There’s a venerable tradition of documenting a day in song—but what if this process could be automated? How can you document a moment or day in a way that is smoothed out of the messiness of personal experience? DC punks and Priests affiliates Flasher offer such an attempt on “Winnie,” the A-side to their upcoming 7”. “Winnie” recalls a motel breakfast in Winnie, Texas last May, intercutting verbatim quotations from news coverage of the Egypt Air Flight 804 with pharmaceutical advertisements heard on the TV that day. It’s a song that luxuriates in the weird, improbable sentiments created by juxtaposing the two source texts, and their uncanny effectiveness as pop lyrics—“these feet want to keep the beat moving,” taken from a diabetes medication commercial, is just one of many ear wormy hooks the track features. The track itself is riff-fueled post-punk joyride, sounding like something off an early Mission of Burma single; off-kilter but enthused with a deft pop sensibility. Flasher describe the track as a “bricolage tribute to the paranoia-fueled auto erotic American psyche,” but the song works just as well as a catchy-as-hell rave up.
DC-native Eva Moolchan makes what she describes as “violent vibes” under the moniker of Sneaks. She first drew people’s ears in 2015 when she released Gymnastics on Priests' label, Sister Polygon. On it, Sneaks channeled the groovier, artier edge of early New York punk with a preternatural ear for brevity. Merge caught on and signed her, reissuing Gymnastics last year in anticipation of her new material. “Hair Slick Back” is the second single from her forthcoming record, It’s a Myth. With a bassline worthy of ESG, the song rides an irresistible groove as Moolchan delivers a tense, terse lyric belied by her double tracked, deadpan vocals.
For the past half-decade, Priests have been an anchor of their native-D.C.’s music community, releasing music by local or otherwise likeminded bands like Snail Mail, Downtown Boys, as well as Priests-related side projects including Flasher and Gauche, via their label Sister Polygon. After releasing their excellent Bodies and Control and Money and Power with Don Giovanni, the band is gearing up to release their debut full-length, Nothing Feels Natural through their own label. The album’s title track channels the urgency that’s characterized their previous music through a dizzying melodic arc to create a bracing anthem about the struggle to realize yourself against seemingly irresistible forces.
Listen to “Nothing Feels Natural” below. The record is due out January 27 via Sister Polygon Records. Priests will be kicking off a tour in support of the record with an anti-fascist benefit concert in DC on the day of the inauguration. They’ll be performing in New York with Snail Mail at Brooklyn Night Bazaar on January 28.