Beach Slang brings indie-punk sound to Lancaster
For James Alex Snyder, punk was just prologue.
The songwriter and driving force behind Philadelphia-based Beach Slang, Snyder's second go around with the music industry might take him further than his first.
Snyder, 41, joined Philly pop punkers Weston in the mid 90s, bringing guitarwork and vocal sophistication that helped see the band through its most successful album, "Got Beat Up."
Weston, signed to pop-punk friendly label Go Kart Records, had regional success, playing shows with bands such as the Bouncing Souls. But with lineup changes and changing tastes, Weston fizzled out.
Twenty years later, after a graphic design career, Snyder has returned to a very different music business, with a more diverse scene and a music production industry democratized by digital technology.
His sound is also different. Though Snyder got his start in the 90s, Beach Slang draws more inspiration from 80s alt-rockers like the Replacements and the Psychedelic Furs than it does from his 90s punk peers. Shimmering electric guitars and Snyder's whisper-to-shout vocals make songs like "Filthy Luck" feel at once new and familiar, like a forgotten song from a John Hughes film.
Beach Slang's about-to-be-released LP, "Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us," has gotten buzz on music websites like Stereogum, and the album's early-release single, "Bad Art and Weirdo Ideas" got some play on Josiah's Sirius XMU radio show, a show that tends to launch bands from relative obscurity to a national indie following.
Now the four-piece is opening for Snyder's old friends, the Bouncing Souls, on a three show tour that includes the Chameleon Club in Lancaster.
Sharing the billing with Leftover Crack and All Torn Up — two political hardcore punk bands from New York — is something you probably wouldn't have seen back in Weston's days.
"The scene's a lot more eclectic now," Snyder said. "People are more willing to see a show that's not so one-note."
Snyder said he's just excited that he has touring dates booked out for the next two years. He's riding a wave, and it feels good.
"I want to pull out these records when I'm older and say, hey, we did a thing once, and it wasn't' terrible," he said. "Paying the bills is a bonus."