The Lashes to release Get It

, Editor on December 2, 2005 | genre: rock

Of the many archetypes available to young musicians on their way up, from manufactured idols to dinosaur supergroups and everything in-between, one model remains by far the most romantic, the most inspirational, the most rock: the gang. Your typical new band consists of itinerant strangers coming together to, you know, play music or whatever. They're often too cool for interpersonal connection, and consequently, too easily scattered by the adversity that goes hand-in-hand with building a life in music.

Artist: The Lashes
Title: Get It
Release date: 02/21/06
Single: Sometimes The Sun
The Lashes
Buy at: Amazon

The Lashes
But then there's that rare breed--and you know them the first time you lay eyes on them, whether it's on stage or walking down the street--founded on brotherhood, its members inseparable from one another both in and out of the practice space, a band whose collective identity is greater than the sum of its individual personalities, a band whose music reflects a great collaboration, not only of musicians, but of best friends looking to make life a little more interesting and fun for one another.

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, meet The Lashes. You're going to love them.

The six handsome devils who comprise the band's menagerie are in each other's pockets 24 hours a day. They share living quarters (a hilariously cramped warren of tiny rooms in a North Seattle basement plastered with show flyers and guitar strings), cigarettes, drink tickets, day jobs, van space, food, and clothes more readily than most people share oxygen. Yet, for all this togetherness, The Lashes are remarkably together. Spend an hour or two in their company and you can't help noticing how infectious their camaraderie is. They seem frankly psyched to have one another's backs. Probably because they know how lucky they are.

Singer Ben, a born rock frontman who's as sweet as he is cocky, as smart as he is swaggering (Best. Interview. Ever.), has always been at the heart of the band. He founded The Lashes in February of 2000, shortly after moving to Seattle from the backwoods of Spokane, Washington--which is four hours and several cultural lifetimes away from the Emerald City. It took him a few years, however, to assemble the ideal line-up. To do so, he turned to friends from back home (Scotty and Nate) as well as the friends he was making in his new hometown (Eric, Jacob, and Mike). All these guys had grown up in small towns, from Wasilla, Alaska to Fremont, Nebraska, where being heavily into rock 'n' roll instantly made you a freak. Nonetheless, they all grew up fronting bands, collecting records, and living, breathing, talking, and playing music. The Lashes quickly became the repository of six lifetimes worth of rock dreams. But these things take timeā€¦.

Over the past five years, The Lashes played countless local shows for no money and few people, writing and practicing songs, sharing houses, jobs, and friends together, all the while dreaming up the means by which they could make their band "the best movie ever." The zen challenge of being in a young band is learning how to have fun even when no one is paying attention. The Lashes got that part down right away, and soon, their infectious spirit started casting a spell in Seattle and beyond. Their raucous sound--a blend of catchy, anthemic, and romantic power pop in the vein of Cheap Trick, The Cars, and more obscure '70s art pop groups like The Shoes, The Raspberries, and Big Star--took shape in the interplay of Eric and Scotty's nimbly forceful guitars, Jacob's secret-weapon keys and harmonies, Nate's rock abandon, and Ben's fearless, hooktastic vocals. And it goes without saying that you can't be a great rock band without a great drummer. Mike is The Lashes' eleventh drummer, and the thunder and finesse of his rhythmic intensity proves that the wait was well worth it.

The shows were getting better. The word was starting to spread. Things were starting to make sense.

But it required a fluke of electricity for The Lashes to really get their shit together.

Midway through a Lashes set at Seattle's Crocodile Cafe, in early 2003, when the band was still a four piece, with Ben still playing guitar as well as singing, the amp he was playing through exploded in the middle of a song. Not shorted out. Not "failed." Exploded. Burst into flames. (We have witnesses.) It was a moment of truth that might have destroyed a lesser band. Instead, a lead singer was born. Ben threw down his blue '66 Fender Mustang, grabbed the mic, and performed the rest of the show for all he was worth. (To this day, Scotty plays the fabled Fender Mustang handed down to him from Ben.) The response from the band's devout audience was overwhelming. A few months later, the current six-piece line-up (two guitars, bass, keys, drums, and singer) was firmly in place, and after years spent cultivating a loyal following, these swaggering, drunken, gifted underachievers knuckled down and got serious--not too serious, but still... The results have been staggering.

Following their obscenely catchy debut EP on Lookout! Records (The Stupid Stupid), the band's momentum has been unstoppable; sold-out headlining shows and support slots with national acts as varied as The Libertines and tour mates Ted Leo and the Pharmacists only give a small indication of how well things have been going for the boys. Late in 2004, The Lashes entered the studio with legendary NW producer John Goodmanson (Sleater-Kinney, Blonde Redhead) and emerged with Get It, a record that surpassed even their own wildest expectations for a debut. Beyond the triple entendre of the title, and the swooning invitation of catchy debut single "Sometimes The Sun," Get It offers listeners an explosion of shrewdly crafted pop rock for the ages, proving that The Lashes are as welcome on an iPod playlist with Weezer or The Killers as they are in an all-night conversation about The Only Ones or Badfinger.

No matter what ephemeral trend might be capturing the attention of the nation's glossy tastemakers, no matter what cutesy modifier critics insist on dangling in front of it, rock music--with a couple of loud guitars, a gang of saucy young dudes, and a singer singing songs about good times, broken hearts, and girlfriends past, present, and future--springs eternal. That's the ethos embodied by The Lashes. In a time of war, dour art, anxiety, and confusion, they're having a big rock party, and they'd be delighted if you decided to crash.

Get it? Good.

Ben Clark: Lead Vocals
Scotty Rickard: Guitar
Nate Mooter: Bass, Vocals
Eric Howk: Guitar
Mike Loggins: Drums
Jacob Hoffman: Keyboards, Vocals

"Get It" by The Lashes - release date: 02/21/06..

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