Dry Cleaning / Fake Fruit

Tuesday, May 17, 2022 - 8:00pm

All Ages

Dry Cleaning’s guitarist Tom Dowse, drummer Nick Buxton, and Lewis Maynard had been friends and musical collaborators for years; at first Dry Cleaning was simply their latest project, formed after a karaoke night and based out of the miniscule garage next to the house of Maynard’s mum. One day, however, after a mutual friend’s exhibition, Dowse played some snippets of what they’d been working on to Florence Shaw, a visual artist, picture researcher and drawing lecturer. A few days later, she came to his flat armed with a copy of Michael Bernard Loggins’ ‘Fears Of Your Life’ to read out over the music, and later still started contributing words of her own. Before long she was the group’s frontperson, her dryness, wit, and linguistic acrobatics acting as the perfect counter to the musicians’ taut instrumentals.
Eventually they produced two thrilling EPs, 2019’s Sweet Princess and Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks. Buoyed by the universal acclaim they received, the foursome spent more and more of their lives on tour, refining their craft even further. The intensive time they spent together meant they developed a near-psychic knowledge of how to leave the right amount of space for each other in their songs. On stage, the contrast between the stillness of Shaw and the emphatic energy of Dowse and Maynard became even more pronounced. They swapped influences from Black Sabbath to Augustus Pablo to Yuzo Koshiro as they travelled. “It all absorbed,” says Dowse. “Then when we got back to writing, we felt like we were drawing very organically from a collective palette.”
New songs began to emerge that were bigger, more ambitious and more complex than before, early iterations of what would eventually make up their exceptional debut album New Long Leg. Take ‘Every Day Carry’’s psychedelic meltdown for example, or the lurching and dramatic ‘Unsmart Lady’, or the dizzy melancholy of ‘Leafy’. “We’ve grown in confidence, just the reassurance of knowing there’s an audience interested,” says Shaw.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, forcing a swift end to their US tour, they had their new songs demoed, but had to bide their time before they could enter the studio. Shaw spent time refining her lyrics. “I found the lockdown played into some of the themes I was interested in anyway, living in a small world, a feeling of alienation, paranoia and worry, but also a joyful revelling in household things,” she says. They contributed two new recordings of ‘Scratchcard Lanyard’ and ‘New Long Leg’ to Sea Change Festival’s virtual edition, passing a Tascam four-track cassette recorder to one another from the window of Maynard’s car, cleaning it with antibacterial wipes before recording their parts one by one. Facilitated by the unexpected time apart and the introspection of lockdown, Buxton started experimenting with drum machines, Dowse with a noisier, more deconstructed guitar sound, Maynard with subtler and more flexible basslines.
By June John Parish had emerged as the perfect producer and was keen to explore these creative developments. He asked them to bring along the Sea Change recordings, as well as their other demos. “From the very first conversation we had on Zoom it was pretty clear how serious he was about it,” says Dowse. The band holed up with him at Rockfield Studios in rural Wales for two weeks, finding this isolation from the outside world “liberating,” as Buxton puts it. They got on well with Parrish, buoyed by his enthusiasm, directness, and full-bodied commitment, and he was unafraid to push them when he sensed a song could be refined or taken in a different direction. “We feel incredibly lucky to have worked with John,” Buxton continues. “There’s so much energy, concentration and organisation that goes into the making of a record that we didn’t fully understand before Rockfield. John knew exactly when to push us, when to challenge, and also when to tell us when something was working great.”
“It’s not just sheer pent-up energy all the time in the way that the first two EPs were,” adds Shaw of the resultant album. “I feel more confident with leaving gaps”. More than just her spoken vocals set to the band’s instrumentals, music and lyrics are tightly intertwined on New Long Leg. There’s tension when they duel with one another, satisfaction when they move in snaking tandem, and breathless anticipation when she steps back for a moment to let the music build. She’s constantly speeding up and slowing down, alliterating, repeating, rhyming, umming, erring and stuttering with pinpoint accuracy.
“It has a musicality to it,” says Buxton of his bandmate’s style. “There’s something about the rhythm and the gaps she’s leaving between lines that’s intricate and gets quite technical at times. There are so many details that make her vocals quite hard to imitate.”“It’s hard for me!” says Shaw. “When we were recording based on the demos I’d be like ‘what the hell is that gap between those two words? It’s uncountable!’”
Add to that the sheer potency of the words themselves and you have something wholly remarkable. Shaw extracts the most immense meaning from the most trivial things; on ‘Scratchcard Lanyard’ air fresheners become mighty oaks, and Instagram filters become exotic destinations. She peppers the songs with a thousand tiny details, little witty asides about supermarkets, cupboards, beauty products and body parts add up to sonic landscapes that teem with the strange magic of ordinary life.
In 2013, 18 year old musician/songwriter Hannah D’Amato fled her Southern California suburban home. Disillusioned by the ubiquitous garage and psych rock casualties that polluted her local music scene and a healthy teenage desire to flee the nest, D’Amato set her sights on New York City. After several months of just scraping by and spending most of her time down in her Brooklyn basement practice space, D’Amato applied to the Berklee School of Music in Boston. In the middle of her audition, a member of the all white male panel silently approached and turned the volume down on her guitar amplifier. D’Amato left the audition and vowed to never return to the campus again.
Weeks later, she declined her acceptance into Berklee and doubled down on her commitment to forming her own group. Working as a nanny, D’Amato soaked in everything New York had to offer, playing in bands, developing a session side hustle, and forming the first incarnation of Fake Fruit. Rambling on to Vancouver B.C. in 2017 she found herself immersed in a fevered state of hypergraphia, writing several songs a day. The second iteration of Fake Fruit was born, now a trio, the Vancouver lineup was instrumental in helping to build the framework around her songs. After dozens of shows and some false starts at making a record, D’Amato, seemingly adverse to any sense of comfort, found herself again pining for change.
After moving to the Bay Area, she found herself at a spaghetti party (don’t ask) where she struck up a conversation with guitarist Alex Post, an Arthur Russel obsessive who made elaborate ethereal guitar instrumentals. A few weeks later, a chance encounter upon arrival at a New Year’s Eve party led drummer Miles MacDiarmid to open the door for D’Amato. Remembering the description she had been given of him when asking around about drummers (very tall, with a dangly earring and dark brown, Ian McCulloch-esque hair) she greeted him laughing “I know this is weird to say, but I think you’re supposed to be in my band”. The three hit it off immediately and became the third and current incarnation of Fake Fruit. Supported by a revolving cast of bass players akin to Spinal Tap drummers, Martin Miller contributed bass duties to the record, Trey Flannigan of Pardoner joined in from time to time as well as Dylan Allard of Freak No Hitter.
With renewed vigor, Fake Fruit joined recording engineer Andrew Oswald to collaborate on what would become their self-titled debut. D’Amato’s journey is detailed by her range of vocal affectations; acidic and confrontational, withdrawn and unamused, sweet and sorrowful. The arrangements bounce and sway with Post’s chorused guitar jabs, Miller’s rolling bass lines, and MacDiarmid’s relentlessly energetic drumming.
Against all odds, Fake Fruit’s self-titled debut was released 3/5/2021, on Sonny Smith’s Rocks in Your Head Records. Despite the global pandemic’s impact on live music, Fake Fruit have still managed to turn heads, earning accolades from the likes of Bandcamp, Brooklyn Vegan, Post-Trash, and more.

