Monnone Alone - Stay Foggy
Words by Conor Lochrie
Thursday 2nd September, 2021
Ahead of its official release tomorrow, we’ve got the pleasure of sharing a first listen to Monnone Alone’s third album Stay Foggy, a collection of spirited guitar-pop crafted in lockdown that plays like a blissful and sometimes disorientating ride through the imaginative world of Mark Monnone.
I like to think that Stay Foggy, the name of the third album from Monnone Alone, is an ode to wearing a mask during COVID: the effect when consistently breathing into one’s mask, pulled up over the nose, and feeling the world become blurred is becoming the norm, particularly for those who also wear glasses; Stay Foggy, Protect the Elderly.

The world has changed considerably since we last heard from Monnone Alone - the project of Mark Monnone - even though it was only two years ago. 2019’s Summer of the Mosquito was a winning collection of power-pop and jangle-pop that captured the essence of endless summer nights, free from worry.

Perhaps Monnone didn’t plan to release its follow-up quite so soon but, stuck in last year’s lockdown with no bandmates to work alongside, he endeavoured to use the newfound free time to craft his third album. And aside from a few references here and there, Stay Foggy doesn’t feel or sound like a pandemic record - the effervescent disposition remains, the atmosphere is casual and hopeful.

Monnone was, of course, the bassist in Melbourne’s beloved indie-pop band The Lucksmiths. That brings with it a lot of credit and goodwill but Monnone’s solo work is easily separated from his former band. The songs on Stay Foggy, although bearing similarities to the brightness of The Lucksmiths, are wholly capable of standing alone. Chugging guitars power the melodic jangle of tracks such as ‘Pepper Jar’, ‘Time is on the Run’, and ‘The Silos’. There are delightfully odd interludes too, the playful ‘Feel it Disappearing’ containing strange sounds and earnest keys, while ‘Painted Brick’ has an endearing weirdness that Syd Barrett would approve of.

After the simple but carefully-crafted indie-pop that came before, full of pleasing melodies and fuzzy guitars, the final song ‘Stay Foggy’ is possessed of a far more melancholic haze - a repetitive bassline offers the impression of even the hopeful Monnone being jaded for a moment. Our memories, they also become foggy, and as what we considered to be “normal life” slips ever further away, our impressions of it do too. It’s why Monnone is forgiven for indulging in nostalgic memory briefly; we’ve all been doing it over these past 18 months.

Alongside our exclusive listen to Stay Foggy above, we caught up with Mark who took us through each of his tracks in more detail.
Pepper Jar

This song drifted pretty far from it’s breezy nylon string beginnings and into something a bit more janky. At the risk of uncovering my well concealed plagiaristic tendencies, I can hear a lot of what I was listening to at the time - Television Personalities, The Apples in Stereo, Art Museums, Juan Wauters… all artists whose songs and production styles I’m very fond of. As well as being the first song that I started working on, ‘Pepper Jar’ is the only song on the record that actually references the 2020 mega-lockdown in any way; the titular jar (actually: a non-peppery jar, blue in colour, that with a little poetic license became “purple jar” and then “pickle jar” and eventually “pepper jar” which, I think you’ll agree, in the context of the chorus bounces off the lips very nicely) was a receptacle for scraps of paper with post-lockdown hopes and dreams scribbled on them, whenever something came to mind in our household, e.g: go to ballet, go to Finland, sushi for lunch, etc, etc.

Feel it Disappearing

Half the songs on the album started out a year or two earlier as loose demos in voice memo-form - just nylon string acoustic with my toddler daughter Sisko squealing away in the foreground. I liked the voice memo of this song so much that I almost didn’t want to mess with that delightful pure version. As it was only 26 seconds long, I decided however to expand on it and, as an added bonus, show off my newfound lockdown skills on the keyboard! Hearing Sisko the other day randomly singing “I wanna lose my mind with you” brought a tiny tear to my eye.

Bumpy Bits

The cardboard box “drums” copped a thumping on this one. Tried to keep this song as simple as possible but couldn’t resist a good key-change. I’m only human, as it turns out.

Something Creeping

The last song written and put to tape, this one just fell together kind of accidentally and became an album highlight for me. I’ll happily admit to borrowing a lyric off my old friend (and one of my fave singers) Gary Olson: “the last great beach day of the year” - a quip he has frequently borrowed from himself for his own social media posts.


One of the few songs that stuck to the original light-n-breezy brief, but it’s also a hot take on living in a place that, although beautiful on the surface, is forever being invaded by opportunistic outsiders and having its cultural soul reshaped until it’s unrecognisable to those who made it attractive in the first place. A metaphor for the Melbourne music scene.

Time is on the Run

By the time I was putting the final touches to this song, I’d started to investigate some of the fun tricks that the Tascam 688 tape machine can do, like vari-speed for pitched up vocals and switching the tape around for some reversed guitar stuff. I’d actually made a bit of a meal of this one with too many ideas flying around but Gareth Parton came to the rescue with his unparalleled mixing skills.

The Silos

When I first moved out of home in the early ‘90s, I moved in with some friends to a house in Best St, North Fitzroy and there was a bunch of disused silos at the end of the street that were once serviced by the goods train that would travel along where the Park St bike path is now, before pulling to a halt in its final destination in the Edinburgh Gardens. This song is a homage to simpler times; intoxicating summer nights that only seemed to end every fortnight when dole day rolled around again.

Hard Feelings

Burn the village down and run away. And don’t forget to take some snacks.

Painted Brick

In my deluded mind, this is a lost Os Mutantes B-side that I’ve been sitting on forever and have finally had a chance to record. I think my next album will be strictly bossa-kraut.

Stay Foggy

Like ‘Painted Brick’, this one’s skeletal features date back to the mid-00s and may well have ended up somewhere on the next Lucksmiths album had we not broken ourselves up in 2009. As you hear it now, this song was built up around the repetitive bassline that I had originally put down as a demo to test different ideas on. The lyrics are a murky meditation on a summer spent in the San Francisco fog twenty-odd years ago and, in my reverie, imagining my dear friends there all these years later as a bunch of wharf-dwelling “embarcaderros” sipping cheap chianti and yelling profanities at the seaside hotdog vendor. The chord structures and melodies all fell together so well on top of the bassline that I didn’t need to come up with any bass variations between verse, chorus, etc, which was good news for me as I’m extremely lazy.

Stay Foggy is out officially tomorrow via Lost and Lonesome in Australia (as well as Emotional Response in the US, Meritorio Records in Spain and Royal Mint Records in Finland). Head to to grab the album on limited sea-blue vinyl.