The blues comes in many forms – old traditions, new vintages, light and airy, swampy and dense. Not too often though do the blues come dressed in the reds of power pop and the greys of grunge punk.
At least, in the 2000s, not until Beach Slang. Led by guitarist/singer James Alex, with a nod toward all things Replacements, the Philadelphia ensemble have made crushing, swaggering, shambling anthemic blues punk with a poppy melodic edge since dropping their debut, The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us, from 2015.
Last week, Beach Slang added to its catalog by dropping a bristling new project, The Deadbeat Bang of Heartbreak City on Bridge Nine Records, with no less than special guest bassist Tommy Stinson of The Replacements appearing throughout the whole album. This is not unlike, say, if Tom Waits joined your Tom Waits cover band.
That’s not to call Beach Slang a Paul Westerberg cover band – far from it. Beach Slang uses the mess in a dress shambolic rock n’ roll of ‘The Mats as a black primary tone in which to paint splashes of wild color. A greasy new single such as “Stiff,” is aglow with abstract expressionist squiggles and a pummeling botto or backdrop. The rest of The Deadbeat Bang of Heartbreak City follows sleazy suit with ill ragers such as “Let It Ride” and its sad, snotty shout out, “Did you come to watch me choke… again,” a signifier of tortured glory and gloom.