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The Very Best of Cleaners from Venus

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Martin Newell is a formidable pop talent whose reputation is principally known to hardcore music enthusiasts. His British pop/rock was initially recorded at home, released on cassettes sold through mail order. Eventually, he made it into a proper recording studio and rerecorded his material with an extra shine that has divided his cult. Some audience members prefer the homespun charm of the original releases; even though they're lower-fidelity, they feature focused performances (unlike many other cassette-underground artists of the '80s). Fans of Robyn Hitchcock surely will find a kindred spirit in the charming melodies and literate lyrics of "Ilya Kuryakin Looked at Me," "Girl on a Swing," "Victoria Grey," "Clara Bow," and "Mercury Girl." Though none of these songs charted, they sound like hits from a forgotten era, where '60s songwriting values were updated for '70s new wave and spun for '80s college radio. For the final four tracks here, collaborator Giles Smith reads excerpts from his autobiographical memoir of the time, Lost in Music.


Formed: 1980 in Wivenhoe, Essex, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s

The most extensive of singer/songwriter Martin Newell's various projects, Cleaners from Venus recorded some of the finest -- and most neglected -- British pop/rock of the 1980s. The Cleaners' failure to find a wider audience is due at least in part to their unconventional method of distribution. After a short, bitter experience in the music business recording for a large label, Newell retreated to his home studio at the beginning of the '80s, determined not to have to play by the usual compromising...
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The Very Best of Cleaners from Venus, Cleaners from Venus
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