Rock n’ Recipes: Pop Filter

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.

Salt

Pepper

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

e4444e Shares Solar Video

I reckon I should stick with the Aussie scene first thing in the morning, so here’s a tune from e4444e off the forthcoming Coldstream Road. From what I’ve heard from Romy Church’s project, this tune is one of the more stripped down tracks present on the record, and perhaps that’s where the draw is for me. Church’s voice spends the first minute pretty much on his own, coolly floating atop the strummed acoustic guitar. When the 1 minute mark drops, textures start to be formed and layered, building in a sonic realm where one can let go and get lost. It’s a pretty special tune, to my ears. Get it this Friday via Spunk Records!

Popfilter Debut on Stay Inside Compilation

We’re all holed up at home, looking to our favorite artists for glimmer of hope in the world. But, they’ve got to make a living too, so a bunch of Australian labels like Osbourne Again, Hotel Motel, Spunk Records and more have organized the Stay Inside Compilation. 100% of the funds will be split between the bands, many who’ve taken a financial hit. Now, not only do I love the labels and the acts, but it also is our first introduction to Popfilter, a band that features members of our beloved Ocean Party; our first introduction has the band covering “Romance at the Petrol Station” by Jordan Ireland/Stolen Violin. This version seems to strip away some of the darkness on the original, choosing instead to highlight the song’s natural pop sensibility. Future tunes from the likes of Snowy Band and Emma Russack are said to be on their way too!

Stunning New Track from The Ocean Party

I’ve made no secret of my adoration for The Ocean Party over the years, but every time I feel like I’ve peaked, they go off and release something incredible. Their latest single teases you, sliding in ever so quietly…touch of electronic atmosphere and voice opens; then guitar and gang vocals join before the beat kicks the track forward. The forlorn keyboards and meandering guitar would be enough, but suddenly the tune bursts forth, slide guitar and full band working away. It creates one of those magical moments you get so rarely in pop music, the sort that makes you feel lucky to even be here listening. Their new LP, The Oddfellows Hall, drops on November 9th via Emotional Response/Spunk Records.

Did You Stream the Latest Ocean Party LP

I.B.O., the latest LP from our Aussie friends The Ocean Party just dropped, and we wanted to make sure you had a chance to hear it in its entirety; should only take about 12 minutes. The great thing, and quite a change, is the band challenged themselves to write 12 1 minute songs…SUCCESS! It has some staples from the band’s already accomplished sound, but there are tunes like “Fallin’ Off the Bone” that illustrate a completely different side of the group. Don’t worry if you feel like this just whets your appetite, making you thirst for more…there’s still a few months left in the year, so I’m sure we’ll get another Ocean Party release in some format! You can grab the LP from Emotional Response Records here in the States, or Spunk overseas.

The Ocean Party Announce New 7″

Ever prolific, our faves the Ocean Party are preparing to release a brand new 7″, with a slight catch. Rather than craft a couple of normal hits to squeeze into the format, they’ve opted instead to create twelve 1 minute songs. Below, you get to hear three of those forthcoming 12 minutes; you’ve got 25% of the album in your hands! I think I’m struck the most by the middling minute; it’s a slight bit different than what they’ve been working on in previous releases…maybe a tougher exterior. Regardless, we’re going to buy it, and you should too; it’s being released in July via Emotional Response and Spunk Records.

Stream Guilt EP from The Ocean Party

The Ocean Party continue their ceaseless barrage of pop hits with the just released Guilt EP, available via Spunk Records. I always love everything these guys pull off together, and with this EP, I’m quite taken by the track “Out;” it has this natural sense of wonderment…listen carefully as guitar lines stretch across the song’s horizon while the vocals hang in the air. All in all, the EP has a solemn feel to it, holding onto a certain emotion that can only be described by listening to all 6 tracks in one sitting. So, now’s your chance, get at the EP below.

Brand New Hit from The Ocean Party

I don’t think the Ocean Party ever stop writing songs together; they seem to be the most prolific act about. Fresh off the release of Beauty Point, the band are back with a brand new collection of tracks for the Guilt EP. The vocals are deep here, especially in the opening 45 seconds, before they change the pace with steady percussion and slide guitar, fleshing the song out. You’ll even get to hear the whole gang chant “please tell me nothing’s wrong,” adding emphasis to an already joyous track. You’re not going to find a single band out there writing pop songs this good, anywhere. Look for Guilt to drop on December 1st via Spunk!

Missed This Crepes Tune

The Melbourne scene continues to prove to be one of the more diverse, and prolific, music scenes across the globe…and rising act Crepes dropped a tune from their latest album that I completely missed. Their first single from Channel Four was an energetic number titled “Sexyland,” but they pull back on the rhythm here and let this gem just flow. Lyrics are delivered in the most casual manner, with the bass line the most prominent musical element in the mix…yet you’ll hear synth lines sparkling in the far off. You might also hear a brief nod to Phoenix in the vocal twist during the chorus…but that could just be us. Channel Four is being handled by Deaf Ambitions and Spunk, and is about to hit the streets!

Stream the Ocean Party LP

I think anyone that was fortunate enough to catch the Ocean Party on tour this past Spring would agree that the band is a full-on tour de pop. Every member is a gifted songwriter, which allows for a great bit of diversity…both live and in the studio. They’ve just released Beauty Point, and I can only revel in the joy that you’ll get by spinning this LP on repeat all day. It’s filled with bouncing rhythms, synth stabs and vocal accompaniment in all the right places. Honestly, while I’ve loved the band forever, this might be their most complete record to date…not a single song misses its mark. It’s available now from Emotional Response (US) and Spunk Records (AUS).

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