South London-based quartet Dry Cleaning are likely the most qualified band of their generation to bring the “post-punk” tradition to moody, morose, and musically nerdy teens and twentysomethings that can’t find a feel for contemporary fads. While their music is far from any sort of overpowering nod to the sounds of bands like Joy Division and Bauhaus (They cite Black Sabbath and Augustus Pablo as influences and have a Spotify playlist featuring the likes of Madonna and ABBA.), it embodies the same charmingly quirky morbidity that make that music not only profound, but really fucking fun.
Dry Cleaning first came together when guitarist Tom Dowse, drummer Nick Buxton, and bassist Lewis Maynard (longtime musical partners) met visual artist, picture researcher, and drawing lecturer Florence Shaw, who would go on to become the band’s exceptionally unconventional frontperson. Utilizing spoken-word vocals (For their first session playing together, she read Michael Bernard Loggins’ Fears of Your Live over their music.) and the stage presence of a possessed beat poet (while the boys quite literally “rock out”), she’s a unique entry in the realm of a frontperson, but far more engaging than the vast majority of recent history.
After two EPs, Dry Cleaning released their debut full-length, New Long Leg, last April on 4AD, which prompted Variety to write, “Who says there are no great guitar bands coming up? Dry Cleaning is arriving, right on cue,” and Billboard to add, “The U.K. indie scene never seems to go too long without a post-punk revival, but of the handful of bands representing the latest wave, Dry Cleaning have by far the strongest voice.” Ever since the pandemic allowed, the band have been touring the U.K. and U.S. to more rave reviews. Next week Dry Cleaning kick off a run of American dates that will have them headlining the First Unitarian Church on Tuesday May 17th for a show that I suspect will be talked about for ages (like when Yeah Yeah Yeahs played North Star Bar or Muse played The Khyber). Get your tickets while you can and check out their performance of “Scratchcard Lanyard” on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
*Get your tickets here.