This is my love letter to all the queer musicians out there, making art and kicking ass. If there's an artist you think I should know about, please let me know, I love new music! (I also reblog/post on general queer and trans stuff, radical news, and instances when the world is fucked, and when it isn't!)
It’s finally here! The self-titled debut from indie rock super group Wild Flag is finally here! Released this past Tuesday, Wild Flag is an exciting debut that not only fills the Sleater-Kinney shaped hole in all of our hearts, but makes an artistic statement all its own, setting it apart from the members’ previous projects.
Wild Flag distills some of the best of mid-90s indie rock and riot grrrl sound into one album. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the make-up of the band, but it is still comforting to know that they all still have it, and don’t retread the well worn ground of their earlier bands. Oh sure, it sounds similar to Sleater-Kinney, but it isn’t Sleater-Kinney. There are new dynamics and depths to these tracks. The album kicks off with their first single “Romance” (and if you haven’t seen the video yet, what are you waiting for? Pink Volvos and shenanigans galore!), and it sets the stage well for the rest of Wild Flag. Janet Weiss’s drumming is as driving as ever, and there is no mistaking Carrie Brownstein’s distinctive voice. Rebecca Cole probably plays the largest role in keeping Wild Flag from becoming Sleater-Kinney part two. Her keyboard parts are bright and interesting, and they cut through the familiar two-guitar-no-bass sound.This is perhaps most noticeable on “Future Crimes” (which was first released on a 7” earlier this year), easily the best song on the album. It’s short, and it’s given just enough time for everything to fall into place before ending. The keys are at the forefront, and they match perfectly with short bursts of guitar chords. Dare I say, it’s rollicking.
The dynamic between Brownstein and Mary Timony is the fairly traditional approach of rhythm and lead guitar, respectively. There are some interesting songs, like “Short Version,” which features far more interesting interweaving lines through most of it. But the majority of the tracks are based on fuzzy, dirty guitar chords, with leads over top. Combined with Cole’s key parts, the low end is filled just fine, despite there being no bass player. I adore the guitar tones on this record. They are just the right amounts of 90s grunge, with enough of that riot grrrl jangle to offset them and not make the overall sound too muddy.
Lyrically, the songs tend towards relationships. There is nothing truly outstanding in any of them, but they are all solid efforts enhanced by Brownstein’s signature vocal style, which adds a unique shy desperation to everything.
To sum up: Wild Flag is awesome. If you aren’t listening to it right now, get on that. They’ll begin a country wide tour next month in support of the record, and I highly recommend going to see them if they’ll be in a town by you. Wild Flag is available on iTunes and other digital distribution sites. If you want a physical copy, head over to their Merge Records store and buy directly from the label (or them, if you see them live).