A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings

by Beach Slang

/
1.
Play it loud. Play it fast. Play me something that will always last. Play it tough. Play it quiet. Play me something that might save my life. We’re not lost. We are dying in style. We’re not fucked. We are fucking alive. I hope I never die. Stick your heart on your sleeve. If it breaks, stitch it on to me. Bash it back into shape. You might be cracked, but I won’t let you break. We’re not lost. We are dying in style. We’re not fucked. We are fucking alive. I hope you never die. A generation waits to bleed. For broken kids no one needs there is heaven in these streets. I’m with you. Are you with me? We’re not lost. We are dying in style. We’re not fucked. We are fucking alive.
2.
My heart is set on ‘77, wild nights and porno mouths. I won’t die so I don’t need heaven. I’m too fucked up to burn out. I’m an atom bomb, ticking. I’m a dead-end kid in the city, dirty thoughts in a dirty town. I was born with trouble in me. I don’t care why or how. I’m an atom bomb, ticking. I’m an 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, ticking.
3.
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. 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 got dust in my lips and a limp in my charm, but got a halo on my heart.
4.
Art Damage 02:42
When I die, bury me in the clothes of my youth. Throw my dust in the streets where I got alive with you. Blurry eyes, steady teeth, another drink, a new bruise on the heart or on the cheek. It’s heaven. We stumble out or try, loud and free, raw and wild. And feel alive. I don’t mind, well, I don't, that hell is chea and I’m loose. All my thrills come real cheap, but, I swear, my aim is true. We stumble out or try, loud and free, raw and wild. And feel alive.
5.
Hot Tramps 03:44
Your eyelashes shine like a plastic diamond. Your arms are a car crash I want to die in. Your lips smash in mine just like lust and violence. Your heart’s marvelous trash the world’s forgotten. I can’t love you raw enough. Your mouth mumbles, wild, like a pile of sirens. Your art is a loud bash of teenage feelings. If you’re ready, I’m in. I can’t love you raw enough.
6.
The words I scream are meaningless or holy things. They kiss my tongue before they split to fix someone. When nothing’s loud, I punch my heart. I flex my mouth until it comes on like a truth, brilliant and dumb. Man, they taught me to talk then told me to shut up. I never cared, but, man, it cut. I’m nothing clean. I’m garbage thoughts and dirty knees. A fucked-up punk, a bastard light. I ain’t no one’s son. Man, they taught me to talk then told me to shut up. I never cared, but, man, it cut.
7.
Please don’t die before I do or say you’ll take me with you. Deal? You’re my favorite weirdo. How’d you teach me how to feel? I’d always tried. I kiss your mouth to taste your spit and sip your words until they stick. I wrap them around my hands and wear my palms like boxing mitts, too soft to fight. I still taste you in the ash of every cigarette you kill. Did they drag you back to life? If not yet, they never will. Carve ‘I want you’ in my arm. Cover up my sins with truth. If you stop being alive, baby, take me with you.
8.
Young Hearts 04:10
This crummy town is filled with wild boredom, a battleground rumbling like a wardrum now. It gave us guts. It made us saints of danger. It woke us up. It made us write to save us. The gutter’s alive with young hearts tonight. The nothing kids, the restless and forgotten, we never fit. It’s been our bravest weapon. The gutter’s alive with young hearts tonight. It made us saints of danger. It made us saints.
9.
Let’s get lost in this feeling like we’re never going to die. Make it soft, like we’re dreaming. Cross my heart. Stab my eye. You’re the perfect high. Let’s get caught in this weird thing of too alone or too alive. All this junk could’ve killed me. But I’m not dead. And you are why. You’re the perfect high.
10.
Warpaint 02:40
Make a muscle with your brain. You’re not as broken as you are brave. All the things that fuck you up, knock them out and then come back to us. Tonight could be the roughest of your life. I know you’ll wake dying to survive. Don’t be afraid to want to be alive. Splatter warpaint on your cheek. Bare your heart without apology. Hang your anger. Cut it loose. Make this stick: I won’t give up on you. Tonight could be the roughest of your life. I know you’ll wake dying to survive. Don’t be afraid to want to be alive. Knock the pills out of your teeth. The way they’re kissing you gives me the creeps. Make a fist and ditch your doubts. I know you’ll die sometime, but it’s not now. Tonight could be the roughest of your life. I know you’ll wake dying to survive. Don’t be afraid to want to be alive.

