Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

All the Single Ladies 

Wild Flag crank up the concept of supergroups and girl groups

There's no getting around the whole supergroup thing with Wild Flag. You don't want to bring it up, but you can't really talk about the band without getting into the four members' pasts and how awesome it is that they're all getting together for this new project.

This summit of some of indie rock's most kick-ass women — Sleater-Kinney's Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss, the Minders' Rebecca Cole, and Helium's Mary Timony — could easily have turned into Sleater-Kinney minus singer Corin Tucker, since Brownstein's distinctive vocals and guitar slashing, as well as Weiss' solid drum fills, anchored one of the Pacific Northwest's best indie bands.

But singer and guitarist Timony adds another level of guitar fury to Wild Flag that twists many of the songs on their excellent self-titled debut album into glistering, propulsive bundles of energy that often go beyond Sleater-Kinney's femme-punk workouts. Whether or not it was their intention, Wild Flag flip the concept of both girl groups and supergroups.

"It's different than any other band I've been in, where the songwriter brings the song," says Cole, who plays keyboards and, like all the ladies, sings. "We all work together here. You want your bandmates to be honest with you — 'Rebecca, that song kinda sounds like Rick Springfield' — but it can be sad. 'Oh, I just wrote a Rick Springfield riff.' But I'm glad they're hearing things I'm not."

Buzz has been building for Wild Flag since early this year, when the band hit the road — including a stop at South by Southwest — to test out its songs. By the time they stepped into the studio, things had been hammered out and nailed down to the point where the album could pretty much be recorded with minimal overdubs. "I enjoy the process of giving a song life by playing it live over and over before we commit it to record," says Cole. "It's hard to see what sticks when you're in a little eight-by-eight practice space."

It helps that all four women played major parts in their former bands (in addition to their main groups, they individually have ties to Quasi, Bright Eyes, and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks too). Wild Flag pull from all of their experiences — from songwriting to recording to compiling set lists. They've all been through this before.

So, you see, there's really no way around the Wild Flag-are-a-supergroup issue. But Cole insists that Wild Flag differ from other supergroups, from Blind Faith to the Traveling Wilburys, because they plan to stick around a while. It's everyone's new full-time gig. "We all put a lot of effort into this," she says. "The idea is not a one-off record. This isn't a side project for any of us."

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Michael Gallucci

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 17, 2021

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • The Temptations and the Four Tops @ MGM Northfield Park

    • Sun., Nov. 28
  • Songs of the Polka King Release Party with Joey Miskulin & the KTB @ Beachland Ballroom

    • Sun., Nov. 28
  • Jokes on You @ Hilarities Comedy Club

    • Last Sunday of every month

© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation