Flags (the acronym stands for Future Lab of Groove Seminar according to their publicist) was the short-lived girl group produced by Tetsutaro Sakurai, one of the members of Cosa Nostra. The resulting sound was something like Cosa Nostra with the '70s rock allusions taken out -- able to coo soul or funk it up in their own cute way. The five members came from modeling, pop, or art backgrounds, and were unknown except for Aki Yoshida, who had been part of the pop trio Qlair in the early '90s. They debuted in 1995 with their self-titled first album, half of which was covers of late-'60s/early-'70s pop tunes, and followed with a series of five EPs, each one devoted to a single member. Signed to the Meldac label, Flags was promoted to some extent in 1996, with a video release and one of their songs, the single "Nowhereland," being chosen as the closing theme to the late-night talk show Axel. A Christmas EP, Holy Planets, followed in November, and in January of 1997 they released their final EP, Cream, which featured a selection of top Japanese songwriters. Whether or not Flags would have continued is debatable; around the time of their final release they performed live, and were soon after dropped from Meldac.
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