Flagland @ Muchmore’s, 10/16/13
CMJ showcases are bound to be chaotic, with free drink offers ending too soon and an abundance of equipment leading to some impatient audiences. Such was the scene in Muchmore’s during the Father/Daughter Records Showcase, but you wouldn’t know it by the time Flagland took the stage.
One of the label’s most recent acquisitions, Flagland have spent years building their name on the New York indie scene. Frontman Kerry Kallberg’s vocals flit between apathetic distance and shouted immediacy like Rivers Cuomo on Weezer’s classic Pinkerton. Dan Francia’s basslines are intricate enough to make you forget that this band is merely a three-piece, and Nick Dooley’s drumming keeps rhythm a central component of the music.
Therein lies one of Flagland’s greatest talents as a band: no matter how frenetic the guitar and vocals may be, there is always melody. The band often flirts with the edge of punk, but they’re never so hard as to alienate those who don’t wish to mosh. Looking around Muchmore’s, I saw some people swaying to the beat while others thrashed around like they were at a much harder show.
Most of the songs the band played haven’t been released yet, but that didn’t matter. Flagland knew how to put on a show with engaging songs that pull their best elements from acts like the aforementioned early Weezer as well as Shellac, Nirvana, and Fugazi. Most of the songs are quick and exaggerated lyrically, a manic episode made song, but Flagland can’t be written off as merely a fun band to rock out to. In the midst of the punchy tracks, there are insights like “Lightning Bolt,” describing a girl who lives too fast to hold down.
While most of the Father/Daughter artists at the label’s CMJ showcase were electro-based, Flagland took no prisoners and made the most of any set by rolling out quick, resonate songs. Expect more on the horizon when their record Love Hard is released through Father/Daughter.