Jay Flash
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Jay Flash

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter

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The second disc from Milwaukee experimental folkie Jay Flash doles out another helping of political sentiments and personal reflection, often within the same song. Guitar strumming mixes with synth programming of a systems-oriented classical bent that sounds like he collaborated with Philip Glass or Laurie Anderson. Bits of beats that sound like the scraps left over from drum & bass and glitch techno productions add occasional percussion.
With Flash’s often affecting yelp of a voice pitched somewhere between a catharsis for the whole world and diffidence about his own emotional needs, it’s largely a winning combination. Even among the alt rock and freak folk communities that would likely have the most empathy for Flash’s vision, he's working outside of anybody’s preconceived boxes. But the desperate-sounding human element to his work—it sounds like Flash wants to touch and be touched—resonates strongly and bodes well for even more imaginative, complex work to come. - Jamie Lee Rake

- Shepherd Express


Review by Adam Lovinus


This 68-minute, 16-track post-rock opus by J. Flash makes a strong appeal towards my top ten of 2009 list. It’s only August, but I know a top-ten record when I hear one. It’s easy to draw comparisions with Animal Collective and Radiohead, but J. Flash injects enough originality into the music to transcend his influences. The opener “I See It In You” mashes up mathy synth-strings texturing with a driving four-on-the-floor on the kick, and could pass for a hidden track on Merriweather Post Pavilion record if not for the visceral Cobain-like chorus. J. Flash has Thom York moments in the middle of the record with the couplet “Don’t Know”/”But I Know”, but my favorite tracks on the record – being the prog geek that I am – are bizarre, gazer-y songs like “Piano Instrumental No. 2,” which features a trippy, fuzzed-out vinyl loop tucked under a clean, one-handed piano melody.
- Milwaukee Fanbelt


Imagine a forest overgrown by foliage, and between the sun spots follow rich atmospheric sounds that cause the winds, rain, the trees to tremble and make the sun intensify, then you have an idea of what the music of Jay Flash can create. He is only 26 years old but he has inspired a surplus of music. This multi-instrumentalist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin has been playing and writing music from an early age. Among his music influences you will find a variety of artists: on the one hand, Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen, and on the other, Chet Baker and John Coltrane. In the emotional expanse of his music can also be detected echoes of Philip Glass, Genesis, Pink Floyd and even Nico. The music is varied, cinematic, folky, and sometimes repetitive, but always feeling loaded. The singer describes his genre as “experimental electronic” and mixes his knowledge of classical piano, guitar and synthesizer with influences from contemporary music and minimalism.

The songs were all written by Jay Flash, or Jeff Flashinski, himself. After his debut album, “The Loser”, Jay continued composing. Last year I put “The Loser” in my Top Ten list for the year and now it seems Jay Flash will go there again. His imagination has no measure. Civil commentary in his songs is now more pronounced. The storylines are simple but the themes are deep, though his singing is secondary to the instrumentation. Sometimes he cries as in the song “Occupied” dedicated to Pablo Neruda. His voice makes you think of Kurt Cobain. On this album you will hear some instrumental numbers like the strange but beautiful “Piano Instrumental No. 2.” You will also hear songs about apathy, nihilism, or the madness of war. The intensely poignant “Still Has On A Smile” displays a burning compassion. Other gems are “Joseph” and “The Other Men”, each with exquisite piano accompaniment. Several songs betray his inner turmoil, as in “The Other Men” which makes apparent his hidden suffering for love. In “Ours” he combines tenderness with strength.

The singer/poet is someone who, despite his dark thoughts, composed music to stay “flowing all day long.” In recent years he has toured from his residence to Chicago, Nashville, and New York City, as admiration for his music grows. This album can be described with his own words when he sings “I want to have a clean soul” or “keep the feel going strong.” The music guides the intent on in its own inventive way.



-Marci (Rootstime.be)

- Rootstime


Jay Flash refers to his style as "experimental folk music," even if the 25-year-old Milwaukee pianist sounds as influenced by Philip Glass, Sufjan Stevens and Ben Folds as Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake. As indicated by the title of this debut album, The Loser overflows with despair, though it's as articulate as it is achy. Flash's resigned vocals sound akin to a fresher-faced, Midwestern Lou Reed. His occasionally apparent gift for narrative detail puts him in the same league as indie-pop storytellers such as Pedro the Lion's David Bazan. Flash's catchy, downcast songwriting could earn him a following of disaffected acolytes a la Dashboard Confessional.

