go round?
Mark: A lot of the songs were written in the four days we were recording so not many of us were very prepared! I like them all really. They all hit different feelings and vibes for me. I love Curtiss song Visions of You, and Nicks Kit Home, Jords songs didnt have lyrics at first so I loved hearing all the mixes back months later and discovering the songs anew. Jord pushes his voice to these amazing places on his tracks which I think is super thrilling. Dunno, mate. Theyre all good. You tell me!
ATH: Is there a story to your recipe, or any personal significance, other than you just enjoy cooking it?
Mark: I cook this all the time. Its my oh, this, I just threw something together show off dish. It has bugger all ingredients but is stupidly rich and delicious. Its a Marcella Hazan recipe and its like alchemy. I serve it with a crisp lettuce salad with heaps of Olive Oil, Mustard and Lemon. And crusty bread.
Chicken and Porcini Fricassee
A whole chicken – broken down in four pieces. (Keep backbone for stock)
40g Dried Porcinia Mushrooms.
100ml ish of dry white wine. I try to use resiling because I also like to drink that.
A can of Cherry tomatoes.
That’s literally all the ingredients. This recipe rules.
– Soak the Porcini Mushrooms in about 400ml of boiling water for about 20 minutes. Keep them hanging out in that awesome umami mushroom water! Dont throw it away.
– After youve broken down your chicken pat the skin dry and salt and pepper it liberally.
– Get a decent sized pan (I have a biggish stainless steel one) nice and hot and add a big glug of olive oil.
– Place the chicken pieces skin side down in the pan and reduce heat a bit to medium-low. Leave them on that side for like 15 minutes until theyre really brown and crisp. Then flip em and give them another 5 mins.
– Chuck the wine in and let it bubble for a bit until it doesnt smell quite so boozey. About 3 mins.
– Pour in the mushrooms and the amazing juice theyve been soaking in, along with the can of cherry tomatoes, and bring to a boil.
– Turn heat down to low and half cover the pan. Cook for about half an hour. Turning the chicken every so often.
– When the chicken is definitely cooked through but not horrid and dry take it out and set aside for a bit.
– Then you want to reduce the sauce down so its barely watery at all, its just super charged mushroomy, tomatoey slightly wet mush. It will look brown and gross, do not worry. It is meant to look like that.
– When the sauce is thick and mega rich (prob 7ish mins), salt it to your liking and return the chicken to warm through.
– Serve it in a bowl with salad and bread. You can squeeze a lemon over it if this is your thing. You can also garnish with parsley if thats the vibe.
– Impress your friends with something you just threw together