Martin Newell has been making brilliant, ‘60s psych-pop-inspired DIY music at a startlingly prolific pace since the early ‘80s, either under his name or as Cleaners From Venus or the short-lived Brotherhood of Lizards. But he doesn’t just make a lot of records—he makes a lot of great records. He has a shockingly high battering average; out of the dozens of albums he’s released, there’s nary a bad one in the bunch. Provided you view the lo-fi homemade sound of his output as a plus rather than a minus (as all of his admirers must), pretty much everything the British singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist touches turns to gold.
Naturally, 2016’s Cleaners From Venus album, Last Boy in the Locarno, is no exception. And it makes an excellent entry point for a deep dive into Martin Newell’s world. But in addition to absorbing highlights from his own vast catalog, try soaking up the sounds of Newell’s fellow travelers, like XTC (whose Andy Partridge once produced a Newell album), Robyn Hitchcock, and R. Stevie Moore. And while you’re at it, take a stroll through some of his ‘60s influences, like Syd Barrett, The Kinks, and The Move. Then for good measure, add some extra historical context by examining the other end of the aesthetic family tree, with sonic descendents like Guided By Voices and The Clientele.