The subversive pop of Opposite Sex will warm the heart of anyone who viewed the heady years of 1978-1982 (Rough Trade Records including the NME’s C81 Cassette, No Wave and the start of Flying Nun Records in NZ) as a watershed period in alternative music – a time when there were no rules and anything seemed possible.
The sound of the trio is, they say, “an absurdist-logico mix of Euro pop, Beat poetry, and subterranean lo-fi adventuring.” Although their music ranges from oddly poppy carnival waltzes to manic, melodic post-punk and no wave, this is no retro exercise: the album is their own unique genre-defying trip through the experimental subversive pop underground of their imaginations
We are very happy how this album has come out… particularly considering how it was really all an accident. OK so you can’t record an album by accident but what we mean is that the sessions that resulted in the album were not planned to be anything more than some demos to give the band a record of their live set and for us to hear what these unusual songs we had heard played live would sound like recorded. We thought that, if things went really well, there might be a couple of songs Fishrider could release as a single maybe…
We first met and heard the band in Gisborne in February 2011 and recorded the songs that became the album in Dunedin in mid-April. The the band took up our invitation to record some demos at Fishrider one weekend after they relocated from Gisborne to Dunedin and ended up recording 14 songs over two afternoons.
Looking back at the recording session notes for these songs about a third of the songs were single takes, another third required two takes, the rest three takes. Bands are always recorded live in the same room at Fishrider. There’s lots of spill between the microphones and it is all kept as natural and relaxed as possible, just like a practice. Opposite Sex were a joy to work with. They just played their songs and we all knew straight away if the take was a “keeper” or not.
By the end of the weekend it was obvious to me that there was a strong and diverse album in those songs and I wanted to release them as an album. I hadn’t heard music as exciting, primal, odd and utterly enchanting as this since the very early 80s no wave period. Fishrider Records isn’t “music industry”: it’s “music arts & crafts” so we thought there was no point messing around with singles and EPs to establish Opposite Sex and develop their market or whatever the industry terminology is these days… let’s do this old-school, we thought, like the 1970s, when a band announced their arrival with a debut album.
We enlisted the help of Fishrider Record’s regular mixing guru Tom Bell to apply some of his magic to the Fishrider Studio recordings. It was a very cold winter in Dunedin with several snow storms and periods of sub-zero temperatures. Tom reckons his bed was the warmest place in the house where his studio is located so he mixed some of this album in bed.
And so, 7 months later the album first became available from 7 November 2011 as a download, CD digipak and (by mid-November) in a limited edition (of 150) vinyl pressing, and ready to work it’s way into the consciousness of the planet’s discerning music community. We love it at Fishrider – we hope you will too.
UPDATE: April 2012 – Now this extraordinary “truly pure and slightly feral” album is to be released in the UK on LP and CD formats by Fishrider in conjunction with Occultation Recordings