on September 13, 2011
I don't normally write album reviews. I usually just make a diorama and show people what a specific set of songs means to me. With that said, here I go...this Portland based band has made the 15 yr old girl in me come alive with these super charged hooks, power kick beats and fuzzed out lyrical dynamacism (yup, that is a word now- you're welcome). Love the song 'romance" super sweet beats that totally made me forget to turn on my blinker when making a left turn, almost hit some dude in Lycra jogging on rt. 80 today, uh-oh. Sure, the tools at Pitchfork may sweat these gals hard, but the praise is worth it. This music is fun, energetic, fabulous, butt-kicking, almost like Edward James Olmos in Battle Start Gallactica. I have listened to the album about 8 times today, I know, unreal. So, pick this up, rock out, and take a trip back to the late 90s. I think this would be good work out music, if by working out you mean kicking in car windows of ex-boyfriends.
on December 22, 2011
I have always respected and been a fan of Sleater-Kinney since it was such an honest, simple and expressive rock and roll trio...yet despite the simplicity...there was much more there than just three chord rock. My favorite Sleater Tunes were the most melodic onces.
"Wild Flag", made up of former members of that band, actually improve upon Sleater-Kinney by focusing on infectuous melodies. That is no easy accomplishment.
What I really like is the creative use of the instruments taking things well beyond stereotypical "buzz saw" guitars. There is wonderful harmonizing, dueling countermelodic tones, propulsive backbeats and anthemic chants that make this band create. what first sounds like simple punk/indie music, but upon careful listening, there is so much more there. This is great song writing, impressive musicianship and exemplary creativity. It reminds me of the high quality punk that came out of New York City in the 70's a la Talking Heads, and Television. "Romance", "Something Came over Me" and "Short Versions" are highlights but the other songs are of high quality.
A big thumbs up for adventerous music like this.
on October 18, 2011
I really dislike the overuse of "supergroup" to describe this band but if it gets people's attention that cool. I grew up on Helium and Sleater-Kinney and I really love the melding of the two sounds here. (Is it just me or does Short Version sound totally like What Institution Are You From?) I don't buy a lot of albums anymore because I prefer live music but so glad I got this one.
While it might not sound new if you listened to the bands above, I hope this introduces a new generation of girls to the riot-grrl sound. While Wild Flag are thoroughly 21st century, they remind me so much more of that era than say, Le Tigre. And I'm totally remembering all my Helium songs from days gone by.
Okay let's be honest: this is not going to change your life or anything, but it is a solid, honest, rockin' romp and it will be many listens before I tire of it. I have always liked Mary Timony and the music (but not the production, sadly), of Sleater-Kinney (The Woods is a record whose great music is nearly wrecked by the heavy-handed dynamic limiting--the disc has virtually NO dynamic range at all, but I digress....). The production on Wild Flag's CD, however, is delightful. So what do I mean by the word "imperfection" in my title? It is meant as a compliment: there are occasional sloppy guitar riffs, not-quite-together ensemble moments and a bit of singing which we in the biz politely call "pitchy", but doggone it I love it all! I have heard enough recordings on which the performances (if you can even call them performances, what with all the overdubbing, editing, pitch-correction and comping involved), sound like they were stamped out of a factory, all quirks and personality gone; nothing left but sterile perfection that is hardly more interesting than the click tracks they played to. But not here, oh no, these women ROCK and their energy is totally honest. The slight imperfections (and they are slight--just a pinched guitar note here, a not-quite-pitch-perfect vocal note there), are not just acceptable; in my view they are a most welcome commodity. Give me an honest, energetic and fun performance over rote factory perfection ANYTIME. This CD may or may not be great, but it is damn good and I am happy to recommend it.
on November 3, 2011
although i never embraced riotgrrl nor its music, i do enjoy grunge, lived in Seattle just out of highschool. this is an album for someone who wants an infusion of new from the roots of Pacific NorthWest alt-rock.
Wild Flag survives,
if you are a stickler for vibrato and vocals, skip it. the harmonies are excellent. carrie brownstein has the starpower and sound of young patti smith. mary timony is in a master class of her own, guitar wise. her voice has improved/matured since Helium, she's willing to take more risks, her vocals are an aquired taste. however when the band harmonizes.. after weiss on drums, timony' guitar, the harmonies are my 3rd fave.
carrie and mary both on guitar make use of alternate turnings to replace any need for bassist. this much enery and power from a band of 4 is excellent.
i give 5 stars because Janet Weiss on drums steals the show.
for the drums the best track is 9.racehorse with Carrie giving it her all. the other long track 4. glass tambourine, is mary timony singing. i enjoy her guitar more than her voice.
this is not music i usually listen to yet I read a quality review from Britain and decided i needed to hear. glad i did.wonderful these 4 people collaborated as a working, touring band prior to releasing the album. all songs written by Wild Flag.
this is on an independent label. its good fun and good rock to dance to.
i am about the same age as Mary Timony at the time she fronted, on lead guitar. We both lived in Boston at the time she fronted Helium. Her vocals are better now and her guitar is virtuoso-like'
Carrie Brownstein sings all my fave tracks. I buy albums, and very few single tracks. Simply because I want to hear an album the same way I read a book from begining to end.
the album art too is important. i want to know the musicians' choices for song sequence, etc.
if you want a track taste: skip green tambourine, go for #9racehorse and #10 blacktiles
for fun stuff: #1 romance and #3boom and #7electric band
i dont often write reviews. i only do when necessary. thx.
on May 27, 2016
Purchased this album when I was greedy for more music like Sleater-Kinney. Wild Flag includes two Sleater-Kinney members, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss, and it continues the tradition of women's indie rock in a fulfilling fashion.
on June 10, 2013
These gals truly rock.
