Oh boy, oh boy, it’s time for the 12 Months of (Rare, Unreleased) OK Go. There’s really not that much more to explain than that. Every month this year, we will be sending out some previously unheard OK Go tracks — demos, cover songs, obscure originals, live cuts, and more. To hear the latest and greatest jams from the archives, simply subscribe to the OK Go mailing list (see the upper right corner of this very screen) and watch your inbox every month.
It’s back to the super-secret stash of unreleased covers this month for a totally burning rough instrumental cut of “Nite Klub” by the second wave ska act The Specials. Listen closely and you can hear Damian singing the words live in the room. And just as we’re not sure what ska-wave we’re up to currently, it doesn’t matter that Damian’s vocals never made it to the final mix, because the theme of this recording is DANIMAL IN YOUR FACE. Turn it up and dance. And feel free to sample the living beejeezus out of the five-count-’em-five drum breaks.
As James Brown said: give the drummer some.
Here’s what Dan remembers about the session:
I remember playing “Nite Klub” to a click, which was difficult because of the momentum and solo-ish-ness of all the breaks. Fun as hell, though. You can kind of hear that I was having a blast. I remember I was trying to channel a gospel rave-up church band kind of vibe. Like something from Blues Brothers.
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Where we come from, the celebration of spring is marked by the tradition of driving-around-too-fast-with-open-car-windows. To celebrate, this month’s Unreleased mp3 of the Month is a cover song from one of the great drive-around-too-fast-with-open-car-windows albums of all time, The Breeders’ Last Splash. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to do the same. Within all local speed limits, of course.
Here’s what Damian has to say about it:
I spent a lot of high school listening to The Breeders’ album Pod, and so I bought Last Splash the day it came out. It was the end of the summer before my senior year. Those songs will always feel like summer to me, and with today being the first t-shirt outside day I’ve had all year, it feels like the right time for a throw-back.
March’s song is a piping fresh song recorded with Dave Fridmann in Fredonia called “I’m Not Through.”
The reason you have the opportunity to hear this song is because we, OK Go, are working with the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi on the 2013 edition of their Music Video Challenge. Put another way: until we finish this album we’re going to be too busy making music to make a video of our own, so we want you to make one and share it with the world. There’ll be a panel (including Damian) to pick the best, and the winner will be invited to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity in June. There’ll be a People’s Choice winner, too, and a website compiling all the submissions. You can learn more here.
Celebrating the Season of the Tim (new PYYRAMIDS album en route!), Tim recounts the recording of his unreleased demo, “Make Up Your Mind”:
“Make Up Your Mind” is a demo that was recorded sometime between our first and second record. I recorded the song in my bedroom while sharing an apartment in Chicago with our former guitarist Andy Duncan. Andy did a lot of the programming, played keys, and a wonderful slow and melodic Duncansian guitar solo in the middle of the song. The solo always kind of sounded like George Harrison to me. “Make Up Your Mind” was written for a friend who was having really difficult relationship problems with her boyfriend at the time. She was incredibly confused by him because he didn’t know whether he wanted in or out of the relationship. She told me he voiced his confusion with lines like, “I mean we’re just two really different people, you like to drive a car and I like to take the bus and ride my bike.” I really wanted to use that line, but couldn’t figure out a way to make it fit rhythmically. But man, I tried. Anyway, I felt bad for her and wanted to try to cheer her up with a song.
The series begins appropriately with a demo from 2004 called “This Thing Has Started” that might sound familiar to some of your ears. Here’s Danimal to explain it:
This was recorded right around the time we were getting ready to record our 2nd record, Oh No. We recorded quite a few of those songs (including “This Thing Has Started”) at Damian’s place in LA in the summer of 2004. We set up the drums right in the center of his living room and tracked for I think about ten days with Ken Sluiter engineering the session. He’s a great friend and engineer we kept from our Chicago days. I remember getting hooked on coffee that session. I had never really drank coffee until then and remember being amazed by the caffeine jolt I got from it. I knew then exactly what everybody was so damn excited about when we’d take breaks for Starbucks while on tour.