Review : Spider Bags - Goodbye Cruel World, Hello Crueler World
Pitchfork"Everyone's heart gets broken some time/ Just not like mine." If North Carolina (via New Jersey) drunk-rockers Spider Bags ever want to sell bumper stickers at their merch table, let this line-- taken from the teary, beery ballad "Lord Please"-- be the slogan. It's a lyric that perfectly sums up the band's place in a venerable tradition of country-rock hurtin' songs and their singular status within it.
Sure, you've heard bands like Spider Bags before; on first contact, you'd swear they were some half-remembered mid-1990s band that got lost in the college-radio shuffle among the Silver Jews, the Grifters, and Ass Ponys. But it's been an awful long time since you've heard a band pull off this sort of southern-fried slop-pop with such charm, craftiness, and self-deprecating wit. On their second album, Goodbye Cruel World, Hello Crueler World, Spider Bags re-imagine Neil Young's Tonight's the Night as a Saturday-night party album: They're bleary eyed and wobbly kneed, but they're going down on swinging (or, at least, swigging).
Spider Bags' ragged but resilient spirit has made them heroes to Titus Andronicus, who have covered the Bags' signature song "Waking Up Drunk", though Bags don't share their New Jersey successors' penchant for burn-it-down drama. But the songs on Goodbye Cruel World twist and turn more than you'd expect from a country-rock album, riffing on standard verse-chorus-verse templates before introducing an even more rewarding, final-act change-up, whether it's the poignant pedal-steeled finale to the front-porch picker "Swimmer on a String" or the giddy stream of "na na na na na"s appended to the early-Replacements trash-pop of "Dishrag". Even the typical juke-joint rave-up "Long White Desert Rose" upends the formula, revealing its chorus only during a sustained build-up in the final 90 seconds, and sending it aloft on a bed of "ooh ooh ooh" backing harmonies....full text
Blurt-onlineChapel Hill's Spider Bags are the musical cousins of The Dexateens and the Drive-By Truckers. Bands that have taken Southern rock and turned it on its ear. The SB's grind in some punk and blues to the genre to reformulate a seriously, deliriously, intoxicating concoction. Dan McGee and his five piece band of drunken reprobates are back with their sophomore release and offer up a more mature, better produced and slightly more subdued follow-up to their acclaimed Celebration of Hunger album from 2007.
The original version of this album, which was tentatively titled Midnight Moving Skies, contained 13 tunes. With the final mix, winnowing out some chaff and measuring songs lengths, Dan told me he thought they wound up with the perfect end result with these 11 songs. Goodbye is in many ways superior, and yet in some ways not, because this ripening of musical style from Celebration is quite conspicuous. It's not as "sloppy" and wild, for one thing. It really is like saying goodbye to the Bags you thought you knew and loved, yet excited by their evolving to a new plane....full text
MidheavenOn Goodbye Cruel World, Hello Crueler World, North Carolina natives Spider Bags work once again with legendary engineer Brian Paulson. Picking themselves up from the drunken wranglings of last year's A Celebration of Hunger, the band kicks off with the upbeat "It Always Loved to Happen," full of open-road energy and memories. "Quevivaelrocanroll" is the next step in their evolution: a drawn-back, anthemic barn-burner with sweat rolling through the speakers. The listener can picture frontman Dan McGee leading the way, with a guitar in one hand and drink in the other, marching through the old town square on an impromptu parade at midnight in the middle of July.
"... Spider Bags are ostensibly Americana, but it's the kind of reeling-in-sickness music you'd expect from Neil Young, Gram Parsons, Meat Puppets.... Every song... finds beauty in pain and darkness, with lyrics ("She's got a crooked face when she smiles") that are as thoughtful as the music behind them. I'm gonna go so far as to call [A Celebration of Hunger] brilliant. That's right, brilliant. There's not a bad track on the entire record, and it's a goddamn shame I didn't hear about this album when it came out, because it easily would have made my top ten for the year."...full text
Sweetslyrics Top 20 Artists
Is it ok to tell your new boyfriend about your ex-boyfriend?