Parkways-Constant Memory

On their debut album, Parkways capture a classic sense of pop-punk malaise.  The band’s debut EP Constant Memory draws from lo-fi and pop-punk past, but it never feels nostalgic.  The Trenton-based group create the type of energy suited for jumping around in basements. Continue reading

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Beach Slang remove Ruben Gallego. Guitarist responds.

Beach Slang guitarist Ruben Gallego has recently been accused of sexual assault.  Beach Slang has chosen to remove him from their current lineup in a statement on Facebook:

For us, Beach Slang has always been and will always be a safe place for everyone. It was built to be welcoming. It was built to be soft. If we are going to continue to exist, we have to exist in this way.

There have been allegations involving sexual assault and our guitarist, Ruben. Although this occurred four years ago and prior to him joining Beach Slang, we cannot in good conscience continue with him. We believe survivors and we want to believe Ruben, but until we learn more information, we don’t feel it’s appropriate for him to be a part of Beach Slang.

We strongly support survivors and organizations such as www.rainn.org and we encourage you to use their resources if you need help. We will be making a donation to RAINN at the conclusion of this tour to do our part in helping to ensure these resources are there for those who need it.

Given the timing of this, our only option is to play as Quiet Slang (James solo acoustic). I mean, giving up never seems to fix things. Maybe today, we can start putting some stuff back together. The Bleached Slang tour starts tonight in Washington, DC. Maybe that’s a good place to start.

Keep each other safe,
Beach Slang

The former guitarist has responded by saying:

I’d like to say that what’s important to me is that people stand with survivors and that we continue to foster an environment where people aren’t afraid to speak out against their abusers.

Although I do feel like what’s being said about me is inaccurate it’s irrelevant. I think it’s totally possible for people to see a situation completely differently and if this person feels I harmed them then that’s what I care about and I want to make that right.

I also care deeply about how this affects other victims of sexual assault specifically the ones who attend Beach Slang shows and felt that sticking around would further isolate them.

James [Alex] and Ed [McNulty] are the sweetest most caring people I’ve ever known and I feel they did the right thing and I will always support them.

Beach Slang-‘A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings’

a1153972391_10            I’m not really into Beach Slang.  I’ve really wanted to love them since the Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken? EP, but they never did anything that made me adore them the way it seems the likes of NPR or Pitchfork do.  They have songs here and there that I like, and I understand what James Alex represents.  Still, I feel like more often than not, Beach Slang’s eternally youthful attitude comes off as immature in boring ways.

Beach Slang’s story is a punk Cinderella story.  James Alex is finally getting the recognition he deserves after slaving away in the underground for over two decades.  Alex explored some of those themes on Beach Slang’s first full-length, The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us, on songs like “Too Late to Die Young.”  At the start of A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings, it seems as if Alex has developed Peter Pan-Syndrome.  Based right off the title, it has a refusal to grow up bumper sticker taped to it.  Where Things We Do may have found some power in turning music up loud, songs like “Future Mixtape for the Art Kids” and “Punks in a Disco Bar” feel like clichés.  The opening lines of this album are “Play it loud/play it fast/play me something that will always last,” and it sounds like a song from a fictional band in a children’s cartoon.  The two best tracks on the album’s first half are much less lyrically based and seem to capture the intensity that Beach Slang does best on “Atom Bomb” and “Art Damage.”  The instrumental tracks for these songs aren’t bad, but the lyrical laziness is sometimes cringe-worthy.  If only to add insult to injury, it seems like most of the time James Alex is singing with an underwater distortion effect on his voice.  It’s a shame to see a detriment to an otherwise good singer-songwriter.

Beach Slang do hit a stride in the latter half of this album.  “Wasted Daze of Youth” is a more mature take about death and losing loved ones.  “The Perfect High” and “Young Hearts” are a little bit more restrained, which is a nice breath of fresh-air from the albums abrasive start.  The closer, “Warpaint,” sounds like it’s always on the verge of complete chaos.  Beach Slang don’t give in until just about the very end, but the release isn’t total entropy.  The feeling is much more restrained.  While even this back half seems to ride on some of the youthful clichés typical in Beach Slang songs, it is nice to be a bit more subdued.

Clichés are Beach Slang’s biggest pitfall, and even if you can latch onto the genuine emotions of the band’s anthems, the clichés make it feel like you’re listening to a bad breakup.  The title A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings is perfect for this album, because it sounds the way you would expect such a bash of teenage feelings to sound.  The album feels like watching a teen movie any time you’re not really a teen.  It has an idea of what those teenage feelings are, but it doesn’t execute it nearly as accurately as it thinks it does.  Beach Slang knows that music is a true escapist art, as it lets us reflect on nostalgic times, and to be honest, James Alex’s love of music is incredible.  It’s incredibly uplifting and nostalgic in so many best ways, but he doesn’t realize that it’s the specifics of music that make it so great.  All in all, Beach Slang is okay.

