Spider Bags (Country Garage from NC)BANDCAMP
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Gross Ghost (NC Garage/Pop)
Presented by U+N
Shake My Head
People tend to obsess over North Carolina’s Spider Bags, a nominally identified garage rock band that sputters into broken-down country and spirals into high-flying psychedelics from a firm base of petulant, propulsive, and fun three-minute rock tunes. To wit, Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles used to perpetually call them the greatest band in the world. Some years ago, when a DJ friend who’d moved several states away returned to the Carolinas for a weekend, she learned that the Bags were performing at a nearby haunt and canceled all of her impending plans. In her mind, at least, the best local band ever— the one with the shout-out-loud anthem called “Waking Up Drunk” and the frontman, Dan McGee, who sang about his demons with a conviction that made them the crowd’s demons, too— were playing, and she simply had to be there. And as colleague Marc Masters recently quipped online about the band’s compulsive tunes, “And now to listen to Spider Bags & Apache Dropout constantly, even when I’m not listening to them.” As their name implies, when Spider Bags hook into you, it’s hard to shake the hold.
The first two Spider Bags full-lengths depended on diversity. 2007’s A Celebration of Hunger creeped through country turns that had more to do with Townes Van Zandt than whatever Little Steven plays on his show (“Lonely Man” is the band’s secret stunner) and occasionally climbed into the alt-country molds of Drive-By Truckers. The blistering rock’n’roll tracks were only part of the picture. They were more prominent on 2009’s Goodbye Cruel World, Hello Crueler World, but there was still much more to be heard than fuzzy, frenzied barnstormers— banjo songs, Crazy Horse-sized epics, sad-eyed duets and baby-please pleas
Shake My Head, the band’s third album and their first for North Carolina imprint Odessa Records, is their most stylistically cohesive to date. Rolling through 10 tracks in less than 35 minutes, it delivers would-be rock hit after hit, shifting away from that template only for the record’s closing third. That’s not to say that Shake My Head is stylistically stripped at all; rather, those variations are woven into the charging songs rather than separated from them.
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