One Nation Under Wild Flag

The heads of critics and fans alike imploded when it was announced that Wild Flag was being waved into existence. Everyone loves a super group; especially one full of some of the most talented women in indie rock history: Carrie Browstein (Sleater Kinney/Excuse 17), Mary Timony (Helium), Janet Weiss (Sleater Kinney/Quasi), Rebecca Cole (The Minders).

Before the band had even played their first show, the hype was building over the Internet. Not even a demo had been leaked pointing to their musical direction, and the band had even laughed off the buildup stating that unbeknownst to their die hard fans they could be a polka band! Instead of giving into the pressure by throwing a lo-fi demo on the Internet, the ladies of Wild Flag decided to keep their audience in suspense as they crafted their sonic identity. Finally, the mystery was unveiled to the public when they set out on their first tour during the fall of 2010. Sold out shows to curious fans was the result. Still no recordings were available (except for online-aired bootleg video taken by fans at shows).

Flash forward to 2011: Merge Records releases Wild Flag’s debut 7” – available in advance on the band’s tour to SXSW, and to officially release to select record stores on Record Store Day. The record opens with “Glass Tambourine”, fronted by the charming Mary Timony, the former front woman of seminal shoegazey prog rock outfit, Helium. Years later, her low alto croon is mesmerizing as her sonic army supports her in a style reminiscent of the epic tunes she composed during Helium’s heyday. Each band member is allowed to shine in “Glass Tambourine” as it twists and turns through a proggy song structure. Janet’s calm backing vocals are matched with the fury of Carrie’s guitar solos layered underneath a space storm of otherworldly effects. “Future Crimes” boasts Carrie Brownstein’s spitfire vocal presence while showcasing her signature guitar talent. Rebecca Cole also hones down her skills on the keys with an extremely catchy arpeggio while Janet Weiss keeps the beat steady and sweet with complementary backing vocals. It is a pop song that is easy to follow, yet channels the live energy the four women have possessed like magic.

Since their first shows in the Northwest, Wild Flag has polished out their sound and have proven their ability to be more than just a short lived – yet rad – side project. Their live shows are growing in numbers and musical intensity, sure to win over veteran fans and newbies alike. More importantly, they continue the legacies they have earned as individuals in the past with a fresh new sound that is bound to start a revolution for generations of young lady rockers united under Wild Flag.


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