Pasa Tem­pos

New al­bums from Spi­der Bags and Charles Lloyd & the Mar­vels

Pasatiempo - - CONTENTS - Good­bye Cruel Some­day

Sax­o­phon­ist Charles Lloyd’s full­toned tenor opens his beau­ti­ful, easy “De­fi­ant” with a soul­ful solo that is sub­tly sup­ported by Bill Frisell, gui­tar; Greg Leisz, do­bro and pedal steel; and bassist Reuben Rogers, and cleanly pro­pelled by Eric Har­land’s drums. Singer Lucinda Wil­liams joins the quin­tet on five of the next nine songs, and what a col­or­ful and nat­u­ral com­bi­na­tion it is! Lloyd, who has worked with Lawrence Fer­linghetti and Gary Sny­der, said, “Lu is a poet. An au­then­tic, Amer­i­can voice. Her sound is like an emo­tional barom­e­ter. A weather vane. Some­times it swirls around in the tem­pest of a storm and some­times it is sweet and pure as a South­ern breeze car­ry­ing the in­tox­i­cat­ing per­fume of mag­no­lia to you.” She seems to set Lloyd on fire here. Her “Ven­tura” pro­vides an­other fine ex­am­ple of some­thing that should be at­tempted more of­ten: work­ing some strong jazz juice into the folk-pop mi­lieu. On the mul­ti­hued ti­tle track, heat and com­plex­ity build to a place where Lloyd’s out-there blow­ing is apro­pos. The stan­dard “Bal­lad of the Sad Young Man” is a placid pause with an­other gor­geous Lloyd part. “We’ve Come Too Far” be­gins with a gaunt in­tro by the leader, and ev­ery­one per­fectly em­braces Wil­liams’ ex­hausted tale-telling. The high point here is “Un­suf­fer Me,” with a won­der­ful mix of gui­tar work­ing around the stri­dent, chewy lyrics. The last half is a loose jam, Lloyd honk­ing against snaky lines by Leisz, Wil­liams en­gag­ing in some soft cat­er­waul­ing and other word­less vo­cals, and Frisell just rock­ing out. — Paul Wei­de­man North Carolina bar band Spi­der Bags first re­ceived at­ten­tion with the lo-fi, high-en­ergy World, Hello, Cru­eler World. They ti­tled their new al­bum Ev­ery­thing Will Be Fine, so to go by al­bum ti­tles, you can as­sume they’re get­ting more op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture. The mu­sic, still the same glo­ri­ously sloppy and scuzzed-out South­ern rock, backs up this as­sump­tion. Front­man Dan McGee has of­ten ar­tic­u­lated the ways in which de­bauch­ery can be life-af­firm­ing. “Yes­ter­day’s a dead rab­bit, baby, let’s burn to­mor­row black,” he sings on the scorch­ing open­ing track, “Reck­less.” With a strong ear for soar­ing melodies, McGee of­fers the swag­ger to pull off this kind of coun­try-punk. The al­bum has two tow­er­ing peaks. One is “My Heart Is a Flame in Re­verse,” a torch song about a man who meets a woman with a pen­ta­gram tat­too on her neck; she cuts a cot­ton­mouth in two, uri­nates in his boot, and he’s smit­ten. The other is a cover of Char­lie Rich’s 1977 coun­try hit “Rollin’ With the Flow.” They drag Rich’s song through the mud while re­tain­ing his soul­ful back­ing vo­cals and even a smidgeon of his strings. It’s a paean to grow­ing old in a lifestyle of rock mu­sic and booze, and rolling with life’s punches no mat­ter what to­mor­row holds. It comes off like a man­i­festo. — Robert Ker

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