Line Out Music & the City at Night

Monday, October 24, 2011

Presenting the Cleaners from Venus

Posted by on Mon, Oct 24, 2011 at 2:02 PM

Are you one of those assholes that thinks the '80s were complete shit? Have you always been into the more eccentric British songwriters of the '60s and '70s (Barrett, Hitchcock, Davies) than glammy aesthetics and cocaine? Do you not listen to anything with synthesizers "on principle"?

Get over yourself. Or, since that's not likely to happen, just check out Cleaners from Venus. This could be the your "transition band," the one that makes modern music start to sound palatable. Listen, I'm not saying Ariel Pink isn't completely full of shit. I'm just saying that once you get into this band, you pretty much stop caring about all other music for two weeks.

To be clear, this band isn't just for fence-sitters. Cleaners from Venus are absolutely one of the greatest (and least known) pop bands to come out of Britain in the 1980s. So why haven't we heard more from them? Well, bandleader Martin Newell was basically obsessed with DIY culture and self-releasing his music. After being jilted by the music industry with his former band Plod, Newell retreated and began to self-record albums "on a four track in a bedroom in shameful poverty." The reclusiveness of this approach translated into most of the Cleaners' early stuff being released in small batches of cassettes Newell dubbed in his kitchen, and they've been in heavy bootleg rotation since then. The band never knew any mainstream success, but more and more people are starting to take notice. With the reissue of Newell's Songs for... a Fallow Land earlier this year on Fixed Identity and a growing cult following in the US, it seems the band is finally poised to win over the listeners they've always deserved.

On March 13, 2012, Captured Tracks will release remastered recordings of the first three Cleaners records: Blow Away Your Troubles (1981), On Any Normal Monday (1982), and Midnight Cleaners (1982). The collection will be released on vinyl, CD, and digital, and includes bonus tracks, rare photos, and extensive liner notes.

Check out "Renee (Who's Driving Your Car?)" below, and make the time to do some reading up on your new favorite band.

LISTEN:

Cleaners from Venus - "Renee (Who's Driving Your Car?)"

 

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