Song About Serial Killers and Nuclear War

I wrote a thing about soundtracks (again) at Mostly-Retro if you’re interested. And I also did a quick write-up about an awesome arcade in San Francisco that you should check out.

Now for awesome songs by bands you’ve probably never heard of.

The Hitmen
Bates Motel
After exhausting the rarities collections of just about every well-known new wave artist worth my time, I think I’m finally going to have to start crate digging for the forgotten side-notes of the era. I’m sure there were a ton of great new wave acts out there that got lost in the shuffle, and I intend on finding them. I’ve already done this a bit in the past. I’ve written numerous times on the brilliance of Polyrock, and about half of Urgh! is a who’s who of “who’s that?” from the 80s post-punk and new wave scenes, but I really have to start digging deeper. So if anyone has any suggestions, please shoot them my way. And yes, I am aware of Lost Bands of the New Wave Era, and am currently combing their archives. I’m also on the lookout for every band that’s tangentially related to my favorite unsung new wave act, The Wild Swans, so I’m already on the aware of Care, Teardrop Express, Lotus Eaters, The Woodentops and The Lightning Seeds.

And of course there are The Hitmen, a band I already kind of knew thanks to their appearance on one of the 101 Records compilations I found a few years back (which I’ll be re-uploading as well as a third compilation in the coming months). From the comments that post got, I know that The Hitmen put out two albums, and that at one point Depeche Mode’s Alan Wilder was in the group, but I don’t think he recorded anything with them either than a single. Their track on the 101 album is “She’s All Mine,” and while it’s a pretty good tune, it’s also pretty generic. It sounds like a pub rock reject from a Dave Edmunds jam session, or like I said back when I wrote about I the first time, an Elvis Costello b-side.

“Bates Motel,” on the other hand, is pretty great. It was a single off of the band’s second (and last) LP and even had a video that made it to MTV at some point.

There aren’t a lot of horror-themed new wave tracks, in fact I can’t think of any at the moment (although I’m sure I’ll be corrected on that shortly), so “Bates Motel” is a pretty unique track that’s worth a listen. It definitely makes me want to track down a copy of the album from which it came to see if there’s anything else on it worth hearing.

Fay Ray
Modern Lovers
Fay Ray are another band who should have made it big but didn’t. They only released one album, Contact You, in 1982 and that was it. Like The Hitmen, I discovered them on a 101 Live compilation, but unlike The Hitmen, I can tell I’m not the only person on the Internet to become someone obsessed with them. They were showcased on Lost Bands of the New Wave era, and they continue to pop up on other blogs dedicated to lesser-known acts (this one included). I routinely read rumors that Contact You is going to get a CD re-release with bonus cuts, but after reading that for six years, I’m starting to have doubt that will ever happen. Still, I don’t want to post the entire album in case it does, so I thought I would post these album highlights instead.

“Heatwave” is the clear standout track on the LP, and was the closest thing the group had to a hit, probably in part to their awesome video for the tune. As new wave tracks about nuclear war go, it’s pretty great. Not as great, but still killer is “Modern Lovers.” It’s the most upbeat track on the album, and it also has a video, one that is also sublimely 80s in all the best ways.

6 Responses to “Song About Serial Killers and Nuclear War”

  1. regularjoe says:

    No “My Name is Norman Bates” by Landscape?

    Also, Miles Fischer’s video marriage of “American Psycho” and the Talking Heads is not to be missed.

  2. rb says:

    Can you please re-post Lou Reed remixes Red Joystick & Original Wrapper any others? Thanks.

  3. Lost Turntable says:

    Done, check out the latest post.

  4. Is that the same Hitmen that ex-Depeche Mode keyboardist Alan Wilder used to be in?

  5. Nm… gotta learn to read…

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