Spider Bags, Flesh Panthers, Life Partner Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Thu., Aug. 14, 9 p.m. 2014

I saw Chapel Hill band Spider Bags play in Atlanta two years ago, and their set was a blast of high-octane, country-fried garage slop—so when I heard this month’s Frozen Letter, their first release on indie giant Merge, I was surprised by its sophistication and nuance. The cowpunk element still dominates, but the record is full of dynamic, deliberate, introspective pop. Front man and guitarist Dan McGee, who’s led the band through several personnel changes since its 2005 inception, sings with the impossibly smooth indifference of J Mascis, and on guitar he bounces between tastefully melodic shredding and acoustic strumming; a clean rhythm section anchors the concise, efficient tunes. The band that made Frozen Letter is excellent and well-rounded, but it hardly sounds like the same folks who so recently ripped apart explosive jams such as “Friday Night” and “Waking Up Drunk” with the boozy abandon of classic Replacements. —Luca Cimarusti

Price: $10

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