Rock n’ Recipes: Lower Plenty

As you’ve likely seen, I raved and raved all year about the new Lower Plenty album, No Poets. So, we were fortunate enough to catch up with Al Montfort, toss him a few questions, plus get a most excellent Dahl recipe that you can try out on your own time. Take a read, get to know the band, and if you’re super-inclined, be sure to grab No Poets LP from Bedroom Suck Records.

ATH: It’s been roughly seven years since we have last heard from the band (Sister Sister), which is different from the “every two years” cycle the band had going. Was there a hiatus as folks worked on other projects, or all COVID related? And, in that, what was the impetus to go in and write No Poets?

 

A little from Column A and a little from Column B. Pretty much Covid related though. Most of the songs on the record are pretty old. We’ve always said that Lower Plenty is our ageing respectfully band. We feel we could have a break for awhile and come back to it. Its not dependent on high physical energy or anything like that. Endless impetus, sorry haters.

 

ATH: Is there a lead songwriter in the group, or are tracks crafted organically as a whole group? With that, there’s a lot of nuance and overlapping vocals, which are executed gracefully, so how do those moments come about?

We all pretty write the songs (melody, structure, etc.) separately and present them to the band. It makes it easy to rehearse as only one person needs to be confident with the tune ( the singer); everyone else can be pretty loose around it.

ATH: Of all the songs on No Poets, there are certainly some really powerful moments that, personally speaking, had a real emotional impact. Which song are you hoping has the greatest touch on listeners of the record? Would that be your favorite song?

“A Letter to Grief,” “It Drags,” and “Taste Tears” are my favorites. They all have an emotional impact on me. Hoping the whole record touches people. We are always pretty dark, but I think there’s some uplifting numbers on there too. We need a bit of a push right now.

 

ATH: Is the title, No Poets, sort of a tongue in cheek reference, as the band seems to have a definite affinity for poetry in their lyrical work? Is there a statement we’re not getting on our end? Or TBD for the listener?

We are pretty tongue in cheek. TBD

ATH: Using acoustic instruments and very light percussive elements, it seems like it’d be easy to drown one another out, yet somehow everyone seems to have a voice in the performance. What’s the formula to making sure each layer gets its day in the sun, so to speak?

Respect.

 

ATH: As someone who covers a lot of the Australian scene on my end, does it seem like a really vibrant time from the inside, or do you look at places like the US or the UK and think “Wow, they’ve got such incredible scenes”?

 

Both. Since I started going to shows as a teenager, getting a train from the country on weekends, its always been vibrant in Melbourne. There hasn’t been a weekend where I haven’t wanted to see a gig. Every time I walk in to a record shop there’s always a good local record. But definitely its great abroad too. We’ve all toured quite a lot and seen incredibly scenes across the world.

ATH: Along those lines, who are other artists you see as contemporaries (outside of the bands everyone plays in)? Those can get thrown in too though!

Too many to name, not sure if they would call us their contemporaries, but some of my favorites over the years have been Sweet Whirl, Woollen Kits, Scott and Charlenes Wedding, Peak Twins, Prefect, Hit the Jackpot, too many to name.

ATH: What’s the one thing that the Australian music scene, be that venues/labels/etc, needs for survival as listening habits change, etc? Is there something folks in the States can do better to support their favorite Aussie bands?

Be yourselves, we receive a lot of support from Americans, but if you have to do anything, Change the artist visa legislation. Touring the states is a money losing exercise. Bands of our size tour without a legit visa being vulnerable to deportation. Otherwise we get individual working visas 10k+ for a whole band so its quite hard to your legit.

 

No biggy though, there are bigger fish to fry, get out of the Middle East, break down America’s crippling income inequality, breakdown white supremacy, end neo imperialism, free Assange.

 

ATH: The album art has five colors….assign a different color to each member of the band, with an explanation…you can assign the fifth color to artwork designer, mastering or label head.

Red= Sarah
Pink= Jensen
Green= Twomey
Beige= Al

 

I’m colourblind.

ATH: As you’re writing a recipe…what’s the story behind it, what’s its significance, if any to the band?

We’ve eaten a lot of food together as we jam at each others houses (never paid for a rehearsal room heil Satan)

 

Al’s Dahl recipe

 

 

Ingredients

 

 

Urid dal lentil
Can of red kidney beans
Table spoon of Cumin seeds
Bunch of Coriander
Tablespoon of Garam masala
Tablespoon of Coriander powder
Teaspoon of Fenugreek seeds
Tablespoon of crushed ginger
Tablespoon of crushed garlic
Onion diced finely
2 tablespoons of veg oil
2 Diced tomatoes
Teaspoon of turmeric

 

 

Method man

 

Soak (if you are prepared) and cook lentils until soft. Put aside.
Toast cumin and fenugreek seeds in a pot.
Add oil and onion.
Add ginger, chili and garlic.
Let them get a bit brown.
Add tomatoes. Let them dissolve a bit.
Add spices.
Add lentils and kidney beans.
Add salt and a cup of water.
Stir and let boil on the stove for half an hour.

Serve with rice or bread.
Garnish with fresh coriander.

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