Album Review: The Cleaners From Venus – Living With Victoria Grey

I sometimes wonder if Martin Newell gets tired of all the Ray Davies comparisons. I mean, the man (Newell) has released something like thirty or forty albums (many of these on cassette, back in the 1980s) as Cleaners From Venus, Brotherhood of Lizards, and under his own name. While many of these were zero-budget, decidedly

Album Review: Cleaners from Venus – The Late District

On The Late District, Cleaners From Venus (the nom de pop of Martin Newell) depart ever-so-subtly from their winsome brand of pastoral, homespun pop. Newell dials back (but certainly doesn’t wholly eliminate) his powerpop tendencies, instead focusing more on his ability to craft slice-of-life vignettes that evoke his native Anglia. As he describes it, The

Album Review: The Cleaners From Venus – In Chimp World

In a world rife with uncertainty, it’s comforting to know that some things remain sturdily reliable. One of these things is Cleaners From Venus, the nom de rock of Martin Newell and his latest partner in chime (heh), Dave Allen. Resurrecting the band/project name he more or less retired some twenty-plus years ago, Newell released

Album Review: Eamon Ra — Meat Bones Chemicals Electricity

The album title telegraphs that Eamon Ra is something of an eccentric artist. That the LP comes packed with a magazine-sized lyric/comic book only serves to reinforce that impression. And then when one digs into the music itself (as one most assuredly should), the discovery is that this character belongs in that rarefied place wherein

Capsule Reviews for May 2017, Part Two

The Lancashire Hustlers – Adventures (Steep Hill Music) This London duo – Brent Thorley and Ian Pakes – has clearly come of age on a steady diet of Magical Mystery Tour-era Beatles, Electric Light Orchestra, Arthur-era Kinks, Small Faces circa Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake and other fine influences. But there’s a pleasing DIY sensibility that

Quick Takes, Part Three

Today I take a quick look at ten archival releases of note. Tim Buckley — Wings: The Complete Singles 1966-1974 The music of Tim Buckley (yeah, late father of the late Jeff Buckley) has earned a reputation as difficult. And while I’m not here to flatly counter that impression, I must say that this collection

Quick Takes, Part One

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, these days I spend the majority of my time writing for print publications. Altweeklies across the USA, music and entertainment magazines in the U.S. And abroad, and so on. But I continue to receive CDs for potential review, and while I’ve had to make the “gatekeeping” more stringent, I

Anton Barbeau’s Traveling Magic Act, Part 1

From my point of view, it’s a strange world in which a recording artist can craft highly melodic, accessible tunes, release a long string of consistently well-regarded albums, and still go largely unnoticed in the commercial marketplace. But of course, such circumstances happen all the time. Even if one allows for the lack of commercial

The Corner Laughers Let the Music Do the Selling

It’s a source of some mild amusement that when I Google “corner laughers,” the right-hand side of the resulting screen lists a number of the Bay Area group’s songs as dating from 1971. I’m pretty certain that at least two of the group’s number – bassist Khoi Huynh and his spouse, vocalist/ukulele player Karla Kane

Honeymoon Hundred-word Reviews, Part 2

I’m on my honeymoon this week, so I thought it would be a good time to offer up some backlog-clearing entries in my occasional series of Hundred Word Reviews. And though the musical styles are all over the map, there’s a theme of sorts this time: each of the acts reviewed has been covered previously,