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Live Music Week happens bi-annually at WERS to raise money to keep our station running. We ask if you can pledge your support in order to keep us live on air, bringing you live performances from your favorite musicians. Pledges can be made here.
Kody Nielson and his band Opposom are a psych-pop project from New Zealand who stopped by WERS for Live Music Week. Nielson is from the same family both genetically and musically as Ruban Nielson of Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Opposom plays fuzzy and trippy rock tunes with surprisingly catchy pop melodies. It is considered to be Kody Nielson’s “solo project” although he laughed at the mention of this. Their unkempt and nonchalant appearance seemed like it was “their thing” until they started playing in a manner quite the opposite.
The band opened their set with “Fly”, a song off their latest release, Electric Hawaii. The band’s sound was tight and on point, and Nielson revealed himself as an unlikely proficient musician. The song sounded like a fleshed out Belle and Sebastian track, with sharp keys over a busy rhythm section consisting of bass and drums all with a sweet indie-pop melody.
The keyboard took a break on the verse of the next song, “Blue Meanings”. This left it to the rhythm section to fill the musical void, and the two instruments made an impressive amount of noise. The absence of the keyboard made the chorus sound like a sonic explosion when it chimed in. The bassist played an old school Rickenbacker made famous by Paul McCartney, and the Beatles influence did not stop there. Their dense and psychedelic sound did not hinder them from making accessible and catchy music, and the harmony between the two was a prevalent theme throughout the performance.
The last song the band performed was their latest single, “Girl”, only not at all like the single version. The band displayed an incredible amount of musicianship with their interplay, particularly during the outro. They had a little mini-jam at the end, performing single notes sporadically, yet all somehow in unison.
Opossom’s new record, Electric Hawaii, is all self recorded and produced by Nielson, who has history as a record producer. Self producing to him “isn’t necessarily important, it just seems easier for me. I would happily work with a good producer, but I enjoy doing it.” Their vintage and psychedelic sound can be attributed to Nielson’s use of analog gear, which he “found reasons to use, to try to find crunchy drum sounds and stuff like that. I have a good idea about what I want something to sound like when I start,” he continued, “but I like to stay sort of open-minded about the process.” This idea reflected his performance, which, if anything, was surely an “open-minded” musical experience.