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Frozen Letter

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iTunes Review

Despite moving up to the established indie label Merge Records for their fourth album, Spider Bags sound like the same band that have been recording quickly and releasing whatever happens. These eight songs in 33 minutes are split precisely in two, with the first four tracks rocking out for quick punches to the gut at no longer than the three and a half minutes of John Wesley Coleman’s “Summer of ’79.” The second batch of four wander from five minutes to six and a half. This creates two different looks at the group. “Japanese Vacation,” “Chem Trails,” and “Summer of ’79” sound like brilliant 7-inch singles from the late-‘70s new wave/punk era, while “Coffin Car” slows down and sounds like the guitarist is working the knobs on his guitar pedals to see what becomes of it. “Walking Bubble” breaks out an acoustic guitar for the trio’s move into introspective indie folk, except that Dan McGee’s words and vocals sound like his tongue got stuck in his cheek. “We Got Problems” turns in a blues lick and a guest spot for label owner and Superchunk leader Mac McCaughan.


Formed: Chapel Hill, NC

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Specializing in rollicking but slightly shambolic tales of hard living and questionable behavior, the Spider Bags were first formed in New Jersey by guitarist and vocalist Dan McGee and bassist and guitarist Gregg Levy. The two met in the mid-'90s when Levy, still a teenager, was playing with a band that needed a new singer, and the vocalist they recruited brought McGee along to play second guitar. Levy and McGee discovered they shared an enthusiasm for Jimi Hendrix, acoustic blues, and marijuana,...
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Frozen Letter, Spider Bags
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