One of the most desired unreleased records of the New Wave era will finally receive an official release, nearly three decades after it was put on the shelf. The Motels’ Apocalypso was rejected for its lack of commercial appeal by Capitol Records, which accidentally led the band to a path of brief fame in the 1980s…but it’s going to be fun to wonder “what if?” with this set.
In 1981, The Motels – lead singer Martha Davis, guitarist Tim McGovern, keyboardist/saxophonist Marty Jourard, bassist Michael Goodroe and drummer Brian Glascock – were doing pretty well. The band had been signed to Capitol since 1979, following a popular but unsigned incarnation of the band in the mid-’70s (of which Davis was the only holdover). Their first records were moderately successful, particularly in Europe and Australia, but their domestic popularity didn’t stretch further than the L.A. club scene.
For their third album, the band booked sessions with producer Val Garay (who would win a Grammy in a year’s time for producing “Bette Davis Eyes” for Kim Carnes) and recorded a clutch of songs that were incredibly heavy, dark and rock-oriented. (The band was apparently aware of the record’s lack of commercial potential, never sending rough mixes to their label for review.) Where did the weight come from? A good guess lies in the aftermath of the Apocalypso sessions: Davis and McGovern, who were dating, split both personally and professionally. (McGovern went on to form New Wave outfit Burning Sensations, and guitarist Guy Perry was picked to finish out the new sessions.)
The next batch of sessions, also recorded with Garay and using some of the same material, was far more commercially friendly, and it showed. All Four One peaked at No. 16 in the U.S., thanks to the mournful ballad “Only the Lonely,” which reached No. 9. The band still thought highly enough of Apocalypso to call All Four One their fourth album, and included four of the original versions on a remastered and expanded edition of that album in 1999.
This new release, however, from indie label Omnivore Recordings (the same label that presented the special vinyl reissue of Big Star’s Third this past Record Store Day), presents all of the original 10 tracks meant to complete the Apocalypso album. It will be released on both CD and 1,200 copies on translucent orange vinyl. The CD version, though, will add seven bonus tracks, including five of Martha Davis’ demos and an alternate version of lead track “Art Fails,” sourced from a rare acetate. (The five demos will also be separately released as a digital EP.)
Both sets are out August 9. Hit the jump for full track breakdown and order info on what looks to be an exciting release for Motels fans!
Apocalypso (Omnivore Recordings OV-7, 2011)
- Art Fails
- Tragic Surf
- Only the Lonely
- So L.A.
- Mission of Mercy
- Lost But Not Forgotten
- Who Could Resist That Face
- Sweet Destiny
- Art Fails (Alternate)
- Don’t You Remember (4-Track Demo)
- Tragic Surf (4-Track Demo)
- Fiasco (4-Track Demo)
- Obvioso (4-Track Demo)
- Only the Lonely (4-Track Demo)
- Only the Lonely (TV Mix)
Tracks 1-3 and 5-7 re-recorded for All Four One (Capitol, 1981). Tracks 4-5, 7 and 9 released on 1999 remaster of that album (Capitol 20696).