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Opossums – straight out of Memphis USA and into your ears

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Welcome to the show which today is brought to you by bedroom lo-fi furry little critters Opossums. We’ve got a double spin in the studio from these Memphis-based, garage-pop, post-punk, stripped back recording genii. You’re in for a real treat as we lift the lid on the new LP from Opossums, direct from the ever-growing catalogue from Black and Wyatt Records. We play one track from the new release and one track from a previous recording.

Also in the show today is the return of the mighty Andi Hanley and his reworking of NuNorthern Soul classics. The whole LP is a testament to Andi’s talent and comes as a FTBOTRB Recommendation. Find out more about Andi later in today’s show notes. Following on from that, we received a pre-release copy of Normil Hawaiian’s classic 1984 LP What’s Going On? This release from Upset the Rhythm label sees the original LP remastered including 7 bonus tracks. It is presented on heavyweight vinyl, limited to 500 copies and includes copious amounts of sleeve notes and photographs. It also includes hand numbered Louise Michel poster, glossy gatefold cover, inner lyric sleeve and booklet.

Tobin brings us New Music with the childlike enthusiasm of Beef Gordon, tastes as good as it sounds apparently. You could have listened to this 3 weeks ago on it’s release for less than the price of a cup of coffee right here. In stark contrast to the loose, thrash beats of Opossums comes the musically tight funk and soul of Mali’s finest export Songhoy Blues. Bamako is a banger of a track from these very talented funk-meisters. We certainly want to hear more from Songhoy Blues. Oh, sorry, did anyone mention Black Pumas? We’ve got a bookend from Eric and Adrian of Black Pumas fame!



Track Listing

  1. Fire Black Pumas
  2. Got So Long Andi Hanley, B.J. Smith
  3. Ignorance is Strength Normil Hawaiians
  4. Looking’ Like A Cookie Opossums
  5. ABC Beef Gordon
  6. Bamako Songhoy Blues
  7. Left In The Ground Opossums
  8. Oct 33 Black Pumas

What’s Going On? is a masterclass in inventive tape collage, intuitive songwriting and long-form improvised composition. A colossal album of experiments in British kosmische!

Upset the Rhythm

Opossums – new LP from Black & Wyatt Records

Official Opossums one sheet

Formed during the summer of 2018, Opossums is the brainchild of Patrick Jordan (vocals, guitar). The band was created to put a new spin on Jordan’s previously released lo-fi home 4-track recordings. To do so, Mississippi transplants Jesse Mansfield (bass, production) and Liv Hernandez (drums) were recruited to give the songs a more immediate “live” feel.

To date, they have released two mini albums of punchy, concise “garage pop” songs and one full length LP on Memphis-based label Black & Wyatt Records collecting their favorite cuts from the two. The long history of Memphis power pop, punk rock, and garage rock is a pronounced influence on their music, as well as British Invasion, 60’s psych nuggets, and breakneck English punk rock. They cut to the chase by plugging straight in, recording live to tape at home, minimising overdubs, and keeping songs relatively unembellished. They are currently touring around the southeast region of the US.

Opossums

Photo © Mike McCarthy

Opossums are medium-sized omnivorous North American marsupials… Opossums is also the moniker of a three-piece band of Memphis-based musicians who specialize in catchy rock-and-roll songs…

The Memphis Flyer

Official FTBOTRB review of Opossums

As soon as we dropped the needle on this you could hear the punk pedigree right off the bat. Minimal production and distorted guitar riffs signal the ride you’re about to embark on. And yet, track 2 (Love Machine) bears slightly off this trajectory as jangly UK indie style guitars join the fray. You’re soon thrown back into the power garage pop that Opossums seem to have mastered at a very base level.

The music here harks back to simpler times when bands were formed between friends in bedrooms and garages bridging cultural and societal gaps. Long before the music industry created music for mass consumption and force fed the public with bland, dull tunes performed by people chosen for their appearance rather than their talent there was music like Opossums. It’s a refreshing change to hear the rather unpolished tunes presented in this release, and there is humour here too. The comical synth melodies on Worried lift the sounds to something more personal and inquisitive.

Opossums have created a sound from times gone by here and it’s a welcome change to a lot of live music we hear in the music scene here in the UK. Of the pubs that still play live music many succumb to the lure of tribute acts rather than original music like Opossums. They are recreating here the very essence of independent music which is vital, raw, visceral and of an importance that outweighs its constituent parts.

Summing up…

Overall, this release is both forward looking and a historical roll back of a few decades. Opossums are inspirational in their approach and make you want to pick up a guitar and thrash out a tune. It’s a wake up call for musicians everywhere who are slavishly churning out covers and tributes acts. Time to get back to what music should really be; original, creative and thought provoking.

Who is Andi Hanley?

Manchester music head Andi Hanley is a great, great DJ and low-key, charming individual who shook up the New York music scene for 15 years. Now back in his native Greater Mancunia (Swine Town to be precise) he has leant his hand to remixing the back catalogue of Phil Cooper. As NuNorthern Soul enjoys another year of success Andi Hanley has reworked a large part of the catalogue, his edits are startling, often doubling running length. It’s a rich listen and is highly recommended by FTBOTRB. Go take a listen…


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