Performance Date: Friday July 20
Formed in 2015, Flasher is Taylor Mulitz (guitar, vocals), Daniel Saperstein (bass, vocals), and Emma Baker (drums, vocals). Long-time friends, they are also established members of Washington, D.C.'s re-emergent DIY music scene.
However, while Flasher is a product of that crew, its music operates with different physics. Where their local peers favor direct and volatile gestures, Flasher's music exists in the tension between conflicting feelings and sensibilities. They're jagged, but woozy. Tender, but aggressive. When you're singing through peavey speakers on sticks in a venue that's more underwater ashtray than group house living room, it's hard to project anything resembling sensuality. Flasher does, though.
Originally, released on cassette in April of 2016 and now reissued on vinyl, the band's self-titled debut includes seven songs recorded at Lurch, a studio run by Saperstein and Owen Wuerker (fellow D.C. resident and member of Big Hush).
The songs are born from a process of deconstruction and reassembly. Melodic motifs are transmuted into fodder for the rhythm section. Call and response vocals warp and skew established gender roles. Lyrically, the trio take on experiences of shame, guilt, and pleasure, and haul them away from abstraction toward a place of physical expression. The songs are intended as experiment in how far a body - whether composed of flesh and bone, or melody and rhythm - can be restructured and reinvented while remaining desirable or even functional.
The results speak to the band's transformation over the last year, both in personal matters and as artists. Closing track "Destroy" began as a heartsick home demo written years before Flasher formed. At that time, the chorus, "I just want to be your boy," was a plea for connection. Here, the song is fundamentally changed for the better. There's more bite in Multiz's delivery, maybe even a bit of sarcasm. "Destroy" ends amid layers of guitar skree and volume. What was a moment of vulnerability is now all attitude.