Flagship: From Lisa Thomas, Metro's New Music Editor

August 12, 2013 0 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

I was lucky enough to gain an exclusive listen to Flagship's self-titled debut album set for world-wide release October 8th on the blossoming indie label Bright Antenna. Routinely, I give an album three full and fair listens front-to-back. As you will soon hear, Flagship's debut is far from average therefore this gem yielded several non stop listens and counting.


Bright Antenna brought in producer Ben Allen (Washed Out, Animal Collective, Youth Lagoon, Deerhunter, Mase, Cee-Lo) to work with Flagship on their debut landing somewhere between solidly artistic and immensely accessible. Separately, members of Flagship have been playing music for many years in their hometown of Charlotte North Carolina, but only came together recently to form Flagship.  Soon after forming, San Francisco's Bright Antenna Records signed them to their roster in early 2012. When I asked label president Braden Merrick what he thought upon first hearing the band, he responded "Their music and Drake's vocals made me and all of Bright Antenna nervous.  We knew we had to get involved somehow, someway."  Braden Merrick is no newcomer to the music business and knows a hit when he hears one having executed A&R with Epic, Island, and Warner Brothers in addition to managing The Killers before & during the height of their success. And, most recently with Bright Antenna Records which is rapidly gaining a name and success with such acts as Magic Wands, The Wombats, Middle Class Rut, Beware Of Darkness and OMD to name a few.

With music ambient and murky as much as it is powerful, each track on Flagship's impressive debut has a whimsical quality which is not only signature of the album's producer Ben Allen but indicative of lead singer/songwriter Drake Margolnick's raw, soaring, unapologetic vocals. Flagship drummer Michael Finster is a force to be reckoned with throughout this album as his approach fluctuates from a toned-down Robert Gotobed (Wire) to the epic rhythms of Coldplay's Will Champion taking each song from elegantly sparse and mysterious to pulverizing at points. Of working with Allen, Finster points out, "Whenever we recorded with Ben I remember we'd do batches of songs, like three at a time.  He'd set everyone up in different ways depending on the song and record those people together -drums, bass, guitar -whatever was going to happen."  Allen said of the sessions "It's really satisfying as a producer to hear the song sound complete and epic right when it's being recorded live, as opposed to having to edit, tweak and mix until it feels that way." Rounding out this five piece is the talented Christopher Comfort on bass, Grant Harding orchestrating keys and Matt Padgett simply killing it on lead guitar.  My personal favorites on the album are "Holy Ghost", "Life Under Water", "Gold and Silver" and "Are You Calling?" each possessing an ominous, eerie aspect peppered with pounding drums and at times fuzzed out yet anthemic guitar work. The album sounds as if it was crafted to be played in arenas and massive concert halls. In short, it is a huge record. Come hear Flagship for yourself at Freebird Live on Saturday August 31st alongside both The Dog Apollo, Rickolus and Weekend Atlas. Purchase your tickets directly, here:  http://jaxlive.com/events/the-dog-apollo-flagship/

Before leaving you, I would like to share something which you will find attached to each music review. Although, I abhor when general comparisons are made of lesser known bands to the more acclaimed ones, it is nearly impossible to escape when writing to the public opposed to my small group of music nerd friends. With that, I introduce you to "SS" (Similar Sound):

SS: Coldplay, U2, Colour Revolt

Love and Good Things,
Lisa Thomas
New Music Editor

Filmed, Edited, and Directed by Michael Finster.
The Runner is played by Christopher Campbell

"Are You Calling" is the first track from our self-titled debut album, which will be out October 8, 2013 on Bright Antenna Records.


You've got it coming for you.
All the work's been done.
So celebrate the times when,
your world was calm.
Howling at the moon still,
at the white, white ghost.
Seeing for the first time,
your violent soul.

All because of faith, you know it's right.
You coincide with fate, and you feel it's right.

I was going to find you,
lying in the cave,
bleeding in the water.
Been carrying on for days.
Howling at the moon still,
at the white, white ghost.
Singing since the fall of man,
God bless your soul.

All because of faith, you know it's right.
You coincide with fate, and you feel it's right.

When courage calls a name,
the life will soon be changed,
from fleeting thrills at night,
the choice of what to say, and
you coincide. You coincide.

Are you calling.

Flagship is:

Matthew Padgett
Christopher Comfort
Michael Finster
Drake Margolnick
Grant Harding