-Jamie Lee Rake - Shepherd Express


www.rootstime.be

CD Review of "The Loser" (Translated from Dutch to English)



With winter around the corner, this songwriter's plate of experimental-folk is a risky thing. All the gloom and the unbearable heaviness of existence threaten to overcome you afterwards, but what a musical beauty that will touch you-the poignant piano playing and a wealth of sound. What screamed out passion and depressing lyrics that wills you away. Janacek with Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen with Zbigniew Preisner, Sigur Ros with Nick Drake, Bjork and Radiohead mixed together. These last two Jeff Flashinski himself includes as his influences. But who is this Jeff or Jay Flash, with his debut CD as deeply knowing to hit this mood? If you discover that this young artist is barely 25 years old, the question marks even greater intrigue. Musician Jay Flash, residing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is still studying at the University but trained both in classical piano and guitar. In his spare time he gives concerts in the Riverwest area. The music he describes as "Electronic Experimental" is everything except that of a 'Loser'. Undeniably, it is a very talented musician, because otherwise you may not like music in this world where the scorched and goose bumps moments succeed each other. Sometimes you feel both at the same time as in the ruthlessly poignant "Dead Dream". The titles clearly illustrate the not-too-happy world: "Nobody Knows My Name", "Down", "Dead Dream", "A Warning". Yet there are lively exchanges with some hope hidden amidst all this doomsday thinking and melancholy narrative. Like a person in the chaos of life looking for a new balance with music as a beacon. The instrumental piano piece bears such an unexpected full flight that you willingly cling to the sounds' wants sending you to that beautiful dream not to be missed. And for "Hope", which is sung with a voice whispering all the missing words, what is more eloquent than, "Can you imagine how something so badly wants life?" Jay's voice sometimes reminds one of Rufus Wainwright, but sensitive in softer realms with a few grim turns. Though with Jay Flash the music prevails and makes his singing subordinate. Piano, synthesizer, guitar, and the drums of Dawson Barrett, lift the songs to a dimension where music is the only language that remains. "Apology", a song where hunker and acceptance reconcile, comes across as a contemporary, 'Soul of a Man'. The youthful Jay Flash somewhere sings, "It's not hip to be sad." Fortunately, when he quit his poetic masterpiece he shines, because you wouldn't want him to stop after his entreaty: "forgive me I have to depart." Those who have these dozen songs in their possession can repeatedly play them the whole year through. This winter album is not seasonal.

Marcie

- Rootstime


Discography

LP's: "Know, Alone" (April 2010), "Lonesome Heroes" (May 2009), "The Loser" (October 2008)

The single "Piano Instrumental No.1" has been played on the national news program Democracy Now multiple times in the past year.

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Bio

Jay Flash is a musician who has lived in Wisconsin his whole life and currently lives in Milwaukee. He is 27 years old and his music style would fall in the genre of “Alternative Rock” or “Experimental Folk”. He sings, as well as plays guitar and piano. He has played at different venues in the Milwaukee area such as Stonefly, Linneman’s, the Rave, Café Lulu, etc. He’s also played in Chicago, Nashville, and New York City for various shows and festivals. His live performance includes a full 6 piece band that contains members of the local bands, The Vega Star and Flojo. His primary influences are folk legends such as Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, and Bob Dylan, while his more modern influences include Radiohead, The Walkmen, and Animal Collective.
The uniqueness of Jay Flash’s music is his willingness to try to write in various genres and to experiment with traditional form in his songwriting. His vocals also express a wide range of emotions which include anger, despair, sorrow, joy, euphoria, and love. The lyrics call for social change as well as a desire to overcome personal difficulties and depression. It’s a populist message as well as a personal one that is intended to resonate with a large audience.
Jay Flash released an album called “The Loser” in October 2008 which is over an hour in length and received critical acclaim from a Belgian CD Review site named Rootstime. Rootstime included Jay Flash’s “The Loser” in their 2008 Top Ten List for albums by new artists. They said of him: “Undeniably, [Jay Flash] is a very talented musician…Those who have these dozen songs in their possession can repeatedly play them the whole year through. This winter album is not seasonal.”
Jay Flash also received praise from Milwaukee’s own Shepherd Express which said: “Jay Flash refers to his style as ‘experimental folk music,’ even if the 25-year-old Milwaukee pianist sounds as influenced by Philip Glass, Sufjan Stevens and Ben Folds as Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake. As indicated by the title of this debut album, The Loser overflows with despair, though it's as articulate as it is achy. Flash's resigned vocals sound akin to a fresher-faced, Midwestern Lou Reed.”
Jay Flash also released a new album titled “Lonesome Heroes” on May 30, 2009 through Sector Five Records. This album was reviewed by Milwaukee's Fanbelt which said: “This 68-minute, 16-track post-rock opus by J. Flash makes a strong appeal towards my top ten of 2009 list. It’s only August, but I know a top-ten record when I hear one. It’s easy to draw comparisons with Animal Collective and Radiohead, but J. Flash injects enough originality into the music to transcend his influences.” You can listen and download the album “Lonesome Heroes” for free by typing in this link:
http://www.noempirerecords.com/download/Lonesome_Heroes.zip.
Jay Flash has a new album which will be released in April 2010 called “Know, Alone”. This one has a fuller, heavier sound which reflects more of his rock influences. It was professionally recorded and mastered with the help of members from the Milwaukee band, The Vega Star. His music can be heard at www.myspace.com/jayflasch