I used to hate Twitter. Hate probably isn’t the right word, because that hardly scratches the surface of the venomous rants I would lay down against the social media forum. In the beginning I just thought it was dumb, but then CNN decided they needed to be in a public battle with Ashton Kutcher to see which worthless media whore could get to a million followers first. At that point I completely wrote it off. Then I took over media for a site I was writing for and was forced to use Twitter to talk about music and recent reviews. Well, what I learned is Twitter is full of idiots and blowhards, but if you follow the right people it can be very useful.
One of those people I recommend everyone follow is Patrick Stickles from Titus Andronicus (@titus_ndronicus). On top of providing great info about his own band, he does a great job supporting the bands that he loves. Thanks to him, Spider Bags didn’t completely escape me. Shake My Head came out at the beginning of August, but I never heard of it until I saw Patrick talking about it.
Thank goodness I did, because Shake My Head is a fantastic record, and this will be one of the easiest reviews I’ve ever written. Their music is a constant three minute reminder of everything they’re about. They have the southern swagger of Youth And Young Manhood coupled with the pop mentality that made The Kinks such a great and influential band.
Spider Bags is not a band I think is going to explode and play arenas. In fact I think that would be the worst thing that could happen to them. It’s rock and roll made in, and for, bar rooms. Songs that feel like they were written while crashing on a friends couch or on a long road trip. It’s dirty, dance-y, sing along at the top of your lungs power pop through a punk lens.
Dan McGee and Gregg Levy combine to create some truly great music on Shake My Head. Mostly I’m taken with McGee’s strength as a songwriter. I’m always amazed by how much talent there is in the world, and he has instantly become my second-favorite North Carolina-based tunesmith. And his delivery of those lines he writes is impeccable.
A favorite of mine is in the song “Shape I Was In.”:
“She wears her shoes just a little too tight, but she let me stay there the last four days and five nights. And I promised her this morning I’d be gone.”
The lyrics and phrasing are enough to warrant “great” status for this song, but then the added swirling guitars round it up to “phenomenal.”
I don’t want to spoil anything else about this record so you can discover it like I did. I’ll leave you with a couple tracks to whet your appetite and simply say this: Shake My Head is one of the best things I’ve heard this year, an it completely took me by surprise. I think you’ll dig it too.
This one is a free download
This one is not a free download, so if you want it you’ll have to get the record