Ne-Hi, Flasher

small room

Ne-Hi

Flasher

Tue · March 21, 2017

Doors: 9:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$8.00

This event is 18 and over

Ne-Hi
Emerging from underground venues in Chicago's Northwest side, NE-HI made its name on both its live energy and cleverly wrought guitar anthems. On its second album Offers (Grand Jury), the band takes those basement-forged instincts and refines them, lets its guitars explore new angles, and focuses its songwriting. The result shows there are a wide range of post-punk possibilities yet to be explored.

It all started at Animal Kingdom, a flash-in-the-pan DIY basement in Chicago's Logan Square. There, in the summer of 2013, three friends from college, Jason Balla (guitar/vocals), Mikey Wells (guitar/vocals) and James Weir (bass) linked up with drummer Alex Otake to score a buddy's film and decided to start bashing around together as NE-HI. NE-HI's more ambitious sound and heady arrangements broke away from garage rock's back-to-basic's approach. The band's disparate influences--Wire's post-punk, Springsteen's everyman anthems, along with echoes of dreamy atmospheres of Dave Roback's Rain Parade and the jangly buzz of Kiwi pop legends The Clean--began burning through. The band attracted the attention of Dave Vettraino, who asked NE-HI to record at his Public House Recordings studio for posting on his website. Vettraino would go on to record the band's debut album. The Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot gave the debut the #4 spot in his 2014 year-end list.

Offers is NE-HI finding that rising to the occasion means living up to your own standards, not someone else's. The band entered Chicago's Minbal studio in January 2016 to record ten songs with Vettraino engineering, but scrapped most of the session. To finish the record, NE-HI went back to touring, writing, rewriting and returned to Minbal in March more solid than ever. It recorded most of Offers live at Minbal to capture the energy--only overdubbing vocals.

Offers drones, it captivates with soaring pop, it shimmers with atmosphere, always changing, looking. The album veers from the staccato pop of "Palm of Hand" (which nods to Chicago's Disappears) to the jangly pleasures of "Stay Young." The off-kilter, ultra-catchy "Sisters" refines the carefree feeling of the band's debut--picking up the spirit of New Zealand pop. Title track "Offers" feels like a slight departure, the band pushing its most abstract and unpredictable instincts. On "Prove" the band's post-punk guitars come at blistering tempo, it's the band's most athletic moment yet. While the punchy drawl of "Buried on the Moon" conjures a less sleepy Let's Active.

Offers finds the distant influence of forebears in cerebral guitar pop presented with a familiarity that typifies great FM rock hits. The Midwestern boys (two from Chicago, one from Wisconsin, and one from Minnesota) in NE-HI have a knack for knitting something comfortable and warm from those art school cast- offs and cult favorites. NE-HI's music demands to be lived in. Chances are good that in the case of Offers, regifting will be rare.
Flasher
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.
Venue Information:
The Hi Tone Cafe
412 N. Cleveland St
Memphis, TN, 38104
http://hitonecafe.com/