One Nation Under Flasher, the Trio Making D.C. Great Again
Sorry, Tipper Gore: Washington, DC’s coming up on 30 years as a hardcore Shangri-La, and there's no sign of that stopping anytime soon. That a town populated primarily by policy wonks, bureaucrats and tourists provided the crucible for the almighty Dischord Records, or the most important punk bands of all time — including Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Rites of Spring, Dag Nasty and, of course, Fugazi — is one of rock’s most eyebrow-raising anomalies, and yet it makes total sense. By day, Our Nation’s Capital is repressed and professional — so it’s only natural that such pent-up aggression bubbles up by night, either onstage or on record.
Amidst the rock renaissances raging in Philadelphia, Brooklyn and San Francisco these days, DC has faded somewhat from the national conversation. That’s certainly set to change with the rise of Flasher, a shoegaze-inflected post-punk outfit comprised of three District vets: Priests’ Taylor Mulitz (guitar/vocals), Bless’s Daniel Saperstein (bass) and Big Hush’s Emma Baker (drums). Their self-titled cassette is as retrospective as it is progressive — or, to borrow the band’s phrasing, “seven songs to soundtrack what’s happened to the city before and since” — a formidable mix of woozy, churning pop-rock (“Make Out,” “Tense”) and clattering shoegaze (“Destroy”). Recurrent as Flasher’s gestures to DC’s musical legacy may be, their jangly arrangements belie flirtations with Britpop; the resulting sound is a transatlantic triumph, simultaneously reminiscent of the Dismemberment Plan and the (criminally underrated) Catherine Wheel. But don’t call them torchbearers — this triad came to burn the house down, and it shows.
Flasher’s debut cassette is available now via Sister Polygon Records.