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 Muchmoreâ€™s during the Father/Daughter Records Showcase, but you wouldnâ€™t know it by the time Flagland took the stage.
One of the labelâ€™s most recent acquisitions, Flagland have spent years building their name on the New York indie scene. Frontman Kerry Kallbergâ€™s vocals flit between apathetic distance and shouted immediacy like Rivers Cuomo on Weezerâ€™s classic Pinkerton. Dan Franciaâ€™s basslines are intricate enough to make you forget that this band is merely a three-piece, and Nick Dooleyâ€™s drumming keeps rhythm a central component of the music.
Therein lies one of Flaglandâ€™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 theyâ€™re never so hard as to alienate those who donâ€™t wish to mosh. Looking around Muchmoreâ€™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 havenâ€™t been released yet, but that didnâ€™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 canâ€™t be written off as merely a fun band to rock out to. In the midst of the punchy tracks, there are insights like â€œLightning Bolt,â€ describing a girl who lives too fast to hold down.
While most of the Father/Daughter artists at the labelâ€™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.