Spider Bags

A Celebration of Hunger (Birdman)

With hints of such songwriters as Neil Young and Paul Westerberg apparent in his countrified garage-rock group, Spider Bags bandleader Dan McGee is a barstool philosopher. He looks at life through the distorted bottom of a pint glass, finding moments of short-lived bliss in the maddening pageant of heartache he calls a "life of shit."

The Chapel Hill singer certainly isn't shy about his dark obsessions. For example, blood is all over this record on tracks like "Blood for You" and "Bleed for You," and there's no shortage of such country staples as drinkin', druggin', and women who've done McGee wrong. Musically, the album ranges from the minor-key Fender jangle of "So Long a Rope" and the calliope-like accordion of "Swanson's Waltz" to the Skynyrd-ish slide guitar of "Darkness in My Heart." More raucous numbers like "The Bottle" also hark back to such '80s roots outfits as the Gun Club.

A Celebration of Hunger truly is music from the downtrodden soul. The lyrics to brokenhearted odes like the anthemic "Waking Up Drunk" ("Waking up drunk makes me happy/ Lately you just give me grief/ Waking up drunk makes me happy/ And I'm about as happy as I can be") speak directly of being driven straight into the arms of the bottle.

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