Flasher are a rock trio where the crafted details of its songs aren't buried by a clear love of noise. But for its visit to the Tiny Desk, this young Washington trio set aside the distortion and worked up a semi-acoustic set of three songs — taken from its debut album, Constant Image, released on Domino in early June — with vocals made central; voices sometimes in unison, sometimes swapping leads, adding a shifting point of view to songs that, on record, give equal footing to a precise noise.
These three high school friends, Taylor Mulitz (guitar, vocals), Daniel Saperstein (bass, guitar) and Emma Baker (drums) have been bouncing around the D.C. punk scene of house shows and DIY venues for some time. Washington, D.C. can feel like a small town at times: I've been aware of Taylor's work for a while, through in the potent D.C. band Priests; Daniel I've known (a bit) since he was a child, mostly from Hanukkah parties with his family (his mom was the executive producer at All Things Considered when I was the show's director); Emma can be seen playing around town with another band, Big Hush.
In Flasher's work I hear the influence of one of my favorite bands, Wire, especially its more aggressively textured sounds from the late '70s. But Flasher is not a throwback band; there's vitality to its sound that doesn't come from the past, but from swift imaginations — which you can hear in the way they've rearranged these songs for an intimate setting — and the tender hearts portrayed in their words. Its visit to the Tiny Desk shows off those creative energies, made lovingly vulnerable.
- "Who's Got Time?"
Taylor Mulitz, Daniel Saperstein, Emma Baker.
Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Khun Minn Ohn; Production Assistants: Catherine Zhang, Téa Mottolese; Photo: Eslah Attar/NPR.