Music

The 5 most under-appreciated records of the ’90s, according to Beach Slang’s James Alex

Ahh, the ’90s. Good times. Great music. Some shit music, too. In fact, there’s a whole lot that should be forgotten. On the flipside, there’s a whole lot that deserves to be remembered a lot more than it actually is. That’s why we got Beach Slang frontperson James Alex (who also played in early ’90s pop punk purveyors Weston) to give us a list of the five most under-appreciated records from the ’90s in his humble Philadelphian opinion. Check out his selections below, and get ready for Beach Slang’s visit around Splendour.

1. Senseless Things – The First Of Too Many (1991)

Senseless Things should have been gigantic. That voice, those melodies and, man, the guitar lines—it’s wild how much I wish I wrote this stuff. I’m listening to ‘Easy To Smile’ as Im typing this and it’s falling on me like a necessary reminder. Yeah, they should have been gigantic.


2. Archers Of Loaf – Icky Mettle (1993)

The first time I heard this record I got knocked way back. My friend Bix was DJing on college radio and played ‘Web In Front’. Man, the thing just stopped me. Like, I couldn’t figure out what I was hearing. It was strange and awkward, cutting and perfect. It still is.


3. The Posies – Frosting On The Beater (1993)

Whenever I hear the vocal harmonies on “Solar Sister”, I lock out. I don’t know. I mean, they are so aching and beautiful, it just sort of hypnotises me or something. When Jon and Ken joined Big Star, my head kind of exploded—in the very best way a thing can explode. Look, there will always be certain records that, as soon as I put them on, I get lost—sweetly. This is one.


4. Liz Phair – Whip-Smart (1994)

Liz Phair was my second ever rock ‘n’ roll crush. My first was Belinda Carlisle. The difference with Liz Phair, I suppose, is I fell for her face and her brain. She writes raw and honest. She makes my favorite weirdo hooks. She says “fuck” often and perfectly. She has gigantic guts. She changed the way I saw songwriting, the way I saw what it could be. I’ve learned so much as a writer because of this record. And, yeah, she’s still, very much, the coolest.


5. Superdrag – Regretfully Yours (1996)

Anything John Davis does is wildly brilliant. Anything. Everything. I have played this record an embarrassing amount of times and it still crushes me. Side A is literal perfection. I got turned on to Superdrag because of a review that read “if Carl Wilson fronted The Replacements”. Yeah, there’s really nothing left to say, you know?

Beach Slang w/ Spring King

Wednesday, July 20 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Sunday, July 24 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne