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Rockin' OurTurntable: Wild Flag

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 13, 2011 4:00PM

2011_09_wild_flag.jpg When you take Carrie Brownstein, Janet Weiss, Mary Timony and Rebecca Cole and put them together it reads like some indie rock dream equation:

1/2 Sleater-Kinney + 1/4 Helium + 1/4 Minders = WILD FLAG

Wild Flag has music critics falling over themselves searching for superlatives to drape across the ten songs that comprise the quartet's debut album. Already we're hearing multiple calls for the band as automatic entries in the great rock albums of the year lists (local boys Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot have lead that charge) and even folks skeptical of some of the members' previous projects have been won over by these songs (see: Jessica Hopper's review). Usually such a unanimous chorus of praise would put us on our guard but after seeing the group play earlier this year we too were primed to fall in love with Wild Flag. And we have!

The songs on Wild Flag were recorded live as a band with only the vocals overdubbed so the group's intensity is faithfully captured. The results are totally raw and exciting. Right when you think you have band's number down they'll surprise you with a sudden turn into psychedelia or prog tendencies while retaining a fiery focus that elevates the proceedings above simple genre categorization. Something like "Endless Talk" is '60s girl group harmonies buried in an attack straight from a garage that suddenly turns into a new-wave hit in the making. "Short Version" charges straight ahead into classic rock territory and "Racehorse" sees the band maintain an exhausting intensity for nearly seven minutes of guitar heroics and big choruses.

We'll resist comparing the whole of Wild Flag to any of its creators' previous work but suffice to say it more than stands up to anything they've been previously involved in. Some are calling Wild Flag a supergroup but we're really hoping the band has a longer lifespan than that would seem to imply.

Wild Flag plays at The Empty Bottle on October 8 and 9.