Secretly Distributon

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2018-02-23
Martin Newell: Greatest Living Englishman

Martin Newell spent the '80s being compared to Robyn Hitchcock, XTC, and other lesser-known '60s-influenced pop maestros, so it was poetic that XTC's Andy Partridge would produce this Newell solo album. The result isn't a stretch from Martin's days as The Cleaners from Venus or The Brotherhood of Lizards. The production is cleaner than on Newell's home recordings, but the songs are as melodic and adventurous as ever. If one's naturally attracted to the charms of "We'll Build a House" (which sounds like what Guided by Voices' Robert Pollard has spent his career emulating), then there's plenty more from where this came from. Newell is devoutly English, writing his songs much in the way Ray Davies sculpted his observations of British life, past and present, with The Kinks. There's a Davies-like shuffle to "Tribute to the Greatest Living Englishman," a barrage of guitars to "She Rings the Changes," and an "all the lonely people" feel to "A Street Called Prospect" and "The Green-Gold Girl of Summer." The only drawback to being seduced by Mr. Newell? It's a full-time job to get up to speed!

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2015-08-07
Martin Newell: Teatime Assortment

Since before he was even able to play an instrument, Martin Newell was messing around with home-recordings. Having grown up in the Far East, Newell returned to his home of England at age 13 with just a little 3-inch spool tape-recorder and his first guitar. At age 14 he wrote his first song, not even knowing any chords. His song writing continued through is teens and into his 20s, when he purchased a Sony reel-to-reel recorder and 12 string guitar. It is this early songwriting that led him working with a wide variety of musicians, recording in beautiful studios and forming his many projects such as Cleaners from Venus and Brotherhood of Lizards. But it was this early songwriting and recording that led him to find that he was happiest when recording by himself, with minimal equipment. As Newell often says, "Actually, I preferred the demos".

Having upgraded himself from reel-to-reel to a Tascam Pocketstudio and digitizing some of his archaic recording knowledge, Newell set out to begin home recording again. The tracks on this collection run from 2010 to mid 2014. Some are recordings loosely based on movie themes and soundtracks for imaginary films. Some are instrumentals from a collection called The Late District, while others are from a recent album Return to Bohemia, which saw a small release in England. This recent resurgence in creative strength, along with the success and newfound popularity of Cleaners from Venus, have all led up to Teatime Assortment. Think of it as a "Best of New Newell". A true wordsmith, Newell himself has put simply why one might be compelled to take a listen here: "If you're the sort of person who likes this kind of thin, then this is the sort of thing you'll probably like."