Just a year after its debut record, Beach Slang launches a new album and tour | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Just a year after its debut record, Beach Slang launches a new album and tour

“A record a year is pretty necessary business for me.”

Slang Gang: Beach Slang
Slang Gang: Beach Slang
Last year Beach Slang released its debut album The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us to rave reviews for the band’s no-frills, indie-punk sound and attitude. Striking while the iron is hot, Beach Slang’s primary member — James Alex (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) — has returned in pretty short order to release a follow-up, A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings.

“A record a year is pretty necessary business for me. I’m far too restless when I’m idle. To me, it’s a pretty weirdo thing how uncommon it is,” Alex says. “If you’re a writer, you write, you know?”
“I remember how jaw-dropped the label was when I pitched that timeline,” he continues. “I suppose I’m not much of a strategic thinker. Nothing on A Loud Bash … is leftover material. I don’t know. That feels cheater-y to me.”

The quick turnaround between records and tours is even more impressive if you consider what Alex went through in 2016. Beach Slang’s drummer JP Flexner exited the band last April. Six months later, hours before the band was set to leave on tour, guitarist Ruben Gallego was dismissed from the band in the wake of sexual-assault allegations.

Alex, along with bassist Ed McNulty, soldiered on with a patchwork version of Beach Slang and delivered the music.

Behind the fuzz and fury of these 10 new tracks is Alex’s poignant and honest songwriting. While touring last year, Alex noticed that a lot of the kids who liked the band’s music could also relate to his lyrics. He listened to their stories and understood where they were coming from.

“I wanted to be a writer long before I picked up a guitar,” Alex says. “Words are gigantic, necessary things to me. So, yeah, it means everything to me to see the ones I write, connect.”

Alex’s perspective also shifted when he became a father. His son also became the inspiration for the new record.

“Writing, for me, is a very isolating process. I write alone. It’s the only way I know how. I suppose, I have a need to chase ideas without interruption,” he says. “However, with this record, I had to adapt, to develop the skill set of publicly creating. So, I tried to tap into that Jack Kerouac poet-troubadour thing. I hope it worked.

“That less-isolated approach brought something to the thing, something isolation misses. I think there’s a soft evolution. I mean, I’m not quite done with the sound and narrative I’ve been making and telling. When that feels like boredom, I’ll shift.”

As Beach Slang prepares to set off on tour, Alex says the band is excited to once again hit the road to meet the fans and swap stories.

“In October/November, we are doing a full U.S. tour with Bleached; we are calling the thing ‘Bleached Slang’ and man, I dig that,” Alex says. “I mean, we never really stop touring. We visit home. We live on the road.”

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