Following the release of 2009’s Goodbye Cruel World, Hello Crueler World, Spider Bags Dan McGee and Gregg Levy joined up with drummer Rock Forbes and toured as a trio in an old Mitsubishi Mirage, with Forbes crammed into the back seat alongside the band’s gear. Three of the six 45s mined for Churchkey Records’ new collection—aptly and simply named Singles—were recorded during this period of frenzied creativity. Levy has since returned to the North, replaced by new bassist Steve Oliva, and the three newest songs on Singles offer sightlines to the new line-up’s bright future.
Following the long and frustrating sessions for Goodbye Cruel World, McGee took a break from working on albums and challenged himself to write and record two songs at a time, churning out what Grayson Currin described as “a slew of unimpeachable 7″s” in the Pitchfork review of the band’s recent Shake My Head. Some are catchy garage rock—“Teenage Eyes” and “Walking Walking Nowhere Nowhere”—but the band also moves in psychedelic directions. “Dog in the Snow” drives ahead with a kraut-ish bass line that recalls Thee Oh Sees as McGee howls with wild abandon through dense layers of effects and reverb. “Take It Easy Tonite” goes even further. The song went through dozens of revisions before its first release in 2010 and is perfected on Singles with a dizzying sax solo from The Wigg Report’s Ben Riseling.
Singles tracks Spider Bags’ evolution from roughly recorded songwriting outlet to one of the most exciting rock ‘n’ roll outfits around, and that—in addition to a slate of exciting songs that challenges the band’s proper LPs for catalog supremacy—makes it essential for any fan.