Music Meter Monday: Supergroup Wild Flag Lets Fly

Posted October 3

Welcome to Music Meter Monday, a new feature on the O Music Awards Blog whereby we introduce you to a band that’s currently climbing the MTV Music Meter Charts. This week’s buzzy band? The all-woman, all-kickass supergroup, Wild Flag.

For the last five years, Mary Timony (whose former band Helium you may remember rocking out to in high school) has been teaching music lessons — helping young students form their own bands and put on shows. Timony, a music vet, was feeling a bit burned out on the band scene, herself.

“No one was coming to the shows. The last tour I went on I lost a lot of money,” she says of her solo efforts after Helium broke up. “So I was like, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ I also really wanted to collaborate with people. I had been wanting to for a long time. So I kept thinking about that. And then suddenly this opportunity came along.”

The opportunity that she’s referring to is Wild Flag, a band that came into being just over a year ago after Carrie Brownstein (Excuse 17, Sleater-Kinney) collaborated on a soundtrack for a film called Women, Art, Revolution with Janet Weiss (Quasi and Sleater-Kinney, among other bands) and Rebecca Cole (The Minders). Brownstein and Co. decided to keep writing music together, and soon called Timony into the fold. All four members have known each other for years, having toured/played together for a decade or so. Their first, self-titled album debuted in September.

“I don’t think we would have thought of ourselves as a super group,” Timony says of the moniker the band has earned. “And then we were just kind of like, ‘What?’ A supergroup to me means what a supergroup meant in the ’80s, like Asia and the Traveling Wilburys. It’s not like we’ve had these huge careers or anything — I guess Sleater Kinney was very popular. So it doesn’t seem fitting to us. But it’s fine now. I’ll accept whatever as long as people are liking it, it doesn’t matter what people are labeling it as.”

The people, apparently, are liking it — and with good reason. Wild Flag’s disc is equal parts singalong “driving around with the top down” fun (see: the video for the anthemic “Romance”) and dreamy absurdity (see: “Glass Tambourine,” which recalls tunes like “Leon’s Space Song” off of Helium’s The Magic City).

According to Timony, the band’s songwriting process is largely collaborative, and the chemistry is fluid. “It has something to do with having done rock music for as long as we have,” she says. “We’ve kind of honed down how to be in a band and how to play shows. And we’re really having fun with this band. Especially playing live. You never know what to expect, really.”

Although her students miss her — they plan to come out and see the band play when they come through Timony’s hometown of D.C. — the musician is happy to be playing again. “I feel so incredibly lucky because I didn’t expect to be doing music again, really,” she says. “I was just teaching and perfectly fine doing that, and then this band happened to come along. I kind of can’t even believe it.”

Image courtesy of Merge Records

By Brenna Ehrlich