Riot Grrrl Reborn: Wild Flag, Ducktails Thursday at Eclectic
It’s been a long, music-less October so far. All ten days of it. We know it’s been rough for all you tune junkies, but fear not, the benevolent, Flying-V-wielding goddesses of girl punk have answered your prayers. This Thursday, the concert season screams back into action on the back of a wave of reverb and Portland scuzz: guitar goddess Carrie Brownstein graces the hallowed halls of Eclectic with her brand-spankin’-new supergroup Wild Flag.
Born out of the fertile loam of northwestern girl-punk, Wild Flag bears the banner of reborn feminist rock, reuniting Brownstein with Sleater-Kinney bandmate Janet Weiss and adding a few old friends along the way. It’s anarchic. It’s furious. It’s careening down open highways on a stomach full of whiskey and cigarettes, pushing 100—each tangle of wailing guitars, crashing percussion, and sweaty-browed swagger threatens to screech out around each corner and tumble over the guardrails into chaotic oblivion. It’s equal parts fine-tuned control and not giving a fuck. Ducktails, the spacey, swirly solo venture of indie darling Real Estate’s Matt Mondanile, no schmuck in his own right, and resident falsetto-rockers Grand Father open.
More proof the girl-punk gods are smiling down upon us: Sara Marcus, author of a history of the feminist movement, “Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution,” speaks at Russell House Wednesday at 8 p.m. Brownstein and Weiss got their start in the throws of the Riot Grrrl Movement before forming Portland rock legends Sleater-Kinney, which earned critical acclaim, underground cred, and over the span of their career, a hell of a lot more mainstream listeners than you’d expect from their manic, slash-and-burn noise machine.
Rising from the ashes of S-K’s tragic 2006 indefinite hiatus, Wild Flag brandishes the incendiary guitars, throat-shredding wails, and leftist politics that birthed the movement in the first place–case in point, the band’s eponymous debut, which dropped last month. Brimming with garage-fuzz and Brownstein’s wild caterwauls, the album fuses girl-group pop, rumbling ’60s psych-rock, and black-and-blue hardcore. Wiry and raucous, Wild Flag looks backwards, but never sinks under the weight of its sonic history and musical legacy.
“Wild Flag aren’t so much trying to relive a particular era or movement as re-stoke the kind of passion, commitment, and fandom in listeners that allowed those movements to coalesce and flourish in the first place,” reads a glowing Pitchfork review.
Bring your moshing shoes, kiddos.
Setting the mood for them on Thursday is Ducktails, the reverb-soaked psychedelic pop experiments of Matt Mondanile, who moonlights with beachy New Jersey surf-rock revivalists Real Estate. Ducktails mines the same A.M. gold as Wild Flag, but replaces the vitriol with sunshine bliss, exchanges monolithic distortion for bright, breezy guitar tones. On his latest album “Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics,” Mondanile pushes his sound into more traditionally-structured territory, highlighting his nebulous, summery plucking and irresistibly catchy vocal melodies. Kindred spirit Panda Bear joins the pych-pop party on the aptly named “Killin’ the Vibe,” layering his spooky, Beach Boys harmonies over Mondanile’s bouncy chorus.
Before Ducktails, the freshly renamed Grand Father begins the night with their spiky post-punk spaz outs and falsetto-driven jams. It all goes down Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. at Eclectic. Unfortunately, however, shows like this don’t pay for themselves. Like the Dodos before them, tickets are going for $5 a pop at the University box office in Usdan—you can also reserve tickets on Aural Wes for later pick-up.