Listen to this song by the criminally underexposed Toronto-based, Halifax-bred power-popists The Flashing Lights. It’s their 1999 song “Where Do the Days Go?” as taken from their debut album Where the Change Is. For some years, I plagued everyone I knew with my evangelical fervour inspired by the greatness of this song. Things haven’t changed.
I’d heard of this band only by reputation. I’d been living in Britain at the end of the 90s, and wanted to get in touch with what was happening musically speaking in my own country. I can’t remember the exact path that led me to this band, or their excellent debut. But, I ordered this disc on the strength of some reviews I’d read. And boy were they right, especially about this song.
When trying to describe this song, I always thought it sounded kind of like a summer barbecue as hosted by the Who, with Brian Wilson as a guest of honour. I love that Beach Boys organ, the hard Townshend-esque guitar, and the fun loving spirit of power pop that drives this wonderful creation along. It is simply one of my favourite songs, and maybe because 1999 felt like a bittersweet end of an era for me, there is a certain melancholic association I have with it too.
Sadly, after the band’s excellent follow-up album Sweet Release, they seem to have disappeared. Any news on their whereabouts would be welcome!
In the meantime, I got some dreams on the dashboard; gonna let them loose when we hit town!
For more information about The Flashing Lights, read this interview with lead singer and songwriter Matt Murphy.
8 thoughts on “The Flashing Lights Play “Where Do The Days Go?””
Another find! Great post and thanks for bringing it to our attention. Had never heard of this bunch, either, and you seem to have a stash of great music that you let loose in powerful blasts, along with enthusiastic, admiring words. Good stuff!
Interesting the way you refer to the Flashing Lights as “criminally underexposed.” Quite apt for this song, yes, but the more indie stuff I listen to these days, the more I think the number of “criminally underexposed” artists must be in the multitudes. Do you agree? Do you have any ideas why this may be?
I think it’s because bands/musical acts these days have to be jacks of all trades: musicians/artists … as well as publicists, promoters, webmasters, business people, financiers, technicians, producers etc. No? No big labels are picking artists up and putting them on their train the way the used to.
It’s a shame that this group isn’t better known – or wasn’t – and it’s a shame to think of the numbers of truly inspired musicians that fall by the wayside, like the Flashing Lights, because they’re not so good at promoting themselves or finding the numbers that will interest that moneyed companies who can bring them to the masses.
Cheers and keep fighting the noble fight!
Thanks for comments, David.
I certainly think there is a massive glut of underexposed greatness out there. For me as a fan, that’s part of the fun – the search to find it. For the bands, I imagine it’s a lot of hard work to be heard through the noise of the competition. Given that there are certainly more channels through which to be heard, it means that there are more players, too. Technology has proved to be the great leveler in some ways. But, in others, it means that bands have that many more things to juggle in order to stand out. You’re right – they have to be multi-hatted in order to do this.
As for the Flashing Lights, they probably had at least two barriers to success. First, that they’re a power pop band, of which there are hundreds of thousands in that mini-genre alone. Second, they’re Canadian, with this country being notoriously difficult to tour effectively due to the distance between heavily populated areas, and because our music industry is so reactionary – proud to be Canadian and all that, yet in the end choosing Nickleback because that’s what they can sell to the States.
Thanks again for comments!
The Flashing Lights quietly disbanded not long after “Sweet Release” came out. Matt went on to form a band called City Field and star in the film “The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico.” Gaven formed a new band called The Saffron Sect and continues to perform with them. Steve produced an album for the Meligrove Band and now plays drums in Elliott Brood. Henri moved back to Halifax when the band broke up; the other three still live in Toronto.
Mortimer – thanks so much for filling in the blanks, and for mentioning the new bands/projects that have ensued.
You seem to have the inside track on t FL. I have actually been trying to contact matt recently thru matt McQuaid of Holy Fuck, but have not been successful. Matt reportedly has a new band that I am interested in sending into the studio to
record for my fledgling label, CCG
Records. If you have the means please give him my contact info.
I started ccg records because I am tired
of seeing all my favorite bands disappear.
So far I have revived a band from California called Carlos and wool like to do the same with the flashing lights.
I LOVE THIS SONG. The album is fantastical. Best purchase I’ve made in a year
Thanks for all of this. Have been trying to find out what happened to them for a very long time. I listened to the first CD over and over again, then bought Sweet Release when it came out, then…. nothing. So thanks for the closure. Sweet Release is on streaming sites like Rdio – wish Where The Change is could be.
Update, folks. Matt Murphy is a member of new band TUNS. You can hear their new single
“Throw It All Away” right here. http://tunsmusic.com/