Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased tracks, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole is “Romance” by Wild Flag from their upcoming self-titled 2011 release on Merge.
Carrie Brownstein, might be more famous right now for her leading comedienne persona on Portlandia or her since retired Monitor Mix blog on NPR than her contribution to the post grunge indie rock girl group Sleater-Kinney. But also these are times of ’90s sound revivals, reunion tours, and modern supergroups, and it’s never a more appropriate a time for the first round of the post-grunge era female talent to reconvene and conquer the music world once again, flying in the face of the boys club.
Hailing from Portland, Oregon, and Washington, D.C, Wild Flag is an industrious web of side projects and inter-band mingling. Through touring together, and several intertwining side projects, Brownstein, Mary Timony from Helium, Rebecca Cole of The Minders, and Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney and Quasi, joined forces for Wild Flag. Brownstein and Weiss were in Sleater-Kinney together. SK toured with Helium and The Minders, Timony and Brownstein were in The Spells together in the late 90s, and surely more connections over the last 20 years that haven’t been thought of yet.
About a year in the making, Wild Flag will debut this September on Merge. Brownstein announced the band’s formation nearly a year ago on her blog. They subsequently played their first packed show last April in Olympia, WA with youtube evidence to support, and played a sold-out High Dive in Seattle in November.
What’s coming from them couldn’t be more frenetic, energetic, modern, and fun. If you can handle a 1960s pop groove depicting an impromtu, carefree Laugh-In style dance party, hand-clap breakdowns, and growling, yet deadpan vocals from Browenstein conjuring feelings of the first time you thought of grrl power, coupled with tight instrumentation, and veteran expertise in rocking your socks off, then this is it. “Romance” is backed by a confident and powerful set of talent. Contrary to some bands loving the spontaneity and slightly messy consequence, Wild Flag recorded Last Summer live and its form is tight. Chemistry might not be “manufactured” but it certainly found a home in this track and showcases the talent of each member with flow-avoiding the stilted presentation of trying too hard. Best of all, the song reinforces a mantra of positivity: “We love the sound, the sound is what found us, sound is the blood between me and you.”
They’ve got seven shows scheduled this fall covering mostly the midwest, plus a show in Brooklyn on August 12 at Williamsburg Waterfront with Sonic Youth and Kurt Vile. Check in on their Facebook and MySpace pages for updates. Being that they’re semi-local, they’ll probably be playing again in the Northwest soon enough. If you’re going to miss them this round, check out this video of Wild Flag playing their debut single at Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop during KEXP’s broadcast at SXSW 2011: