Opossom

The Auckland-based psych-pop group Opossom were originally the creation of ex-Mint Chicks front-man Kody Neilson (vocals, keyboards, drums), though some Opossom recordings we’re also performed by Kody and Bic – Neilson alonside girlfriend girlfriend Bic Runga (drums, vocals, guitar, keyboards). This duo were eventually joined by Neilson’s former Mint Chicks band-mate Mike Logie (bass) to create a touring 3-piece group.

The group experienced significant positive press on the release of their debut album ‘Electric Hawaii’, and the single ‘Blue Meanies’, in late 2011 / early 2012.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Electric Hawaii [2012 Dark Summer Records]

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Opossom and T54 at Darkroom

Joe Sampson of T54
Joe Sampson of T54

There was a great buzz around this show, well before either group had taken to the stage. Rumours of an early sell-out end up filling Darkroom’s limited capacity several hours before the show had the begun. With a bustling trade the venue was humming, the room warm with eager music fans packed wall to wall, downing craft beers and sheltering for a chilly night in Christchurch.

It was left to T54 to get things started, and the slick local 3-piece we’re just the ticket, drowning the audience in volume with thick, rolling bass, rollicking, snappy drumming and the soaring guitar-work of frontman Joe Sampson. I caught bassist Sam Hood next store at Galaxy records before the show and he was picking up a copy of the new box-set of rarities from German group Can – the flowing, organic vibe of the 1970’s Krautrock mainstays gives a pretty good indication of where some of T54’s many influences lay.

Bic Runga of Opossom
Bic Runga of Opossom

Speaking of Influences, it’s pretty tangible the impact the likes of the Zombies and other 60s/70s Psych-rock groups have had on Opossom’s Kody Neilson. The former Mint Chicks frontman now envelops his songs in a sunny West Coast of the USA haze that sounds particularly wonderful when you have the likes of Bic Runga and Mike Logie as your support band. Runga surprised me with her immense talent as a drummer, pulling of slinky rolls and driving the groups opening 3 songs. F in Math / Die! Die! Die! and former Mint Chicks bassist Mike Logie has altered his own sound to fit the retro sound of Opossom, gorgeous plucked bass rhythms that had the room jumping. With Kody and and Bic sharing vocal and instrument duties the group flew through an infectious array of songs which I wish didn’t end – thankfully their debut album is a ripper!

Check out more photos here

[Published in the Christchurch Press 06/07/2012]

Die! Die! Die! announce new album and New Zealand tour

DIE! DIE! DIE! [updated artist biography]
Brand new album Harmony and NZ tour.

Die! Die! Die!
Die! Die! Die! – with new bassist Michael Logie

July 6th 2012 sees Die! Die! Die! release Harmony, their fourth studio album recorded at Blackbox Studios, France. Harmony brings together the raw energy and emotion from their live shows, encapsulating the savant pop elements within their DIY punk philosophy. Produced by Chris Townend (Portishead, D12, Violent Femmes), and bringing back Shayne P. Carter on vocals, Harmony is set to be THE album of 2012.

Bringing on board bassist Michael Logie (The Mint Chicks, F In Math, Opossom), Die! Die! Die! will tour their face melting shows this July, continuing to evoke fierce loyalty in fans and burn as many bridges as they cross.

Hamilton
Thursday 12th July – Static

Auckland
Friday 13th July – Winchester (95bFM Private Function)

Tauranga
Saturday 14th July “Die Die Die Booze Cruise on the Luvboat” – SOLD OUT!!!

Dunedin
Wednesday 25th July – Crown Hotel

Port Chalmers
Friday 27th July – Chicks Hotel

Christchurch
Saturday 28th July – Dux Live

Wellington
Friday 3rd August – Bodega

TICKETS AVAILABLE FROM UNDERTHERADAR.CO.NZ from Monday 25th June

Die! Die! Die!

