By all rights, L.A.-based Possum Dixon’s second full-length album, 1996’s Star Maps, should have been an unfocused disaster. Band members were beset by serious drug problems and lead singer/songwriter Rob Zabrecky’s wife committed suicide during its recording. The band was following up its first major label LP, which garnered them a pretty big modern rock hit with the single, “Watch That Girl Destroy Me,” a song that seemed tailor-made for one-hit wonder-dom. Amazingly, the band was able to overcome all these barriers and deliver a consistently great, if overlooked, second album.
Lead single “Emergency’s About To End” (download) is as insanely catchy as a single gets, with its Peter Gunn-isms and hook-filled chorus. While the song got some scant alternative radio airplay, it also appeared on the soundtrack for the infamous Showgirls, aka The Greatest Movie Ever Made. Now, I’ve seen Showgirls about 87 kajilion times, but I couldn’t tell you where in the movie “Emergency’s” shows up, if at all. Anyone?
I really wanted to link to the band’s superb video for the single that references Devo’s performance of “Worried Man” in a toxic waste dump from Neil Young’s movie “Human Highway,” but the band’s label, Universal Music, for some reason doesn’t allow it to be embedded from YouTube, so two things:
2. Fuck you, Universal Music. God forbid you allow someone to promote your artists.
Too bad. It’s a great video. Luckily, someone else decided to upload the video for Star Maps’ second single, “Radio Comets,” (download) a more sinister yet no less catchy song, full of Duane Eddy-meets-Devo twang.
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Star Maps is an excellent album and is pretty easy to find kicking around your local used CD store’s bins. A special shout-out goes to “Crashing Your Planet” and “Skid Marks,” two other notable songs from the set. Possum Dixon went on to release a third album, New Sheets, produced by Ric Ocasek, who pushed the band’s New Wave tendencies to the forefront, sadly at the expense of much of the group’s shaky, jittery art-rock edge. New Sheets failed to catch fire and the band called it a day soon after.
FUN FACT: These days, believe it or not, Possum Dixon singer Zabrecky is an accomplished magician who performs regularly at Los Angeles’ famous Magic Castle.
Neither single charted.
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