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The dissolution of Sleater-Kinney in 2006 left many wondering where to turn for the band’s unique style of angst-ridden rock, which played a big role in the riot grrrl movement of the early to mid ’90s. Though drummer Janet Weiss and guitarist Carrie Brownstein—one of Rolling Stone’s top 25 most underrated guitarists of all time—have been busy, they’ve now teamed with guitarist Mary Timony (of Helium fame) and keyboardist Rebecca Cole (of the Minders) to form punk supergroup Wild Flag.
Not wanting to rely on the success of previous projects to garner an audience, Wild Flag spent the past year playing small clubs before going into the studio—and it paid off. A passionate fan base is now in place and their self-titled debut is so supercharged that it sounds like the band is constantly about to come off the tracks—in a good way. Timony and Brownstein’s twin-guitar assault ranges from frantic crunch on “Boom” to psych-rock nastiness on “Glass Tambourine” and fuzzy mayhem on “Racehorse.” Every track delivers in its own way, and all are complemented perfectly by Cole’s keyboards and Weiss’ drum fury. Though Timony and Brownstein share lead-vocal duties, Cole and Weiss help out, too. And when they belt out brattish yells and shrieks in unison on tracks like “Racehorse” and “Romance”—watch out! This is heavy music, but thanks to creative dynamics it’s still melodic, dreamy, and accessible.
Wild Flag is not just a reworked version of Sleater-Kinney, but like that band, it’s so absolutely unique and innovative that it’s scary.
Must-hear track: “Romance”