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Photo by Anna Naphtali

What’s more carefree and self-indulgent than arena rock? Imagine: kicking back in your seat on a hot summer day, beer in hand, and the American rock band Flagship playing in the background. Hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina, the band deliver a solid sound and pay homage to the universally loved (although not always admitted) arena-rock genre. It’s so good Bono would shed a tear (if Bono were human and cried).

When the duo of Flagship gather together, they create an intricate, ethereal, and diacoustic sound that’s seemingly effortless. Their sound is vivid and innovative, much like the minds and hearts behind the instruments. The duo are Drake Margolnick and Michael Finster, and are a combination of two earlier Charlotte acts: Campbell The Band and Margolnick’s solo work.

The band are definitely something worth listening to: Margolnick provides vocals that are reminiscent of the previously mentioned Bono, and a less produced version of Kings of Leon’s Caleb Followill. The band released a self-titled debut album back in October of 2013 on Bright Antenna records, and paired the North Carolina band with producer Ben Allen, who’s worked with Animal Collective, Washed Out, and Youth Lagoon.

The album ventures into Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear territory, and then is mixed with the brooding and ominous touchings of The National. Their hit single off of the record Are You Calling served as the debut’s backbone, magnifying Margolnick’s reverb-drenched vocals, that are wrapped around tightly with bits of tribal-like percussion. The track then leads into a rainfall of chiming guitars & echoed woos, and the result of which is a deeply personal bond between music and musician.

Flagship is headed to the studio this summer to start work on album #2. It’s set to be released through Bright Antenna Records, and is one that is sure to be densely-packed with sounding sentimentality that I cant wait to listen to. »

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– Samantha Lopez

Flagship plays live in Portland July 24 at Doug Fir