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Photo by Jen Dessinger

Live in Portland July 19, 2018 | Bunk Bar

Flasher starts their new, righteously raucous Domino-released album Constant Image with the lyric, “Doing drugs at midnight,” which is a sign that this is going to be an all-night punk-out. The consequences of risk-taking behavior, of both personal and political intentions, are the focal point of many of the songs, as is being caught in the middle of weirdness and damage, as the three members of the band were caught in the gun-wielding nightmare of Pizzagate. (Thank God they were spared any tragedy of that terrifying situation, a perfect example of ignorance becoming potential violence.) Recorded in Brendan Canty’s (of Fugazi) studio and produced by Nicolas Vernhas (Deerhunter, the War on Drugs), guitarist Taylor Mulitz collaborates with drummer Emma Baker and bass player Daniel Saperstein to create a beautiful interplay of genres and textures that seems more like a beloved Calvin Johnson homemade mixtape than a D.C. post-hardcore band (same attitude, more diverse grooves and noises).

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Mulitzer honed his aesthetics with Priests, which got him involved in the usual DIY fashion of working at a label (Sister Polygon) and helping to put out bands like Downtown Boys and Snail Mail. He left Priests to focus on Flasher, after their debut seven-inch caught the attention and signing ink from the UK label best known for also housing the Arctic Monkeys. Their hometown Washington, D.C. has had an inspiring influence on the band to create music that is both aware of the brutal news cycle yet still timelessly hopeful. Flasher may be the first topical, most accessible band of the new era; celebrating the death of racism while making soul music for rebels, deserving of the accolades they’ve received for their enticing preliminary singles “Skim Milk,” “Pressure” and “Who’s Got The Time?” Constant Image is making Best of 2018 lists already, combining musical bliss and tons of hooks with their protest music. Clocking in at around a half hour, you’ll find yourself playing Flasher’s first full-length again and again.