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Martin Newell

One of the great eccentrics of modern English pop/rock, Martin Newell's songs are recommended listening for anyone who enjoys the peculiarly British eccentricities of Ray Davies, Andy Partridge, Syd Barrett, and the like. His grasp of the pop hook was second to few throughout the 1980s and '90s; his arrangements favor a guitar jangle but are usually infused with a whimsical eclecticism full of goofy sound effects and unusual garnishes of unexpected percussion and string instruments. His voice is winningly quizzical, but his chief assets are his compositions, which reflect contemporary English life with a wry combination of affection and cynicism.

For most of the 1980s, Newell was the mainstay of Cleaners from Venus, who recorded most of their albums at home for cassette-only self-release, although they eventually put out some vinyl product. After a short stint as head of the similar Brotherhood of Lizards, Martin started a solo career in the 1990s that was essentially a continuation of the territory he'd explored in the 1980s; sometimes he re-recorded songs from the previous decade. The difference, if any, was that he was concentrating on the proper official album market instead of the cassette underground, with somewhat higher (though not slick) production values.

Newell's most acclaimed album was 1993's The Greatest Living Englishman, which was produced by Andy Partridge of XTC. The Off White Album (1995) was a bit more baroque in approach, with occasional string arrangements. Spirit Cage was issued in fall 2000, and a collection of home-brewed recordings from 2010 through 2014, Teatime Assortment, appeared in 2015. Newell has co-written material with Captain Sensible and is a poet/humorist of some renown in Britain, publishing his own prose with a good deal of success and writing humorous pieces for the Independent newspaper. Ironically, his music is virtually unknown on his home turf, although he enjoys a considerable cult following in Germany, Japan, France, and on certain American college radio stations. ~ Richie Unterberger
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Teatime Assortment

1. Wake Up And Dream

2. Ghost Of Jenni Rainbyrd

3. English Electric

4. Sunken City

5. St. Overdose-On-Sea

6. Secret Stations

7. All The Lights In This House

8. Dear Wesley

9. Shabby Heart

10. The Stars On A Tray

11. Back In The Day

12. Carol For

13. Essex Girls

14. Saturday Games

15. Twinkle

16. Idol

17. The Lost Summer

18. Sunnytown Way

19. He’s Goin Out With Marilyn

20. The Days Of May

21. The Royal Bank Of Love

22. The King Of The Sixties

23. Time We Talked Again

24. Imaginary Seas

x

Track List: A Summer Tamarind

1. Another Sunny Day

2. St Audrey's Fair (Instrumental)

3. Mulberry Harbour

4. This Flamingo

5. Wow! Look At That Old Man

6. Stella & Charlie Got Married

7. You Made It Rain

8. A Summer Tamarind

9. The Golden Afternoon

10. Cinnamon Blonde

11. Dawn Smile

x

Track List: The Light Programme

1. Blackout

2. Trinity Square

3. Jacqui

4. My Lost Weekend

5. The Sun Over The Yardarm

6. Grenadine And Blue

7. Wait For The Rain

8. Sparkletown

9. After The Boy Gets In

10. Venus Of The Essoldo

11. Rosebay Railway

12. Synergy

13. Little Trinty

x

Track List: Radio Autumn Attic

1. The Duchess Of Leylandia

2. The Wicked Witch

3. Beat Street

4. Do You Dream Of the Sea?

5. A Woman And Some Whisky

6. World Of The Stars

7. Because She's Driftwood

8. Life As A Broken Doll

9. Sailing To America

10. When We Were A Thing

11. The Beer Elves

12. Prende Mi

13. Chocks Away Pt 1

14. Chocks Away Pt 2

15. Chocks Away Pt 3

16. Chocks Away Pt 4

17. Chocks Away Pt 5

18. Chocks Away Pt 6

x

Track List: The Spirit Cage

1. Wake Up And Smell The Offy

2. You Slay Me

3. Sugarcane

4. My Old School

5. New Europeans

6. The Boys Of September

7. A Smashing Bird Like Brenda

8. The High Clouds Of Summer

9. Your Winter Garden

10. Days Like These

11. My Funeral

12. Lily's Lullaby

x

Track List: The Off White Album

1. Call Me Michael Moonlight

2. The World Of Dandy Leigh

3. Arcadian Boys

4. The Blue Beret

5. Ursula In The Waiting Room

6. When The Damsons Are Down

7. Lions Drunk On Sunlight

8. Miss Van Houten's Coffee Shoppe

9. She Was Never Drowning

10. Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others

11. Queen Phyllis Of Colchester

12. Goodnight Country Girl

13. The Girls In The Flat Upstairs

14. Leaving London (Extract From Little Ziggy)

15. Princess Miriam (Extract From Little Ziggy)

Comments

Report as inappropriate
cellenmartin e z
I've been following this guy since the 80s. One of the most bewildering careers in Pop Rock. Just never seemed to crack into anything remotely resembling widespread success despite his abundant talent.
Report as inappropriate
jtpjtp
Infectious jangliness
Report as inappropriate
I still don't appreciate him
Report as inappropriate
People in his day did not appreciate him
Report as inappropriate
....I don't understand.. . . . W H Y AM I THE ONLY PERSON TO COMMENT ON THIS?!?!? IT'S SUCH A COOL SONG!!!! D:

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