Best Coast: The Quintessential SoCal Sound
When Bethany Cosentino fled New York in 2009 after mere months of battling the cold and gray and came home to Southern California, she wasn't just making a personal odyssey. Her embrace of the low-fi L.A. songwriting scene was symbolic of the migration of the center of gravity of alternative nation, from Williamsburg to Silver Lake. As she and bandmate Bobb Bruno aptly put it when they decided to name their noise-pop band, they repped the Best Coast. Within a year their fuzzed-out melodies were being swooned over by the British press and racing up the American charts.
I've always been just kind of fascinated by Los Angeles and California," Cosentino recently told KCET, as Best Coast prepared to perform a live set for the show Studio A. "I feel like it's such a magical place, it has such a special vibe...So when I write music, even if I'm writing a song about a boyfriend or a friend that I'm no longer friends with or whatever I'm writing about,...there's a vibe...behind the songs that carry this Los Angeles energy. And people are constantly saying that to me. They'll be like 'Oh, I listen to your music in the dead of winter because it makes me feel like I'm on a beach in Southern California.' And I'm like, 'Well that's exactly what I wanted to do.'"
The L.A. vibe comes through in Best Coast's Phil Spector-style saturated production and Runaways-esque hard bubblegum. It always feels like a sunny day in a Best Coast song -- even though, often, it's not. Lyrically, the seven tracks on Fade Away, their recent EP, are as drenched in melancholia as a homesick college girl with seasonal affective disorder. "I don't know who I am this year/ My feelings are nothing but fear," Cosentino sings in "Baby I'm Crying," sounding a lot like Patsy Cline. The country influence has grown on every Best Coast record. Compared to some of her pop-diva peers, Consentino is a practical, approachable gal -- her 127,000 Twitter followers can also dress like her, assembling pieces from her Valley Girl/rock-star influenced Urban Outfitters line.