They tour in a van and sleep on couches. They have a strange affinity for cats and Pokemon. They’re called Flashlights and they are a rather spectacular band from the decidedly unspectacular Brevard County, Florida. What began as a solo acoustic project for 24-year-old singer/guitarist Terry Caudill in 2007 has added various members from the local punk scene before settling on their current lineup of Tony Oriza on guitar, Will Powell on bass and Melissa Hopkins on drums.
They made a pretty good record in 2011 called I’m Not Alone and now they’ve just finished a new one. It’s called Bummer Summer and it’s even better. Produced by Scott Hutchison and Andy Monaghan of Frightened Rabbit, it’s full of songs about dead end jobs and lousy living conditions, heartbreaks and hangovers. And, of course, there are also songs about cats.
Creaky and hissy, you would be forgiven for confusing it with early Archers of Loaf, Superchunk or Built to Spill. Caudill’s voice has been favorably compared to the likes of Lou Barlow and Jeff Mangum. Bummer Summer lives up to its name but it also manages to find hilarity in humility and beauty in the bleak.
As far as expectations for the band and for this album, Caudill sums it up as such: “I want the listener to feel like they’re eating candy. Instead, they’re eating old, used parts from a machine that separates colored clothes from white clothes. I want the success that comes with ‘Chinese take-out’ being taken seriously on our rider. And most of all, I want people knocking on my door asking me if this is where Shaft lives.”
Bummer Summer is out Spring 2014 on Hard Rock Records and the band will be taking to the highway this autumn with a tour of the Midwest and Southeast before heading to New York City to participate for the first time in this year’s CMJ Music Festival. The band will release a 7” vinyl single and video for the track “Blue Dream” and will be selling limited edition vinyl copies of the album while on the road. Even Grumpy Cat would totally approve.