Philly Haps

Thursday, Aug 18, 2022 - Sunday, Aug 21, 2022
Time Venue Age
60th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival 8:00am - 8:00pm Live Stream All Ages
Friday, Aug 19, 2022
Time Venue Age
Zopa/The Mystery Lights/Grass Cannon 8:00pm Johnny Brenda's 21+
Aluna (of AlunaGeorge) DJ Set 10:00pm Warehouse on Watts 21+
Saturday, Aug 20, 2022
Time Venue Age
Northern Liberties / BS Noise Control / The Plibmen 8:30pm Century 21+
Tuesday, Aug 23, 2022
Time Venue Age
Peaches "The Teaches of Peaches Anniversary Tour" 8:00pm Union Transfer All Ages
Thursday, Aug 25, 2022
Time Venue Age
Florist / Marc Merza / Doll Spirit Vessel 8:00pm The Lounge at World Cafe Live All Ages
Shardik / Queen Elephantine / Julius Masri / Rainbow Crimes 8:00pm Silk City 21+
Friday, Aug 26, 2022
Time Venue Age
Peter Hook & The Light 8:00pm Union Transfer All Ages
Creem Circus / Candy Cigare77es 8:00pm 118 North 21+
DIY Superbowl: Day 1 8:00pm Ukie Club Philly All Ages
Saturday, Aug 27, 2022
Time Venue Age
Open Mouth Records Presents: Leila Bourdreuil/Neil Burke 8:00pm Brickbat Books All Ages
Sunday, Aug 28, 2022
Time Venue Age
Honeytiger/Number One Lovers/ Mandy Valentine 8:00pm Johnny Brenda's 21+
Monday, Aug 29, 2022
Time Venue Age
STÖNER/ FULCI/MARIO LALLI 8:00pm Kung Fu Necktie 21+
Thursday, Sep 1, 2022
Time Venue Age
Boris / Nothing 8:00pm Union Transfer All Ages