“Thank the Lord for heroin, and thank him for your soul.” How did an album with a lyric like that get by me? And it’s not like that’s the only drug poetry on Spider Bags’ “A Celebration of Hunger,” a 2007 release from Birdman Records. Just about every tune is a tribute to excess. To wit: “Wakin’ up drunk makes me happy. Lately, you just bring me down.” And to a woman who wants to save the soul of a drunk: “I’ll gladly take your offer, now that I’m not so sick.” I could go on quoting this record for days.
A North Carolina six-piece punk country band, the 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, or down-tempo Counting Crows. Every song is able to find 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 this album 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 10 for the year.
I hope to hell someone keeps me updated on their doings–and I hope even more that they don’t all die in a collective overdose before they record another album. As for this one, you can find it on emusic, and it’s well worth your time.