Monday, January 14, 2013

Stream: Spider Bags - Shake My Head

I recently watched Color Me Obsessed, the documentary about The Replacements, and in it, Patrick Stickles (Titus Andronicus) describes their appeal explaining, "If you are a human being, this is the best or most human band. Music for humans." Stickles has a knack for championing bands which possess that everyman relatability. In a 2010 interview with the Washington Post, he talks about Spider Bags being his favorite band. Much like The Replacements' Paul Westerberg, Spider Bags mastermind Dan McGee toes the line between indie rock and punk while serving as society's inebriated philosopher; pontificating about sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll with a propensity for existential headiness. Stickles goes on to elaborate on the importance that Spider Bags hold for him:
I like to believe that if the Spider Bags got to be the most popular band in the world, that would make me really happy. There’s always that kind of, that element of exclusivity in indie rock that helps us indie rockers feel like we’re pretty special people. But I think I’d gladly trade that for a greater modicum of success for Spider Bags. But I think the fact that it continues to elude them is more than ample proof that we live in an absurd universe. Can there be any sort of great benevolent design in the universe that allows the Spider Bags to toil in obscurity? Probably not.
Slowly but surely, Spider Bags are gaining the recognition that Stickles believes they deserve. The songs contained it their third effort, Shake My Head, are as sharp as they have ever been. Along with bassist Gregg Levy and drummer Rock Forbes, McGee rollicks through rowdy explorations of his current state. Although under the garage rock umbrella, McGee knows his way around a hook better than most of the nonsense on the radio. Nowhere is this displayed better than on the single "Friday Night". The Replacements' influence runs deep underneath this one as he laments “All my friends are leaving town / I’m the only jerk who sticks around” adding "Maybe I'll drink / Maybe I'll fight / Maybe I'm tired of Friday night." The song's hook of "Baby it's tough falling out of love / Baby it's tough, tough, tough" is one that will loop in your head endlessly as you contemplate your own weekend plans.

Far from a one-trick pony, Spider Bags takes a unique approach in songs like "Shape I Was In", which begins a booze-soaked twang then spins off into a psychedelic spaciness as notes trickle in and guitars begin to cascade endlessly from the speakers. The middle of the album is broken up by a cover of James Brown's "I'll Go Crazy". The song's mantra "You got to live for yourself and nobody else" fits surprisingly well with Spider Bags' philosophy and the song itself is a testament to the diverse influences scattered throughout the record. The fuzzed out acoustics of "Day Mare" and the chants of "I don't know if I was ever alive" set the stage for the resident ballad and one of McGee's more resonant statements. As far as garage rock albums go, Shake My head takes you on one hell of a journey. You can find out how to get a copy of your own here.

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