A civilized man with savage sight. A blistering product of collective urban psychoses. A torchbearer of the future primitive. In his first and final days, Ted McGrath is The Flag.
After exhuming skeletal grooves of pristine noise during the first iteration of shape-shifting weirdo outfit These Are Powers (Hoss, Dead Oceans, RVNG Intl.), McGrath ventured out on his own, surviving on the expected trials and unlikely fringe benefits of the so-called "solo artist." The Brooklyn-based painter and musician has since used his modest but ample survey of pedals, drum machines, and ephemeral fuckery to issue brief but potent sketches of the American underground, signal flares, warning shots.
Recorded and mixed from 8-track cassette by McGrath during late-night sessions at his painting studio in the endless bummer of 2014, Heat Waves marks The Flag's debut LP. Throughout the album's ten staggering and stifling tracks, McGrath dares deeply human, promises nothingness, then changes course and ends up dancing on the edge of the proverbial volcano. Uncanny pop song-craft sweats through the sweltering heat of modern No Wave, artful noise, and timeless lo-fi sensibilities, triangulating a dimly lit back alley in the same neighborhood as There's A Riot Goin' On, White Light/White Heat and Bad Moon Rising. Like these sonic forbearers, McGrath rolls with the punches and dishes them out when necessary, but this music is more interested in the unassuming beauty and chance magic of ignored details or cast-off situations.
An evocative and hallucinatory assault on cronyism, this is mutated class-warfare music, a mischievous and crooked grin barely concealing the exposed nerves of the everyman. Littered with guttered gems and clouded with hazy curiosities, this is Heat Waves.