Die! Die! Die! are a three-piece Auckland-based band formed by Andrew Wilson (guitar, vocals) and Michael Prain (drums), with Michael Logie (The Mint Chicks, F in Math, Opossum) their current bassist. Prain and Wilson have been playing in groups together since early attending Logan High School together in Dunedin – notably the Smoke-Free Rockquest winning Carriage H (with Tiddy Smith – who would go on to form Idiot Prayer), and then Wellington group Rawer (with Ricky French on Bass). Die! Die! Die! play a dynamic brand of Punk, with military-precise drumming, huge fuzzy bass and guitar that can vary from melodic to cathartic noise.

In 2003 the core duo relocated to Auckland and brought in Kane Goulter (Xanadu) as their next bassist, finally settling on their current name. This line-up was known for playing incredibly rapid sets, touring up and down the country with the likes of the Mint Chicks and Batrider. During 2003 and 2004 the group’s reputation had grown to the point where they were now (rightfully) being dubbed the best live act in New Zealand. Nick Roughan (of the Skeptics) produced several songs with this line-up, which then appeared on various early A Low Hum samplers and other releases in early 2004.

Later in 2004 Goulter gave way bass duties to Henry Oliver, and the group then recorded their debut self-titled EP with Dale Cotton. In 2005 and 2006 they undertook their first of many US and European tours, recording their debut LP with Chicago-based producer Steve Albini (Big Black, The Pixies, Nirvana etc) and mastering the results at Abbey Road in England.

In 2006 Henry Oliver moved on to be replaced by the Australian-born Lachlan Anderson, signed to Tardus Music in New Zealand (their 3rd record label in as many releases), and released their follow-up ep ‘Locust Weeks’. Anderson had been playing in the Brisbane group the French Horns, who had toured with Die! Die! Die! and made a considerable impression on the group. Oliver eventually opened D.O.C. Bar in Auckland.

With Anderson on board the group put together the landmark album ‘Promises, Promises’, their finest collection of songs yet committed to vinyl – with Dunedin music legend Shayne Carter (Bored Games, Double Happys, Straitjacket Fits, Dimmer) producing and mixing the album. A complex, emotionally driven album it shows the group expanding their sound, and solidified their position as one of the best rock acts in New Zealand.

However, it would be over 2 years before the group released the follow-up album ‘Form’ – Nick Roughan returned to produce, and the album is the group’s sole release on the legendary Flying Nun label, which had just been re-established by original founder Roger Shepphard. With their previous album the group had developed a strong template, and although the new album didn’t expand on this you can still consider the album on the great New Zealand rock releases. A fine mix of explosive rhythm and guitar, and again highly emotive vocals.

Anderson eventually left the group in 2011, though he does appear on several tracks from their 4th album ‘Harmony’, to be released on the groups own ‘Record etcetc’ label and distributed via Rhythmethod. Michael Logie was eventually brought in for bass duties in 2012, appearing on several of the album’s songs and augmenting their live line-up.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Die! Die! Die! Ep [2005 Unstable ApeUAR041]
  • Die! Die! Die! [2005 Capitol Recordings CREC1034, Pet Piranha Records PP020, SAF RecordsSAF15]
  • Locust Weeks Ep [2006 Targus MusicTAR010]
  • Promises, Promises [2007 Tardus Music / Etch and Sketch / SAF RecordsSAF20]
  • At the Echo Live EP [2007 Kufala RecordingsKUF0187]
  • Form [2010 Flying NunFN504]
  • Harmony [2012 Records Etcetera]

Music Videos

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The Mint Chicks

Excellent post-punk band taking in equal measures of Voidoids style angular guitar and Blood Brothers style furious hardcore screaming and breakbeat crunch. A talented 4-piece with an excellent grounding in music production, they were snapped up by Flying Nun after building a strong live reputation in auckland during 2002-3. ‘licking letters’ is the first single, coming from the break-through Octagon, Octagon, Octagon Ep, and is a jerky, stop-start ripper, few bands have shown such intensity committed to plastic.

