One of my favourite bands most recently discovered is Dry Cleaning, particularly because of their bass-forward sound. The first time I heard Scratchcard Lanyard I was hooked. The video was unsettling, and I was worried I wouldn’t like any of their other stuff, but it turns out I like them quite a lot.
And so I jumped at the opportunity to watch them play at the Howard Theatre in Washington during a very, very cold night last week (I was under-dressed, again).
Skipping past the opening act, which were borderline unlistenable, I must say that Dry Cleaning were a great group to listen to.
I’ve never really gone to a show of a band that was more known for music with spoken vocals, as opposed to sung. It’s the nonchalant way that lead singer Florence Shaw delivers them that makes the songs so compelling. And though she delivers these songs with such purposeful distance, she appeared to be quite humbled during the band’s first trip to DC.
Tom Dowse on the electric guitar was a particular joy to watch and listen to. So much of what he did added colour to a sound that sometimes can feel a bit muted. As much as I enjoy Dry Cleaning, I do wish they had a little bit more in their catalogue to adjust the tempo.
Still, Dowse was great, particularly on Unsmart Lady. The structure of the song is also what makes it interesting to me. It’s got some stops-and-stops, a killer guitar riff, it’s a bit heavier too.
And, silly me, I thought this band was from Leeds and was about to make this diatribe on Leeds being the new movement of British punk/post-punk music. But Dry Cleaning are from South London!
It doesn’t matter. I enjoy the whole Joy Division-thing that they’ve got going on. And while I don’t own their most recent record Stumpwork yet, I do intend to. The band played Gary Ashby, what I imagine to be their big single from that album, as their second song of the night. That usually indicates to me it’s their big one (Scratchcard Lanyward was third in the setlist).
All in all, a very enjoyable show in what was a rather cold venue.
And I look forward to seeing where they go from here.
Fitzie’s track of the day: Unsmart Lady, by Dry Cleaning
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