Wild Flag

As Mastodon calls down the thunder upstairs, one of the hottest new bands of 2011 fires back from down below with a lethal dose of punk rock girl power. Newly formed if not exactly new, Wild Flag came together late last year in a lineup that reads like an all-star team of lady indie-rockers, especially if you're from the Pacific Northwest: Janet Weiss and Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney; Rebecca Cole of the Minders; and Mary Timony of Helium. After years of opening for each other's bands and playing in various side projects together (The Spells, The Shadow Mortons), the four friends finally went all in. Wild Flag's long history together is no doubt the reason this year's self-titled Merge debut sounds so seamless: Sharply contoured songs loaded with prickly guitar and dusted with Le Tigre-style electronics, delivered with an energy and volume that — as improbable as it sounds — might match Mastodon decibel for decibel.

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