Wild Flag, Mickey, Radar Eyes | Subterranean | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Wild Flag, Mickey, Radar Eyes 17+ Early Warnings (Music) Member Picks Sold Out (Music) Soundboard

When: Fri., July 22, 10:30 p.m. 2011

So-called supergroups rarely equal the sum of their parts; in fact, they often fail to live up to the members’ previous efforts. But as Wild Flag, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss (both of Sleater-Kinney), Mary Timony (Helium), and Rebecca Cole (Minders) have made one of the best straight-up rock records I’ve heard in the past couple of years. Their self-titled debut for Merge (due in September) juggles garage rock, classic punk, and what we called “alternative rock” back in the pre-Nirvana days. Brownstein’s slashing guitar leads cut like a scythe through the saturated chords Cole lays down on organ, and Weiss steers the ship with her ferocious rhythms. Brownstein’s swooping, hiccupping singing style recalls neon new wave—she sounds a bit like Lene Lovich tackling the Ric Ocasek songbook (“Endless Talk” seems to borrow a hook from “My Best Friend’s Girl”)—while Timony, who shares front-woman duties, delivers a more restrained but equally hooky cool. The melodies are consistently catchy, and in a pleasant departure from the members’ old bands, they’re crowned with irresistible harmony vocals that alternate between soft 60s psychedelia and ebullient girl-group pop. Wild Flag are the complete package—if anything, they’re more than the sum of their parts. —Peter Margasak

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