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Monnone Alone

Idioma disponible: inglés
Singer/songwriter Mark Monnone cut his musical teeth as part of the legendary Australian indie pop group the Lucksmiths, as well as being a first-call bassist for a number of bands including Still Flyin' and Last Leaves. Working under the name Monnone Alone, he began a solo career that saw him gradually slipping out from under the indie pop umbrella on 2013's Together at Last before striding into the power pop sun on 2019's Summer of the Mosquito. Whether playing with a large group of friends as on the former or with a small band as on Mosquito, Monnone's winsome melodies and playful lyrics stay the same. His first truly solo album, 2021's Stay Foggy, proved he didn't need anyone's help, though a good producer -- in this case Gareth Parton -- can't hurt. Monnone spent the majority of his early musical life playing bass with indie pop legends the Lucksmiths, recording a string of memorable songs and albums beginning in 1993 and continuing until they split in 2009. Though he had played in other groups during his tenure with the Lucksmiths, his first foray into solo work didn't occur until he was touring as a live member of Still Flyin' in 2010. He recorded a single, "Pink Earrings"/"When We Hit the Ground," with that band's Drew Cramer at the helm in San Francisco for release on Monnone's own Lost and Lonesome label. While not spending time on the road, Monnone ended up staying at the house of Ladybug Transistor's Gary Olson, which was fortuitously also the home of Marlborough Farms studio. Monnone spent two years off and on there recording when he could, roping in Olson's housemate Amy Linton (of Aislers Set fame) to play drums, his Transistor bandmate Kyle Forester to contribute keyboards, and vocals from former Love Is All member James Ausfahrt. There were also sessions in Melbourne with help provided by Ryan McPhun of Ruby Suns and the Clean's Hamish Kilgour. After two years of work, the album was ready and Monnone released it in May 2013 on his own label. The jangling innocence of Together at Last called to mind his old band, but also not surprisingly a lo-fi Ladybug Transistor. Following the record's release, Monnone went back to his busy schedule of playing bass with other bands and artists (such as Mid-State Orange, Bart & Friends, and Guy Blackman) as well as two of his former Lucksmiths mates in Last Leaves. Dipping back into Monnone Alone, he and drummer Gus Franklin (a member of Architecture in Helsinki who had played on the first album) recorded a song called "Eddie" that was released in 2014 as a split single with the Math & Physics Club on Jigsaw Records. Also that year, while he was in Portland he recorded a single, "Told Yah (Not to Wait)," as a duet with Andrew Kaffer of Kissing Book, with Dustin Reske of Rocketship at the board. After more time spent gigging with other bands and playing with Last Leaves, who sported a much heavier sound than the Lucksmiths on their 2017 album Other Towns Than Ours, Monnone Alone returned, this time with a more set lineup. With Franklin joining on drums, ex-Lucksmith Louis Richter on guitar, and Joe Foley on bass, the group pursued the same path as Last Leaves, adding some power pop crunch to the hooky songs. 2019's Summer of the Mosquito was made by this group, and with the help of producer Gareth Parton, they achieved a sound that mixed heaviness and summery sweetness in equal amounts. A follow-up made by the same crew was rendered impossible by the COVID-19 lockdowns, so Monnone returned to an old friend, a Tascam 688, and began work on his first truly solo set of songs. The setting led to a more stripped-down sound, but it also gave him the freedom to experiment with new styles like swirling psychedelia and moody garage rock. When the recordings were done, Monnone sent them over to Parton for a sonic glow-up and the resulting album, Stay Foggy, was issued by Lost and Lonesome in September 2021.
© Tim Sendra /TiVo
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