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Jeff Miers' Soundbites: Beach Slang hates alternative rock, but loves Buffalo

Philadelphia’s Beach Slang stole the show at the most recent Music Is Art Festival, offering a torrid set celebrating the group’s punk influences and its modern indie ethic equally, and reminding some of us of a certain age what we felt like the first time we heard the Replacements, Bob Mould’s “Workbook” album, or even the early Goo Goo Dolls.

It’s not surprising to learn that Goos bassist Robby Takac is a major fan, but it does speak highly of our city’s capacity to become a go-to spot for up-and-coming indie bands looking for Los Angeles-level production talent at Rust Belt City prices to learn that the band recorded at GCR Recording Studios under the production auspices of Takac.

“MPLS” is the resulting twin-song EP. The visceral smackdown that is the band’s take on Bob Mould’s 1995 aural middle finger “I Hate Alternative Rock” is streaming now. It celebrates the Minneapolis indie-punk that guitarist/vocalist James Alex claims as the blueprint for what he hopes to achieve with his own band – which, I’ll hazard a guess, is to marry indelible pop-inflected hooks to an up-tempo, garage-y, primal thump and gorgeously sleazy guitars.

Listen, and admit it - Beach Slang basks in the glorious cacophony of of Husker Du’s face-melting “Zen Arcade” here.

[Related: Smiles at Music Is Art 2018 | Shots around Music Is Art]

James Alex of Beach Slang. (Getty Images)

The EP’s other Minneapolis punk cover is, more than appropriately, a take on Paul Westerberg’s “AAA,” originally released in 2002 beneath Westerberg’s nom de plume, Grandpa Boy.

“Minneapolis is the spot where my favorite rock and roll found its snot, where the tossed-away found a place to get un-tossed,” Alex says in a press release promoting “MPLS.”

“It felt like the right way to tell a whole city ‘thanks for showing me the way.’ Westerberg taught me how to write with defiance and tenderness, how to be a dope and a poet. Husker Du showed me how to make it all loud as hell.”

Nice. Check it out.

Mosswalk dropping debut full-length. I met Sean McNamara when I walked into our mutual friend's basement with my guitar over my shoulder.  I knew of McNamara from his work with Big Martha, but our paths had never crossed. (We were part of a group that covered the Allman Brothers Band's legendary "At Fillmore East" album for a Gusto Vinyl Happy Hour at the Sportsmen's Tavern.)

Ten minutes into our rehearsal, we had successfully burned through a first take on the AB Band's "Hot "Lanta," and I felt like I had known the guy for decades. McNamara had soul, he had taste, and he most definitely had the fire.

He also had an original music project that he was more than a little bit psyched about. Along with his musical cohorts Ryan Cass (keys and vocals), Jamie Sunshine (drums and vocals) and Daniel Heuskin (bass and vocals) McNamara formed Mosswalk in 2017, and rapidly built up a following for what he describes as a musical journey "focused on dynamic songwriting, sonic exploration, and an immersive live experience."

The band recently completed work on its debut studio effort, "Magnata," and will celebrate its release with the help Buffalo indie and jam bands Soular Plexus and Witty Tarbox  at 10 p.m. Feb. 16 at Nietzsche's ($5).

Mosswalk. (Photo courtesy Mosswalk)

Short spins. Speaking of Witty Tarbox, that band's Bryan Williams is hosting the free Friday Happy Hour at Mohawk Place on Feb. 15, beginning at 5 p.m. ... The Tim Clarke Soultet (Darryl Washington - drums, Ed Croft - bass, Harry Graser - keys, Nelson Rivera - sax/percussion, Tim Clarke - trumpet/flugelhorn) plays a "Soul Jazz Saturday" at noon Feb. 16 in the Sportsmen's Tavern. Musicians are encouraged to "bring your axes."... Buffalo Soulja will celebrate Bob Marley's birthday at 10 p.m. Feb. 16, with a tribute to the great man at Dinosaur BBQ.


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