Rock band

As an award for Seaside Slang, the biggest most honest rock band of 2015

In case you’ve ever pushed from Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Green Bay, Wisconsin, I’m sorry. For everyone else: The six-hour stay consists mostly of depressed industrial towns, rust-colored grain fields, and Kwik Journeys populated by hard-eyed people trying to numb the pain of everyday existence with Massive sodas Gulp and handfuls of beef jerky. But that’s not how it looks like James Alex. For him, this stretch of highway could also be Thunder Road, Fire’s Highway or the road that Paul Westerberg wanted to travel before embarking on “I Will Dare”. For Alex, it is the progression of his desires.

“I’m just doing cartwheels through this tour. It’s superior,” Alex tells me. I simply reached him by cell phone at a roadside restaurant in Kenosha. It’s early September and Alex’s band – a relentlessly upbeat punk-rock quartet from Philadelphia known as the Seaside Slang – are in the midst of a brief string of dates with Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson, certainly the one of all of Alex. -time favorite groups.

“I’m freaking out,” he says, in a tone that instantly conveys an individual who is definitely freaking out. “Thrilled about past enlightenment, isn’t it? It’s like – it’s surreal, you know? In one of the best ways, a thing can really feel surreal.

What’s causing Alex to crumble right now is his first trip to the Twin Cities, the home base of the Replacements, where Seaside Slang will end this fast run in a few days. Alex is already planning a neighborhood tour of notable websites – the So be it house, golf equipment strewn where the ‘Mats performed, a set of practice tracks where publicity photos had been staged. Later, I like to recommend trying CC Membership, the south Minneapolis dive bar that impressed “Right here Comes a Common”.

“I’m still completely a kid with, like, posters on my wall though,” Alex says of his rock and roll obsession. “It’s really the only thing I’ve ever subscribed to. I’m just in it. I guess similarly if you are a history buff and go to the place where a well-known battle happened, you just know you are at that point where you are destined to be. “

What’s really surreal these days for Alex is his unlikely success. Formed following the final split from Alex’s previous band, Weston, in 2010, Seaside Slang began primarily by appealing to their 41-year-old frontman. Touring for nearly 20 years with Weston failed to determine anything bigger than a small cult following, so Alex studied to be a visible artist and denounced big-hearted rock songs in his spare time. Alex hadn’t given up on his rock cravings, yet real life demanded that he compartmentalize them.

In 2014, Seaside Slang released two seven inch, Who would ever need something so damaged? and Low-cost thrills on lifeless Finish Avenue. Benchmark factors were barely up to date – Alex said he was aiming for a sweet spot between “the Replacements, Swervedriver, Jesus and Mary Chain, everything that affected me in my childhood”. While recorded on a punk-rock budget, the EPs aspired to the guitar wall-making model of ’90s alt-rock, a huge sound to match the grand, corny sentiments of Alex’s lyrics.

Thematically, Seaside Slang sits alongside bands such as Keep Regular and Japandroids, which were also shaped by independent lifers who didn’t find a huge following until they actually surpassed the mainstream. age of 30. Like those bands, Seaside Slang makes energetic, ambitious music to inspire old rockers to try and reconcile their raucous file collections with the mundane duties of coming of age. But while the Keep Regular and the Japandroids are reluctantly content with the passage of time – their songs place youth as a trial by fire that exists in the rearview mirror of life – Alex still relates very much to the angle of a child.

Take “Filthy Luck”, the first track of Who would ever need something so damaged?, where Alex refers to “kids like weover bold energetic chords and hyperactive drum beats. “Carve your title softly into my lungs / I need to breathe you in until I’m numb,” he sings, clinging to the current tense despite the boyish naivety of the lyrics.

“It’s still the person I am,” insists Alex. “We’ve heard it through ages – age is a set of numbers. However these clichés, I do subscribe to that. We now have these cultural expectations that you’ve just reached a certain age and you’re expected to become critical or your retirement savings are supposed to be bigger than you want.I in no way subscribed to this, and I have the checking account to show it.

Seaside Slang’s debut album is out this week. It’s known as The problems we do to find people who really feel like us, and it dubs previous EPs, amplifying the finesse of the guitars and the melodrama of the lyrics. Fictionalized depictions of adolescence as a battleground of life or death have been part of rock custom from Phil Spector to Bruce Springsteen to Celebration rock. However, Alex’s specialty is writing incredibly emotional rock songs about what it feels like to listen to all those other incredibly emotional rock songs. Can you blame him for wanting more live inside of these tunes?

