Few bands today can make you feel wild and alive the way Beach Slang can. Since 2013, the Philadelphian band has won over an incredibly passionate fan base thanks to their massively fun live performances, their roaring and explosive brand of punk rock, and the genuine gratefulness they always show for the endless support. You go on the band's Facebook, and you see countless posts, personally written by frontman James Alex, thanking fans for a great show, listening to and loving the band's new album, or for simply being amazing people. This earnestness also comes across in Alex's lyrics, who sings about being a weird little outlier in an unrelenting world with the same everyman charm and poetic skill as one of rock's greatest lyricists, Paul Westerberg. If you've ever felt lost, left out of the pack, or were once an aimless teenager anxious about the future (and let's face it, that was all of us at one point or another), then you're bound to immediately connect with Beach Slang's brand of uplifting, fuzzed-out rock. Alex and co. not only embrace being the weirdos and outcasts that never learned to get in line, but they find something to celebrate about it, taking pride in having nowhere to go. In doing so, they bring people together like few other bands have before and since, and it truly is something special to be apart of.
With all that in mind, it's clear why we here at Baeble were absolutely stoked when James Alex dropped by for an intimate, unplugged session. Armed with an acoustic guitar and his signature bow tie/frilly shirt combo, Alex played his usually riotous songs with a quiet, gentle warmth soothing enough to rock a baby to sleep with, but still packed the stirring, emotional punch the band is known for. While feedback in distortion is always frickin' awesome, Alex's vocals really shine through in an acoustic setting, and also proves that, full band or solo act, Beach Slang's music holds up no matter the setting.
It's weird. Sure yeah, yeah. It's weird like I just woke up like 20 minutes ago just like I already feeling it. Yeah, it's great. I'll be really set for tonight. We're a loud bash of teenage feelings. Play it loud, play it fast play me something that will always last. Play it tough, play it quiet play me something that my save my life. I just want to say it like I mean it, you know, and that's what it is. And it's sort of like I dig the idea of a record starting with sort of a wake up, you know. If you're the type of person that identifies with Beach Slang and how I write and things like that it's kind of like yeah, like that's what I want it to sort of...I want to remember that, you know. The sound of your heart is wired to break Too fucked up to love, too soft to hate The hum of your lung is my favorite thing And the air you shove out Into my mouth Oh oh oh Oh oh oh I've always felt stuck, alone or ashamed The gutter's too tough, the stars are too safe I'm always that kid always out of place. I try to get found, I've never known how. Oh oh oh Oh oh oh Ah ha ha Ah ha ha Ah ha ha Ah ha ha Love Tracing the lines on your handsome face The scars on your arms, the shape of your veins We are not alone, we are not mistakes And don't whisper now We're allowed to be loud Oh oh Oh oh oh Oh oh oh Oh oh oh Tu tu tu tu tu tu tu tu Tu tu tu tu tu tu tu tu Tu tu tu tu tu tu tu tu Tu tu tu tu tu tu tu tu Tu tu tu tu tu tu tu tu Tu tu tu tu tu tu tu tu Tu tu tu tu tu tu tu tu amplifiers sting my teeth And batter me with evil things I take some drugs to fix my brain Yeah, and like "Spin the Dial" like that's our single out now, and the video and everything. And I'm really stoked about it and The Replacements original manager told me that that would have fit perfectly on Tim. So I when I huff my last breath, that'll probably the thing I'll be thinking about. So I thought that was really great. All right, this song's called "Spin the Dial. " The radio is loud and wild And I'm too drunk to spin the dial Bathe my bones in alcohol So I don't have to think at all I was born at the bottom But I never belonged I'm hardly ever right But I've never been wrong I can't get calm And amplifiers sting my teeth And batter me with evil things I take some drugs to fix my brain They numb my tongue but miss the pain I was born at the bottom But I never belonged I'm hardly ever right But I've never been wrong I've got dust in my lips, limp in my charm. The halo on my heart I've got a halo on my heart The halo on my heart I've got a halo on my heart I've got it I was born at the bottom But I never belonged I'm hardly ever right But I've never been wrong I've got dust in my lips, limp in my charm A halo on my heart I've got a halo on my heart The halo on my heart I've got a halo on my heart I've got a halo on my heart I've got a halo on my heart I've got a halo on my heart Well, I'm from New England, and I just uh I used to skateboard with this girl, Elizabeth, when I was kid. And she just used to make fun of the way I talked, you know with a lot of rads and totallys and of the time period I suppose. And yeah, she just sort of lovingly goofed on it and