England’s freshest alt-rock band, and Far Out favourites, Dry Cleaning, recently appeared on NPR’s massively popular ‘Tiny Desk’ concert series to perform tracks from their debut LP New Long Leg.
The ‘Tiny Desk’ performances have been taking place at the artist’s own personal residences since COVID hit back in 2019, so Dry Cleaning performs via their practice space somewhere out in East London.
The advisory at the beginning of the performance that warns of explicit language was somehow hilarious to me, as if seven-year-olds are going to click on a video by the hottest experimental post-punk band. Hey, I don’t know what the kids are into, maybe they’re going crazy for Dry Cleaning.
They should be, after all, because New Long Leg is a fantastic debut album, we said as much in our review of it a few months back. Here, the band performs album tracks ‘Her Hippo’, ‘Unsmart Lady’, and ‘Leafy’, along with a cut from their EP Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks, ‘Viking Hair’.
The stripped-down nature of the ‘Tiny Desk’ series shows a new side to Dry Cleaning as well. A massive part of their appeal is the juxtaposition of the angular guitar riffs, eardrum-assaulting rhythm section, and droll coolness of Florence Shaw’s vocals. Here, armed with acoustic guitars and migrating drummer Nick Buxton to keyboard duty, the results are, dare I say, lush.
The band are usually comfortable living in their own bizarro world, but the paired back sonic space somehow makes their material even more combative and challenging. When you can hear every dissonant note ring out, minus distortion or crashing cymbals or beefed up bass tones, each song takes on a new dynamic, with Shaw playing a greater role as narrator and storyteller rather than just another instrument in the band’s stew of sounds.
Check out Dry Cleaning’s ‘Tiny Desk’ performance down below.