“Listen man, we’re not all going to make a living playing guitars, are we? I mean, I get it,” Alex said, pressing the gas pedal to his mile-a-minute crackle. “But it’s really cool, so come home from work and keep in mind that the goods you do that feed the good parts of you, not just paying the payments that are part of you. I still hop on stage like a drunken loon 60-70% of the 12 months. You too can do it.


Since the first time I heard The problems we do to find people who really feel like us, I knew Seaside Slang was my new favorite band. I was already a fan of the EPs and had written about them with enthusiasm. I also studied Weston’s new catalog, so I was aware that Alex’s aesthetic had been refined over the course of a few years. (Musical tracks by Pattern Weston: “Teenage Love Affair”, “Heartbreak Sandwich”, “Emotions Stupit Emotions”.) However The issues we deal with immediately felt like a fruit. Alex had found exactly what he had been looking for since the early 90s – a mix of nostalgia and forward-looking optimism communicated through brilliant fearless riffs and flowery cliches redeemed by the utter conviction of a true believer. Immediately I noticed that I was looking for the same thing. So I have a lot of people that I know. Every person I’ve ever served Seaside Slang to has ended up loving this band. Alex has seemingly cornered the market for innocent rock music.

The things we do to find people who really feel like us is full of potential pitfalls, moments where the spell could possibly be damaged by a lyrical or musical flourish only relatively corny than transcendentally corny. I guess Seaside Slang will elicit groans from those not on the band’s wavelength no matter what. But for me, as the record progressed during my first attention, the sense of euphoria grew, from the softly sighed choruses of “Unhealthy Artwork & Weirdo Concepts” to the intensely raspy chorus of “Experience the Wild Haze” to the articulate suggestions from “Dirty Lights”. After hearing Alex sing, “If rock and roll is harmful, how come I feel so protected in it? in “I Break Guitars”, I felt a lump in my throat. My GodI assumed. He really does.

Talking to Alex caused a reduction, as I was worried that this might all be a comedy. His album had become a safe zone for me to profess all the beliefs I had stuffed into the lower areas of my heart. Seaside Slang embodies nearly every one of those cherished beliefs: seriousness is sweet. Bombast is sweet. Rock’n’roll is one of the best. Getting drunk is generally a noble act. Public embarrassment is fine as long as you are passionate. You really could be born to run, as long as you don’t stop believing in Siamese desires. The things we do to find people who really feel like us validates all this hokum in 30 minute intervals.

Loving Seaside Slang is like stepping out on a branch, so it was nice to see that Alex deserved that belief. Both in real life and on the record, Alex speaks like Paul Stanley introducing “Strutter” to a stadium full of 40,000 budding dreamers. Listening to it feels like flying as long as you don’t look down.


Next time I’ll talk to Alex is before Seaside Slang’s show on the Turf club in St. Paul. I text him once I get there, and he tells me to have a beer with him at the bar.

“My body will always get to that point, where it’s the right amount of buzz,” Alex says between sips. I take another big sip of my beer in an effort to hit that time faster.

Seaside Slang hit visitors to the dangerous site on the way to the present, so the Replacements sightseeing tour was unfortunately scuttled. There was only time for a quick trip to the So be it at home – the group weren’t allowed to climb onto the roof, but they took a variety of ungodly images.

“It was like the upper Graceland,” enthused Alex.

We chat aimlessly for a few minutes, after which Alex talks about his first punk-rock show: the Ramones at the Airport Music Corridor in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Alex was 12 years old.

“I was, like, a little muffin, a little kid, and I walked in, and it was like an outdoor space for me,” he says. “Just all these fat punks in bomber jackets, and the spikes, the whole market. When the Ramones played, I never noticed or felt anything like that. I get knocked down, and these fat punks picked me with these big smiles on their faces, like, We got another one. You acknowledge, to maintain this factor in the future. There was a really charming thing about it.

An hour later, Seaside Slang is on stage, the central band on a season ticket bill in an unfamiliar city. At first, the indifference is palpable. However Alex does not appear to thoughts. The journey is what matters – the vacation spot is in the sauce. So he stops before the second verse of “Unhealthy Artwork & Weirdo Concepts” to take a celebratory drag on his beer. Then he recklessly whips his guitar around his chest. Then he throws his torso down. He is successful on the gang. At the top of the set, they’re screaming for more.

“I don’t know why not everyone is in a band and [doesn’t get] drunk every night,” Alex tells his new followers. “It’s fucking heaven, man.”