February 21, 2006 was the release date of The Lashes' Get It on Columbia Records. Their major label release was the culmination of much effort, not only musically but as a self-promotion machine. From the songs "Death by Mixtape" to "It's Your Party" (sly dedications to to music journalists Andrew Bonazelli and Kathleen Wilson, respectively) to the now infamous picketing of a Sub Pop event, Ben Lashes and company had a knack for getting attention.
Even as recently as April 2007, Ben was responsible for the signs blanketing Capitol Hill before U.S.E.'s "secret" show. In a time where show posters are increasingly becoming an art form, it only took Ben two minutes and a Sharpie to create one of the most distinctive flyers of the year.
This has been a year of changes for the Lashes, most notably the injury of guitarist Eric Lashes. Side projects have flourished, from Jacob Lashes in Ships to Nate and Mike Lashes in Strong Killings, as well as Eric Lashes performing as Palmer, AK. One could begin to suspect a curtain call for the Lashes as we knew them.
The start of the new year will prove that all suspicions of their demise are false – and notably so. The Lashes will release Thank You via Sonic Boom with a host of fanfare. Slotted to start with their New Year's Eve show at the Comet, one could say the events have begun with the full-page ad in today's Stranger.
Those with enough patience (and better than 20/20 vision) will spot the thank you to Three Imaginary Girls. My thank you to them is something I will repeat from an email sent out to close friends at the release of Get It:
"Ben wore a belt in LA that flashed the message "IT'S OKAY TO LIKE THE LASHES". And you know what? It is. It's okay to love the Lashes. Hate them if you must, but you're missing out if you can't look past the Cha Cha driven rumors and the fashion and the "the". Because it's pop music – really catchy, contagious, good pop music. Pop music that you can sing along with, the stuff that becomes the anthem to a summer day, the dance party you have with your best friends as you're getting ready to go out. I'm well aware of how sophomoric or naive that statement sounds – I can only hope there's always a part of me that is able to hear things that way. Today is a dream come true for a lot of people I love. A huge congrats to them all."