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.

Wild Flag
Wild Flag
Merge Records




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”

A bone nut being back-filed for proper string placement and correct action height.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot to change your acoustic guitar’s tone and playability.

In my early days, all the guitars I played (which all happened to be pre-1950s) used bone nuts and saddles. I took this for granted, and so did my musician friends. With the exception of the ebony nuts on some turn-of-the-century parlors and the occasional use of ivory, the use of bone was a simple fact of our guitar playing lives, and alternative materials were simply uncommon to us.

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While Monolord has no shortage of the dark and heavy, guitarist and vocalist Thomas V Jäger comes at it from a perspective more common to pop songsmiths.

Photo by Chad Kelco

Melodies, hooks, clean tones, and no guitar solos. Are we sure this Elliott Smith fan fronts a doom-metal band? (We’re sure!)

Legend has it the name Monolord refers to a friend of the band with the same moniker who lost hearing in his left ear, and later said it didn’t matter if the band recorded anything in stereo, because he could not hear it anyway. It’s a funny, though slightly tragic, bit of backstory, but that handle is befitting in yet another, perhaps even more profound, way. Doom and stoner metal are arguably the torch-bearing subgenres for hard rock guitar players, and if any band seems to hold the keys to the castle at this moment, it’s Monolord.

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