Beach Slang

Beach Slang

Dave Hause & The Mermaid, Pet Symmetry

Thu · November 2, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Southgate House Revival-Sanctuary

$18.00 - $20.00

This event is all ages

Beach Slang
Beach Slang
“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.”

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.
Dave Hause & The Mermaid
Dave Hause & The Mermaid
Sometimes you have to move forward in order to see where you started out—and the hardscrabble wisdom that one gains from that type of journey forms the backbone of Dave Hause’s third full-length, Bury Me In Philly. “Punk rock guilt is a real thing,” the lifelong Philadelphian says from his new home in California. “I like to make rock n’ roll music because that’s what I love and I don’t care if Zeppelin or the Stones aren’t cool to the punks… it’s cool to me and that’s what matters.” In that spirit, Bury Me In Philly is a love letter both to his hometown as well as the larger-than-life rock acts he grew up worshiping as a teenager.

For the follow-up to 2013’s Devour, a newly sober Hause holed up in his new home and wrote nearly forty songs, eleven of which would end up as Bury Me In Philly. “The first song I wrote for this album was the title track and I didn’t realize it at the time but that really set the tone for the album,” he explains. “One thing I was focused on was trying to make the songs more concise and uplifting than the last record. My last album was a divorce record and during the touring of it I fell in love with my fiancé, moved to California and things got a lot better.” Hause’s newfound perspective allowed him to dig even deeper as a songwriter whether he’s getting intimately introspective on the tender ballad “Wild Love” or channeling that into shot of sonic adrenaline on monster anthems such as “Shaky Jesus.”

Although Bury Me In Philly is a Dave Hause album, it was also greatly inspired by the other people involved in the production of the album, most notably Eric Bazilian of Philadelphia rock legends The Hooters. “The Hooters were the first concert I ever saw when I was eight years old and it definitely made a huge impression on me,” Hause explains. In fact, during the pre-production process Hause was constantly sending songs to Bazilian who actually performed The Hooters classic “And We Danced” onstage with the Hause the last time he was in town. “Things weren’t working out with my original producer and Eric expressed that he would want to produce the album and suddenly he went from my hero to a causal friend to a co-collaborator.” Recorded at Bazilian’s home studio with him and Grammy Award winning producer William Wittman, the album is the ultimate homage to Hause’s past and is a timeless take on rock music’s enduring spirit.

Additionally, these songs are united by Hause’s intent dedication to his craft, which punk fans are already familiar with from his role as front man in The Loved Ones and guitarist/vocalist in The Falcon. From the fuzzed-out boogie of “Dirty Fucker” to the folksy sing-along vibe of “Helluva Home” and the classic rock-inspired groove of “The Mermaid,” Bury Me In Philly may not be an easy album to categorize but it’s a joy to get lost inside. Hause also kept things in the family this time around by co-writing the album with his 23-year-old brother Tim, who helped bring a fresh perspective to the recordings. “I’ve never had a musical soulmate but during this process I realized it’s my brother,” Hause explains. “Who I think of as this cute cuddly infant is now this grown man who is really talented and focused and he’s not drinking and partying his way through life the way that I was at that age. It’s really cool.”

While virtually every song on Bury Me In Philly could be played on the radio, the album is much more than a collection of singles. “I still write in the paradigm of albums you know?” Hause says. “I think there should be melodic through lines and each track on the album should compliment the other ones. You want to plan an album like a live set: You want a batch of songs that kick off the record, then you want some left turns. You want to take people on a journey.” The road to get to this point may have had its share of obstacles but looking back Hause wouldn’t trade his experiences for anything. “The ringing of that broken bell, it always seems to cast its spell. I was young and I flinched before, but I ain’t flinching anymore,” Hause sings over a soaring slide guitar on “The Flinch” ….and you can tell that he means it. Coming full circle rarely sounds this inspired.
Pet Symmetry
Pet Symmetry
Pet Symmetry started with the best and simplest of intentions: as an excuse to goof off. In 2013, the band’s three members, Evan Weiss (Into It. Over It.), Erik Czaja (Dowsing) and Marcus Nuccio (What Gives), started kicking around ideas that were lighthearted in nature of their full-time projects. Almost by accident, the result of their collective fun morphed into something real, and became Pet Symmetry.

“It’s meant, not as a joke, but as something that’s an escape,” explains Weiss, who takes on bass and vocal duties. “You can watch Pet Symmetry and smile for 30 minutes, and just be psyched on this fun, goofy band.”

The Chicago three-piece has made its live show a tight budget spectacle, often performing in matching Hawaiian shirts, varsity jackets, or black metal makeup. Their tongue-in-cheek nature is also proudly on display with their releases, from their incredibly descriptively titled EP, Two Songs About Cars. Two Songs With Long Titles., to their canine-themed nod to the Beach Boys on their 2015 debut album, Pets Hounds.

The informal tradition of Pet Symmetry proudly continues on their sophomore album, Vision, whose title is derived both from the inside joke that the group views themselves as mock visionaries, and the fact that the three bespectacled members look like the official house band for LensCrafters.

While Vision, the band’s first release with long-running indie label Polyvinyl Records, adopts the moodiness and heartfelt tones its creators are best known for, there’s an underlying sense of playful snarkiness behind it all. Its 11 songs are fully embraced by their Pet Symmetry alter egos in an anything goes mentality.

The album, recorded at Gradwell House in New Jersey by Dave Downham (Beach Slang, Pattern Is Movement), is volatile when it wants to be, but self-aware and sarcastic enough to pull it off without venturing into excessively sentimental territory. One song, “Lint Roller,” describes the desire to switch places with a lazy cat, reminiscent of The Weakerthans’ classic “A Plea from a Cat Named Virtue.” Another, “You & Me & Mt. Hood,” sees Weiss coasting down a Portland mountain into a gas station on an empty tank, an apt metaphor for life if ever there was one.

Now four years into Pet Symmetry’s accidental existence, Vision sees the band easing into the persona they’ve created for themselves—focused but a tad unrefined, motivated but somewhat noncommittal, and driven by their desire to amuse themselves. It’s all part of their vision.
Venue Information:
The Southgate House Revival-Sanctuary
111 East 6th Street
Newport, KY, 41071
http://www.southgatehouse.com/