Slaughter Beach, Dog Credit: Jessica Flynn

Jake Ewald, best known as a guitarist and singer for Philly fourth-wave-emo heartthrobs Modern Baseball, launched this solo project under inauspicious circumstances a couple years ago—he’d hit a wall with the personal, almost diaristic songs he was writing for his main band. So he uprooted his imagination from the soil of his own day-to-day and instead populated a fictional town called Slaughter Beach, bringing it to life in euphoric, slightly rambunctious rock songs that make a beeline for the heart as surely as any Modern Baseball tune. Now that Ewald’s main band is on hiatus, having said good-bye with a few hometown shows last month, he’s focusing on Slaughter Beach, Dog, which just dropped its second album, Birdie (Lame-O). It’s more acoustic than the first SBD album, suggesting a deference to the easygoing affectations of 70s country—especially its smooth, drawling slide guitars. Emo still dominates Ewald’s musical vocabulary, of course, to the extent that I’m pretty sure the chorus for “Fish Fry” (which includes the lyrics “Delaware, where oh where are we”) is a twist on the line “Delaware are you aware of the air supply” from the Promise Ring’s “Is This Thing On?” It’s nice to see Ewald nod to emo’s past while he rambles down whatever path he’s clearing to its future.   v