Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Oh-OK “The Complete Reissue”

 (HHBTM) In the 80s, before “Alternative Rock,” or even “Indie” caught on as terms, the kids called it “College Rock,” which pretty much meant REM. But to me the perfect examples of “College Rock” were Oh-OK and Jandek, for one simple reason: I NEVER saw a copy of any Jandek LP orof Oh-OK’s “Furthermore What” album at a used record store or garage sale that didn’t have the call letters of a college station scrawled across it in black Sharpie. I just pulled out “Furthermore What” (finally allowing my Ohio Players and O’Jays records to touch, as they’ve been yearning for for years), and it says “WMXM,” but I remember seeing it with Providence, Chicago, and New York college stations written on it as well. That said, I actually had never seen or heard the band’s first EP from ’83 (which is better because it’s sparer, despite Matthew Sweet joining the band for “Furthermore” – and when I goggled it to see the cover it had “WFMU” sprawled on it!), and of course, I never heard the live tracks that round out this brief career overview of a too-brief career. The early 80s Athens, GA femme-fronted minimalist pop act had teenage playfulness balanced by somewhat haunting vocal qualities, and was a great bridge between the few punky girl acts in the 70s (you can make tenuous comparisons to Raincoats or Slits) and the Pacific Northwest riot grrls of the 90s (comparisons to the Olympia acts are way more accurate). Also, though I may miss the Sharpie marks, this cover art is a million times better than “Furthermore”’s cat cover. I bet Sugarfoot will appreciate that when I slip this on the shelf.

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