about

“I don’t want to whisper things anymore. I want to yell them.” -- Beach Slang’s James Alex

First there’s the choppy E chord, revving the song like a boot stomping a gas pedal: the sound of all that excess energy built up at the start of the night. Then comes James Alex’s fine-grain sandpaper voice: “Play it loud, play it fast / Play me something that will always last / Play it soft, play it quiet / Play me something that might save my life…”

James Alex, songwriter and front man for Philly indie-punk outfit Beach Slang, knows wherefrom he sings. Like a lot of us, Alex is that kid Lou Reed sang about, the one whose life was saved by rock and roll. And A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings (Polyvinyl), Beach Slang’s second full-length, is just that—a crash-and-thunder collection of songs about what it takes to keep yourself going, to make it through the rest of the night—hell, through the rest of your youth—and beyond.

Coming off a string of acclaimed EPs, Beach Slang’s first album, 2015’s The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us, won remarkably effusive acclaim from a number of critics, and wound up on several “best-of-the-year” lists. James wrote much of A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings on that album’s support tour, during which he spent a lot of time with the kids who’d picked up the record.

“A lot of the songs [on Loud Bash] are the stories of the kids who got turned on to Beach Slang by the first album,” says Alex. “They’re autobiographical, too, but kind of at a remove—I’m not that young kid anymore, but I used to be. You know how it is; rock and roll is a new crop of 15-year-olds picking up guitars every year and having at it. There was something really cool about documenting someone elses life, but seeing myself in it. I suppose that’s why we connect. We’re all kind of one big gang.”

The same could be said of Beach Slang itself, whose members came together very organically. After logging 15 years in Weston, the much-praised Philly hardcore punk outfit, Alex brought the songs that would become Beach Slang’s first EP to an impromptu jam session with outside musicians, including future bassist Ed McNulty. “It felt right, right away,” says James. “It was one of those rock and roll moments.” When second guitarist Ruben Gallego joined them soon after, Alex knew they’d found the formula for Beach Slang, a band that draws in equal measure from punk’s raw energy and power-pop’s emotional forthrightness—a combination that Alex found himself resonating with as he moved into adulthood and became a father.

Going into the second record, Alex didn’t feel a sense of pressure to match the broad, unexpected success of the first. “What I did feel was a sense of responsibility to the kids who told me they were finding something in our music that brought them back from a bad place, the ones who were getting Beach Slang tattoos and quoting lyrics to me after the shows. I don’t want to let those people down. As a 20-year-old, I thought, hey, let’s all have fun, we’re gonna live forever. You don’t really see the finish line. Now it’s more like, am I leaving behind work that’s going to matter? What’s this going to say about me when I run out of air, and my son is listening to these records and tapes that I left behind. Is he going to say, “Yeah, my dad was all right”? These days I feel like I’m responsible for things bigger than myself. And I want to do right by them.”

Indeed, Alex is that rare songwriter who can create songs that blend his own Young Man Blues with the grown man’s earned perspective. Check the arresting “Punks In A Disco Bar” and “Spin The Dial” for his skill at merging full-throttle hooks with memorable, whip-smart lyrics, or “Art Damage” and “Wasted Daze Of Youth” for a lesson in how rock and roll can be sinister and dissonant, and still end up beautiful.

For all the volume and the fuzz and the fury, Beach Slang is a band for sloppy romantics who got there the hard way (“I still taste you in the ash / of every cigarette you kill,” sings Alex). And that’s how the band wants it: “Whether this Beach Slang thing flies or falls,” says Alex, “we want to know that we put everything into it. We’re a rock and roll band; we make records and we tour. We want to sweat it and bleed it. We want to do it like the bands we love and respect did it.

“Without these guys,” James Alex says, “my life would feel really, really empty. And I have a full, beautiful life. But you know how some people have the ‘god hole’? I have the rock and roll hole. I’m that kid with the posters on his wall. Whether I’m right or I’m wrong, I’ve convinced myself this is why I’m here.”

Beach Slang—plug it in, turn it up, and let it scream.

credits

released September 23, 2016

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Beach Slang Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Guitar, bass and drums. Played loudly.

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