Monday Mixtape 9/19 (Against Me!, The Front Bottoms, Kendrick Lamar)

Against Me!-“12:03”


Shape Shift With Me has been in heavy rotation for me over the weekend, and the second track is easily one of the most fun and catchiest.  Laura Jane Grace captures all the excitement and anxiety of the start of a new relationship.  It’s very similar to the Searching for a Former Clarity song “Pretty Girls.”  Also, Laura’s calling out Topshop for that $700 Against Me! jacket is punk as fuck.

 

Beach Slang-“Noisy Heaven”


            I thought about including a song from Here, I Made This For You, but with the release of A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings coming up, I’ve been revisiting Beach Slang’s first album.

 

The Front Bottoms-“Tighten Up”


New Jersey’s The Front Bottoms have sprung two b-sides from Back On Top onto the internet, and it’s fucking awesome.  The band will be touring with Brand New and Modern Baseball this Fall, followed by their own Champagne Jam 2016 in New York City.  Hopefully this and “Joanie” will be played at each show.  It’s classic catchy and bizarre TFB.

 

Motion City Soundtrack“Pulp Fiction”


Motion City Soundtrack may have played their final show this weekend, but I’m not ready to let go.  This My Dinosaur Life is an easy favorite deep cut from a band that won’t soon be forgotten.

 

Kendrick Lamar-“m. A. A. D. city”


            I’ve been reading Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib’s The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, and his poetry has had me revisiting some of my favorite artists, and I just read his poem “The Author Explains Good Kid, M. A. A. D. City to His White Friend While Driving Through Southeast Ohio.”  Music is obviously very important to Abdurraqib, and he pays tribute to everyone from Pete Wentz and Elliot Smith to Drake and Kanye.

 

Crying-“Wool in the Wash”


I’m getting on the Crying bandwagon a little late, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this track over the weekend.  I’ve gone back and listened some of the chip-rock band’s older work, and this is them at their most realized.  They have the large soaring video game sounds, but with some of the poppier, jingliest work yet.

 

The Hold Steady-“Chips Ahoy”


The second of three “Wish I was at Riot Fest” entries, I’m just upset about not seeing The Hold Steady this weekend at Riot Fest, because I missed Riot Fest.  The only other options I’m truly bummed about are…

 

The Misfits-“Hybrid Moments”


            Here’s to crossing my fingers for a Misfits tour!

 

Leonard Cohen-“Chelsea Hotel #2”


Following terrorist attacks in Chelsea, it seems fitting to play this Leonard Cohen cut a gloomy, rainy Monday.  It’s been raining in New York, and this mellow song about Janis Joplin is fitting.

Monday Mixtape: 9/12 (Green Day, Lady Gaga, Beach Slang, Kevin Devine)

Green Day-“Revolution Radio”


Green Day are vamping up for their return, and the title track from their new album is as explosive as ever.  The melodic punk track features Green Day’s trademark catchy power chords.  Tré Cool shines through locking the song down the most.  Billie Joe Armstrong writes some of his wordiest lyrics continuing on from the equally intricate “Bang Bang.”  Revolution Radio will be released October 7.

 

Against Me!-“Crash”


While Shape Shift With Me is streaming via NPR, the catchiest track remains the power pop gem “Crash.”  Laura barks over some melodic guitar rock.  “Crash” lands all the punches that Shape Shift With Me should when it’s released on Friday.

 

Kanye West-“Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1”


Not a new song, but I’m still coming down from a Saint Pablo tour hangover.

 

The Smiths-“Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now”

As summer officially comes to an end, Morrissey and Johnny Marr have written some of the best Autumn songs ever written.  This Louder than Bombs track is essential Smiths listening, and it’s a bittersweet take for the start of Fall.  It’s a Pumpkin-Spiced jam.

 

Beach Slang-“Atom Bomb”


This sludgy track has one of the best music videos of the summer, and James Alex sings this song with an intense snarl, that’s irresistible.  While “Punks in a Disco Bar” sounds like a chunkier version of a track from Beach Slang’s first album, this song shows that the Philly outfit still has some tricks up their sleeves.

 

Lady Gaga-“Perfect Illusion”


            This Tame-Impala produced single may be Gaga’s best following the flop that was Artpop.  This era of Gaga may be exciting.

 

Kevin Devine-“No History”


Remembering 9/11 this weekend certainly puts a lot of things into perspective.  Over the weekend, everyone that was around the same age as me when the World Trade Center attacks happened remembered the confusion.  Kevin Devine’s first song from Instigator captures what I imagine it must have felt like for people that were much older than I was when the terrorist attacks happened.  Devine is also aware of how this event has echoed to this day.  As Devine sings “This is the future severe and always happening” is one of the eeriest to come during this haunting song.  Devine doesn’t really memorialize any of those lost, but he does reveal the confusion, fear and anger that has never been forgotten.