With the Nielson brothers Ruban (Guitar) and Kody (Vocals), Michael Logie (Bass) and Paul Roper (Drums), they were a very free-roaming band. Kody is a lively frontman, dancing like a man possessed, jumping round the stage, and fiddling with an on-stage effects unit, while the band falls perfectly in place for all their quick-cutting squeels and explosions of sound. They followed up the debut with an equally spastic sophmore EP Anti-Tiger – repeating an earlier new-wave inflected single. The band have toured Australia and even made the big jump to a British tour, accumulating a stack of the usual NME/Spin etc hype.

Their much-anticipated full-length debut seemed like a bit of a flattening out for the group. After receiving an absolute avalanche of attention (thanks to a bit of biffo during the groups South By South-West performance in Austin Texas, and thrilling big day out crowds with acrobatics and a little bit of chainsaw welding; Fuck The Golden Youth mostly revisited their earlier material, though with new noisier, but less jagged versions of the earlier songs, plus a couple well received singles (‘Opium Of The People’ was a highlight).
the group have since retreated a litte, with side-projects floating about while the group prepare their sophmoric album.

August 2006 saw the release of Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!, which contained poppy singles ‘Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!’, ‘Walking Off a Cliff Again’ and ‘She’s Back On Crack’, indicating a new direction and ambition from the group. As Kody and Ruben are dual-citizens of NZ and the United States, the brothers spent a the next couple years living in both Auckland and Portland, Oregon. Mike Logie left the group during 2008 (though he did appear during later performances), and the groups success continue, with album Screens being the catalyst. However in 2010 the group finally decided to dissolve, with Mike Logie surfacing in a solo capacity as F in Math (and later joining Die! Die! Die!, Ruben Neilson in US-based group Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Kody Neilson forming Opossom alongside Bic Runga (Mike Logie later joined as bassist).

Discography (picks in bold)

  • ‘Post Bo Bills’ single [2003]
  • Octagon, Octagon, Octagon EP [2003 Flying Nun Fn480]
  • The Blue Split 7″ [2004 W/ Whilrwind Heat Flying Nun Fn481]
  • ‘Opium Of The People’ single [2004 Flying Nun]
  • ‘Anti-Tiger’/Octagon, Octagon, Octagon (Live)’ 7″ Tour Single [2004 Flying Nun Tour Only]
  • Anti-Tiger Cd / 10″ EP [2004 Flying Nun Fn486]
  • Fuck The Golden Youth 3″ Cd / 7″ Single [2005 Flying Nun Fn492]
  • Fuck The Golden Youth [2005 Flying Nun Fn493]
  • ‘I Don’t Want to Grow Old’ single [2005 Flying Nun]
  • ‘Take It, I Don’t Want It’ single [2005 Flying Nun]
  • Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! [2006 Flying Nun Fn499]
  • ‘Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!’ single [2007 Flying Nun]
  • ‘Welcome to Nowhere’ single [2007 Flying Nun]
  • ‘Sleeping During the Day’ single [2007 Flying Nun]
  • ‘Walking Off a Cliff Again’ single [2007 Flying Nun]
  • ‘If My Arm Was a Mic Stand, Would You Hold My Hand?’ single [2008 Flying Nun]
  • ‘She’s Back on Crack’ single [2008 Flying Nun]
  • Mintunes EP [2008 Self-Released]
  • Screens [2009 Flying Nun]
  • ‘Life Will Get Better Some Day’ single [2009 Flying Nun]
  • ‘I Can’t Stop Being Foolish’ single [2009 Flying Nun]
  • ‘Hot on Your Heels single [2009 Flying Nun]
  • ‘Don’t Sell Your Brain Out, Baby’ single [2009 Flying Nun]
  • ‘She’s a Mod’ single [2009 Flying Nun]
  • Bad Buzz USB EP [2010 MusicHy.pe]

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