High Fives with … Beach Slang

Philly punk rock outfit Beach Slang released The Deadbeat Bang of Heartbreak City earlier this month.

Released on 10 January 2020, rock and roll is back and we are here for it. This year is looking to be one of the strongest for rock music in a long time and it is well and truly a blessing. Beach Slang start things off with the drop of album number four (if you count 2018’s Everything Matters But No One Is Listening under Quiet Slang).

To celebrate their stellar release, we had a chat to James Alex about all things The Deadbeat Bang Of Heartbreak City. 

Congrats on the new record! How excited are you about the release?
Ah, thanks so much. Look, I was just hoping people didn’t forget or, worse, didn’t care. But it’s been a real firecracker. Excitement-wise, I’m a caged tiger, teeth rattling, chomping to get on with it.

The LP was held for a few years, does it almost feel like a relief to finally have it out in the world?
I think holding off for a bit was the right move. I didn’t want to burn the thing out, you know? But, yeah, it was time to make something happen. I was starting to unravel in a real sloppy way.

Overall the melodies sound a lot more pop-y but it seems it’s more of an 80’s rock/classic rock influence rather than modern pop. How did this come about?
Boredom and restlessness. I mean, I needed to figure out how to scratch off all that time I had between records. So, I took a better look at all the stuff I came up on—punk, classic rock, new wave, folk, bubblegum, all of it. I guess that’s what I wanted to write—a real mushy love letter to rock & roll.

Some of the tracks like Nobody Say Nothing remind of the previous Quiet Slang release. Did you intentionally want to keep some of that orchestra feel, or did that just come naturally?
That stuff fell out in a real natural way, but, Quiet Slang is pretty lodged in my guts now. There’s something about the cello I just can’t scratch off. So, yeah, it wasn’t a real considered thought, but there was no real way to keep it from showing up.

How did the work with Tommy Stinson come about? And what was it like?
A couple years back, Tommy took Slang for a run of shows out to Riot Fest in Denver. And we just sort of took to each other. That’s how the thing started. We just sort of kept in touch and, bang, he played on the record.

Yeah, it’s a wild thing when your heroes become your friends. We tracked the bass at his studio, just him and I, standing two feet from each other, bashing out these songs I wrote. It felt like my posters came to life and were patting me on the back.

To someone who’s not heard the record, how would you describe it in three words?
Sweaty, unsure, honest.

Let’s briefly talk about the mixtapes you make – what made you decide to share those? We think it’s a brilliant idea to connect with fans and shout about songs and bands you love as an artist/band!
When I was coming up, I made piles of mixtapes. And poured my heart into all of them. They were how I said “I love you” before I knew how to say it. Look, I’m just another someone hitting a guitar, trying to be Angus Young or Paul Westerberg, Pete Townshend or Johnny Thunders, you know? These tapes are how I get to keep yapping about them, how I get to gush without embarrassment. But, mostly, I suppose, I just really felt like saying “I love you” again.

2020 has only just begun, what else is in store for Beach Slang?
A damn good time.