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Quiet Slang

Abi Reimold

July 7

Doors: 7:30 pm /

Show: 8:30 pm

13.00 / Day Of : $15.00

“Rock and roll is sort of my consolation prize for wanting to have been a
writer,” says James Alex. It’s a humble admission from the frontman of
Philadelphia’s Beach Slang, a fiery punk quartet whose raucous gigs often
find the songwriter’s earnest lyrics bellowed back at him. Still, consider
it a feat that fans are even able to hear those words from behind the
trembling walls of distortion that serve as Beach Slang’s raison d’etre.
Everything about Beach Slang is loud, from the guitars to its attitude to
Alex’s weathered rasp.

Considering that, there’s something almost cheeky
about the title of his new project: Quiet Slang. As the name implies, Alex
is embracing minimalism, smothering the fuzz in favor of a cello, a piano,
and his voice. In October, Quiet Slang released We Were Babies & We Were
Dirtbags, an EP comprised of two Beach Slang songs and two covers from The
Replacements and Big Star. Consider it an introduction to what Alex calls
“chamber pop for outsiders,” because it simply serves as prelude to
Everything Matters But No One Is Listening, a collection of 10
Beach Slang covers that comprises Quiet Slang’s debut fulllength.

The project’s seeds were planted just six months after Beach Slang’s formation,
when Alex was asked to a solo Tiny Desk Concert for NPR. “That was just me,
my guitar and a clumsy excuse for charm. But, yeah, the response was
beautifully unexpected and really nudged my thinking,” he says. “Even now,
at almost every show we play somebody’s like, ‘I got turned onto your band
from that NPR thing. You should make a record like that.’” A successful
solo tour last year solidified the idea in Alex’s mind, but he says he
wasn’t content to make a “campfire record,” elaborating that he “wanted it
to have more weight than that.”

That’s when he turned to the project’s key
influence: The Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt. Merritt’s influence lent
itself not only in his heartrending use of cello and piano via his work
with the Fields, but also in one of his most famous lyrics. “Why do we keep
shrieking/ When we mean soft things?” goes the final lines of “100,000
Fireflies.” “We should be whispering all the time.”

“That just always stuck
with me,” Alex says, “how quiet can sometimes be more powerful.” He
continues, “If Beach Slang is me fawning over The
Replacements, Quiet Slang is me head-over-heels for Stephin
Merritt.”

Though a new Beach Slang record is next up on Alex’s docket, he’s
open to the possibility of more Quiet Slang. The project’s sophomore
release, he notes, would contain original songs. “I guess I wanted to chase
reinterpretation first. I dug the challenge of it. But,
yeah, Quiet Slang deserves its own voice.”

Regardless of its future,
however, he hopes the project can convey one simple thing: “Tenderness. I
suppose that sounds overly simplified. But, still, it makes it no less
sincere. Look, I’m trying to soften the world a little bit—there’s worse
ways to be remembered.”

Abi Reimold: Abi Reimold of Philadelphia writes dynamic, cathartic songs that are darkly
colorful. Rough around the edges in a way that is more honest than careless,
Reimold’s music has a distinctly human quality with songwriting that
builds tension using dissonance both harmonically and lyrically. Reimold’s
voice rides a range of octaves and emotions, exploring inner worlds by
pairing starkly vivid lyrics and storytelling with contoured melodies.
Whether performing with a three-piece rock band or using a loop pedal to
make a solo performance come alive, Reimold’s songs combine the rawness of
rock with the thoughtful phrases and introspective poetry rooted in the
folk tradition. Reimold’s debut full-length was released in January of 2016
on Sad Cactus Records.

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