More Mitch Hedberg stuff to come in a few days —
CLEANERS FROM VENUS – 3 albums (1982-84)
One thing, see one keyword that really, really makes me uninterested in an album download is “cassette”. Cassette-only underground releases from the ’80s (especially the ones frequently posted by my favorite MP3 blog of all-time, Mutant Sounds) have almost uniformly left me cold, except for the work of one Martin Newell. This shit is just too catchy to ignore, or not to share. Trouser Press sez:
Comparable in some ways to the American national treasure R. Stevie Moore, Martin Newell’s work is a delightful diary of one man’s pop obsessions. As the Cleaners From Venus, with assorted collaborators, singer, guitarist and keyboardist Newell (who had been part of the pre-Clash/Gen X band London SS) began issuing charming, offbeat cassettes of his kitschy and clever originals in 1981. The fifth of these (Under Wartime Conditions) became the band’s first vinyl â€” in Germany. Rudimentary and casual, but musically substantial and indicative of anything-goes pop talent, the LP has elements of XTC, Mike Oldfield (“The Winter Palace” instrumental, which sounds like it’s being played on water glasses, bears a resemblance to “Tubular Bells”), odd bits of talking and sonic ephemera and, significantly, a “Song for Syd Barrett.”
There is something to be said for “the cause of music unafflicted by the manipulations of the music business”, which is what underground cassette culture of the the ’80s offered and indeed what Newell loved to espouse in interviews he gave during the period — but I find that the Cleaners From Venus represented the very best of that subculture, and not much else I’ve heard (and that now encompasses quite a lot) reached what he achieved with this band.