In Wild Flag, Carrie plays the most awesome, rock out guitar (Jimmy Page, anyone?) The other band members are: Mary Timony, Rebecca Cole and Janet Weiss all of whom prove that Rock and Roll is here to stay!
It's hard to believe the difference between the rocker Carrie Brownstein and the actress Carrie Brownstein on Portlandia with Fred Armisen. On Portlandia she plays multiple characters, as does Fred Armisen. There are numerous collaborators and actors on Portlandia....check it out: IFC, Friday nights.
on September 22, 2011
A quick scan of Wild Flag's ingredients might give the impression that this is a new incarnation of girl-power phenom Sleater-Kinney, as two of its members are on board. But riot grrrl purists are likely to be disappointed because Wild Flag is not flying that particular flag. This is straight-up rock 'n' roll.
It's nice to know there are bands in 2011 still confident enough to refrain from slathering their output in gimmicks and synthesized polish. Here there are no samples, loops or other laptop noodling -- and mixing-board activity seems to have been kept to a minimum during production. The only tweak on "Wild Flag" is that the vocals were added in later, probably to allow the music to come through more fully. And it does. There is a palpable sense of space to the mix. The separate recordings also allow the frequent backing vocals to shine through.
The matchup of guitarist Mary Timony of Helium and keyboardist Rebecca Cole of The Minders with Sleater-Kinney band mates Janet Weiss (drums) and Carrie Brownstein (guitar) bears forth the same brand of gritty, meaty blues-rock as Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, or more recently, The Dead Weather. Sleater-Kinney, one of the grrrl movement's enduring identifiers, put out great albums, but by 2005's "The Woods," it seemed to have run out of ideas.
Ideas are plentiful on "Wild Flag," and the energy is often fierce. Timony and Brownstein form an unholy alliance, the latter with her signature guitar-played-as-bass style and the former with a predilection to reach for the heavy-metal high notes. Together, they rage like Godzilla punching holes in skyscrapers, as on the epic, near 7-minute-long morsel of guitar fury, "Racehorse." And Brownstein has such a whip-crack, commanding voice, she could front a polka band and I'd still be listening.
The album's rascal heart is best displayed on the sludgy, hip-swaggering "Boom," Brownstein belting out, voice cracking, "If you need help with your motor / well you can borrow mine, borrow mine." The song puffs itself up and springs forth like a hot rod in a drag race.
There is a definite chemistry between the four veterans, a sense of playful adventure. There are even a couple chuckles from Timony on the nostalgic "Something Came Over Me." The fact that all the members play singing roles gives "Wild Flag" a chummy flavor.
The album's only weakness is the awkward "Glass Tambourine," a lazy, downtempo mess that actually does sound poorly mixed. It sticks out like a sore thumb from an otherwise surprisingly refreshing release.
on September 4, 2012
So Sleater-Kinney breaks up and there is this void. Finally, I hear about Wild Flag first by learning about the single "Glass Tambourine" and enjoying the pseudo-psychedelia. I don't know who is singing. I learn later about Mary Timony. I find out about Helium and Mary's solo efforts. I already know about Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss. I find a collaboration between Mary and Carrie called The Spells which has a couple of songs about bats and birds. I find out about Rebecca Cole and discover the Minders. So this band has led to several delightful discoveries just in learning about the personnel.
I've listened to this and also to Corin Tucker's effort. And I find, not surprisingly, Wild Flag is better musically and lyrically than Corin's band but Corin is a better singer than anyone in Wild Flag. Still, there is a feeling of expression and exhilaration from the band as if they are having tremendous fun with what they are doing. Mary and Carrie's guitars work well together and Mary brings some technique that couldn't be there due to Corin's limited guitar playing. Rebecca's keyboard playing is tasteful, sparse and also provides bass which was usually missing from S-K stuff. Janet, of course, provides the driving beat. Both Janet and Rebecca provide great backing vocals.
The songs seem to be mostly divided between Carrie and Mary and they alternate singing lead. But it also seems like a collective work, a democracy with input from all. I can hear some of Mary's favorite phrases sung by Carrie. The theme is almost universal that music is great and needed. The song Romance is unabashedly a love affair with music -- an announcement from Carrie that she is back.
I think this is a very worthy effort and a very fun album. Hopefully the first of many.
on March 13, 2012
I wanted some new music and after hearing the first couple singles and seeing this for the low price of $5 I decided to jump on it. Not too many uninteresting parts of the album but there are definitely a few songs that shine far brighter than the others. Definitely some good music that isn't like anything else out there right now.