called it a language and named it beach slang. And I just yeah, she's a very cool human being to remember, so I got to memorialize her. I think like when I tell that story about why that name, it sort of encapsulates kind of what I'm about, you know hard on sleeves sort of looking back thinking forward like just sort of like, you know I'm a sort of a general of tenderness, I suppose. You know I'm really trying to shove kindness into the world, and I think being unafraid to, I don't know, name your band after something so soft and... I don't know that's cool armor to wear I suppose, you know. Like, you know and I'm certainly not like an extraordinary story here, but I'm another example of like, lost kid figuring out where he belonged when he was coming up, right? And for me like I found that in rock and roll like when I discovered punk rock and I started going to those shows like, I felt like I had family again. And I had like I had a place to sort of identify myself and to sort of figure myself out. It's important for me to sort of sound that alarm, you know because I'm like, you know some people that are listening to this band are coming into that same time in their life and feeling lost and trying to figure it out. And I was like, you might have some luck here like I did, you know what I mean? This is "Too late to Die Young" Too young to die Too late to die young I try to fight But get high and give up I ain't ever felt loved I ain't ever felt loved The punks are wired And these records feel tough It's loud and wild But I swear it feels soft Yeah, it's always enough It's always been enough There's honesty In these neon lights We're animals Drunk and alive I swear right now I'm all right The lowest lives The desperate ones You are the light Of the damaged and fucked But baby, turn your heart up Baby, turn your heart up There's honesty In these neon lights We're animals We're drunk and alive I swear right now I'm all right Yeah, yeah I read this thing with like Michael Stipe like forever ago, and it was just about like painting in broad strokes you know. So it's like people can take from it what they need, you know. You don't corner it in too much. And I think, you know ultimately, I believe what I'm mostly right about is, you know this is life, and it's happening bite into it like live it all the way. Like there's that Bukowski quote about living life so well that death will tremble to take you, you know, so I think it's that. I think that's what I'm just trying to shove out there. And I think whether you're like 17 or 117, that resonates somewhere in you, or I hope it should. Well, I suppose yeah. I'm at that kind of cool point in my life where you're sort of equally looking back and forward, right? So the cool thing I think I'm getting from peers is I've pulled the guitar back out of the closet like, I'm seeing that you don't have to give it up, you know. And I think that that's really cool because it's like I don't know, you know a bunch of my friends it's like while you've sort of now have savings account, health insurances and all those kind of cool things in life there's that sort of part of you that's just sort of the lights just flickering, you know. And they're putting them back on and that's great like those things that turned you when you were 17. They're sort of saying, "Oh, I don't have to give that up because I'm 35? I think that's great, right? I think like the 17-year-olds are just, it goes back to that thing I was saying like, you're at that searching point in your life. And I think even if it's clumsy direction, I think they're finding a little bit in it for me. Like, they're hearing these songs of like falling down and messing up and thinking things are bleak, but now sort of all these years later it works out, right? So there's some beauty to like audacity and persistence, you know and hope. I think that's a really great thing. So I think they're catching up on that. It's like, while they're feeling stumbly now, they're kind of seeing like they'll walk on steady footing soon enough, you know. The song's called "Atom Bomb. " My heart is set on '77 Wild nights porno mouths I won't die I don't need heaven Too fucked up to burn out I'm an atom bomb tick tick ticking I'm an atom bomb tick tick ticking I'm a dead-end kid in the city Dirty thoughts dirty town I was born with trouble in me I don't care why or how I'm an atom bomb tick tick ticking I'm an atom bomb tick tick ticking I'm an atom bomb I'm an atom bomb I'm an atom bomb Man, I'm an atom bomb Atom bomb atom bomb I'm an atom bomb I'm an atom bomb Yeah, I'm an atom bomb Atom bomb Come smear your lips on my bruises Wake me up wear me out Let's get free, numb and loose And kiss me with holy sound I'm an atom bomb tick tick ticking I'm an atom bomb tick tick ticking I'm an atom bomb tick tick ticking I've got a halo on my heart Got a halo on my heart
Beach Slang are an American rock band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, formed in 2013. The band consists of James Alex (vocals, guitar), Ruben Gallego (guitar), Ed McNulty (bass) and JP Flexner (drums).