Get to know D.C. with our daily newsletter
We dive deep on the day’s biggest story and share links to everything you need to know.
Circa 1982, Oh-Ok was a totally charming and completely slight jangle-pop outfit from Georgia with one 7-inch “mini album,” Wow, to its credit. Lynda Stipe (yep, Michael’s sister) was the writer-bassist, and Matthew Sweet signed on for the group’s second—and last and best—studio effort, a haunting 1983 EP called Furthermore What. Produced by Mitch Easter, the disc’s six songs emerged fully formed from the spaces between tracks on R.E.M.’s Chronic Town EP—half Southern Gothic, half spastic power-pop. Sexy-cute girl voices crossed out M. Stipe’s sexy-cute mumbling, and Oh-Ok was well acquainted with the inarticulate speech of the heart: Its best song was a chiming, gorgeously incomprehensible number called “Choukoutien,” a purported tribute to Lynda’s childhood horse. Circa 2002, the weirdly obsessed fans at Collectors’ Choice have assembled the tracks from Oh-Ok’s official releases—that would be 10 songs total—with another 13 live cuts that should have been left in the shoeboxes where they were likely stashed for 19 years. Oh-Ok was a studio band. Not in the Steely Dan sense of needing 10 years and copious amounts of blow to complete a single guitar overdub, but rather in the sense of needing ample assistance from studio guru Easter because, well, the players couldn’t actually play so hot. True, the band’s live run-through of Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” is kinda fun, and the previously unreleased “Jumping” features words written by brother Michael back when he was walking on water. Nonetheless, it pays to hit Stop just after “Elaine’s Song,” a lush blur of a tune structured haphazardly around a slow-motion dance beat, an endlessly descending bass line, and the phrase “What say you to me good woman?”—which might as well be the band’s motto. —Shannon Zimmerman