28 November 2007

"the homecoming queen's got a gun" || julie brown || 1984

Before she played Candy in Earth Girls Are Easy or the gym teacher in clueless, comedienne Julie Brown recorded a couple of records in the early 80's. The result: Hilarity, and having Julie's undeniable valley-girl personality pressed on vinyl.

"Homecoming Queen" was the first of Julie's songs that got her any attention, mostly thanks to it being played on novelty & college radio. It first appeared on a mini-album that she recorded for Rhino Records in 1984 entitled Goddess In Progress.

The song recounts a fateful homecoming eve at a very doomed high school. Debbie, the singer's best friend, suddenly becomes disgruntled (for reasons that are never disclosed), and begins to blow her classmates away with a pistol as she stands on the homecoming float. And, of course, at the end of the song, she has an epic, old-western-style death scene.

Only Julie Brown could have the vision to make school shootings funny.

Of course, this was pre-school-shooting era, so I'm quite certain that if this song were written and released today, FOX News would be up in arms about it. Thankfully, it was written at the right time, and everyone can look at it with the same chuckle.

Listen to it here. (The uncensored version!)

26 November 2007

"party train" || the gap band || 1983

Ah, funk music. Why hasn't there been anything quite like it since the 1970's?

Oh wait, there was. It was called P.Funk, and it extended into the 80's.

Take the classic funk sound, pump it up with some hefty synth drivers, and you've got P.Funk!

Now put that sound in the hands of an already-established funk act, and you've got one of the greatest P.Funk songs of all time -- The Gap Band's 1983 single "Party Train."

I must admit: This song holds a special place in my heart thanks to my on-campus residence. This year is my fourth as a resident of McCormack Hall, which is placed ever-so-delicately right next to a set of railroad tracks. Hence the common nickname for the train: The Party Train!

After I snagged a copy of this song's 7" single, it became custom for me to stop what I was doing and throw it on the turntable every time I heard the PT approaching. And every time I'm boogieing to this groove, I still hear the rumbling train behind McCormack.

Listen to it here.

25 November 2007

"new york / n.y." || nina hagen || 1983

Warning: Today's track is not for the faint of heart.

German art-rock princess Nina Hagen looks like she's insane. In fact, she probably is insane. But it doesn't matter; bitch pulls it off.

After messing around with some German punk bands in the 70's and a brief struggle with the German border patrol (read about it...it's interesting), Nina finally split off on her own and release her first album, Angstlos (english: Fearless), in 1983.

She had a breakout alt-radio hit with "New York, New York," -- a track consisting of simple synth-pop music and screechy, screaming, operatic vocals. You might be frightened the first time you hear it, but one thing is certain: You know damn well that Nina loves New York.

Listen to it here.

24 November 2007

"carmé" || rockwell || 1986

Everyone who knows anything about music has heard Rockwell's 1984 track "Somebody's Watching Me," a haunting downtempo funk number about a paranoid dude.

But I'll bet you've never heard any other tracks from that LP, let alone any tracks from his 1986 follow-up, The Genie.

Subtract Michael Jackson singing the hook and add lots of production value, and you'll have Rockwell's not-quite-so-successful single from The Genie, "Carmé." It too falls under the snappy electro funk guise, but it's oh-so-much-more than his only hit. It's slightly more uptempo than "Somebody's Watching Me," but the lyrical content is equally obfuscated. I couldn't tell you what the hell a "Carmé" is, but it sure does make me want to dance.

This is the type of song that you know requires a video clip with bright colors, ridiculous hair, and would probably do best against the backdrop of a shopping mall.

Listen to it here.

19 November 2007

Welcome to Traxx!

Welcome to my land of Traxx.

I'm Maxwell K, and I love music.

When I was two years old, my dad was speeding down Poplar Level Rd. with me in the backseat. Smokey Robinson's "Tears Of A Clown" was playing on the radio, and I began to yell the word "shield" after I heard it in the song, because I'd recognized it from the brand of soap that my dad had pointed out to me earlier that day.

This was the beginning of a beautiful relationship between me and car stereos.

I do nothing in life without music. Almost every day, someone explains to me how they saw me on campus and tried to say hi, but I couldn't hear them because my headphones were in. Although I'm always apologetic, I know my ways will never change.

My life needs a soundtrack.

This is where I'll share my soundtrack with you.

I have a reputation of being "that guy who likes weird music." Friends often remark that although they've never heard of most of the music that I listen to, they enjoy it profusely. Thus the inspiration for my blog; I'll be sharing this "weird music" here.

Each post will be about a track of which I'm particularly fond on that day. Hopefully you've never heard of any of the songs that I'll write about, and if you have, hopefully you haven't thought about them in a long time.

Enjoy my traxx.