Sixty for 60: 4. Dry Cleaning

To celebrate my 60th birthday, I asked my Facebook friends to nominate a favourite song from 2021 – 60 to commemorate the fact I am now 10 years older than Joe Strummer when he died. Enough folk came forward for this to make a decent blog series (assuming that my writing is still up to the task).

Today, we have a suggestion from James Kavoussi – ‘Unsmart Lady’ by Dry Cleaning, or “Nico fronting Slint,” as one YouTube commentator has it. Available on 4AD, which still serves as a mark of quality. They’ve got all their merch and yellow vinyl sorted out, which is nice to see. It’d be even nicer to imagine that Dry Cleaning could make a living from this radical charisma, these mohair pink cardigans and love for the dissonance and abrasion of early 90s period Sonic Youth (specifically Kim Gordon songs), but we all need a dream, right? Spoken, not sung – like that horse caught on a barbed wire fence as the train speeds by, and we have to look away. Murky. Spitting cum on a Travelodge carpet.

Still what do I know? The most recent comment left on this blog states, “Jesus wept. What a steaming pile of self-regarding, loquacious excrement your writing is.” Great choice of words.

I wanna throw in the name cult TikTok band Life Without Buildings here, as not too many other places seem to have done. Pitckfork reckons their one studio album, 2001’s Any Other City, is worth 8.7 stars which is just 0.1 stars above what they reckon Dry Cleaning’s 2021’s debut New Long Leg to be worth. Coincidence? I think not. I throw in the comparison cos I’m just free associating here, trying to capture a sense of the surreal. Nice guitar, too.

And, despite their assertions to the contrary, they sound nothing like Lung Leg. Ha. Leave it to musicians to draw their own comparisons?! I think not. (Although, in fairness, I guess both bands may have drawn inspiration from the cover star to Sonic Youth’s EVOL.)

From South London. I have lifted one of my old mate Steve Gullick‘s photos to illustrate this piece. I hope he does not mind, and of course will remove it if he does.