Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Anthony Powell, The Acceptance World (1955)

This book takes place in the early thirties--Great Depression times, although you wouldn't really know that from the book itself.  The title refers to the idea that trading partners have to operate on faith to a certain degree--that is, you have to pay someone before you've actually gotten what you're supposed to be getting, and sometimes that works out, and sometimes not.  This is generalized to life in general.

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Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Cleaners from Venus, Back from the Cleaners (1995)

Okay, so there's this band, Cleaners from Venus, which is basically just one guy, Martin Newell, who's been releasing pop music since the early eighties, first as CfV, then under his own name, and lately returned to CfV (and he's incredibly prolific: I just checked, and saw that he's released FIVE new albums since I last checked in 2015).  It's basically the same kind of stuff regardless: eccentric pop music sometimes reminiscent of XTC.  He's really a very good songwriter.  And to add to his mystique, for a long time, he only released his music on cassette tape, and it was very hard to find--since, it's almost all been released digitally, but his discography is very messy, with loads of rarities everywhere.

Anyway, before all this, he did release two best-ofs, Golden Cleaners and Back from the Cleaners.  That was how I first heard the band.  They're both out-of-print, but the former is more or less reproduced by the current CfV best-of, and I'm pretty all the tracks are readily available on their original albums anyway.  Back from the Cleaners is a different story.  It's hard to find for a reasonable price, and it includes a lot of rare tracks: a few of them can easily be found elsewhere, but a lot of them are b-sides and complication tracks and previously-unreleased (and, to my knowledge, still only ever released here) material.  But don't think it's any lesser in quality than his other material!  Newell's one of these dudes who can somehow just toss out great pop songs like it's nothin.'  My favorite here is "Monochrome World," one of the otherwise-unreleased tracks.  It's absolutely insane that such a great song should be so hard to find.

Is this available online?  Well...not really.  The amazon listing alleges that you can buy it in mp3 format, but if you click on the button, it just takes you to the completely-different current best-of.  There's this, which LOOKS like it might be legit, but turns out to be one of those dodgy-as-fuck sites that wants you to give them your email and who knows if you'll get it anyway (and actually, come to think of it, I'm going to intentionally fuck up that link so as not to give them extra traffic--don't bother clicking on it; it will avail you naught).  But me, I'm getting rid of a bunch of old CDs--like most people, I only listen to music digitally these days--and I thought before I ditch this one, it would be a good idea to make a cool rare album a bit easier to find.  So here it is, ripped as 320 kbps files, and I even scanned the booklet, in which Newell explains a bit about where these tracks come from.  Enjoy.