Radar Band Of The Week – No 14: Best Coast

Best Coast

The dark-hearted duo giving LA a breezy, lovelorn makeover

Ignore the stereotype of the air-headed Valley Girl popularised by Frank Zappa and a thousand ’80s teen movies. Instead pay attention to 23-year-old Bethany Cosentino, frontwoman of Best Coast, a more millennial kind of Los Angeleno.

It’s 12pm, two days after American Independence Day. Following a pair of national tours and her band’s first international jaunt, Cosentino sips a Bud Lite in her living room on a rare overcast LA afternoon, surrounded by a few of her favourite things: DVDs of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, Garfield memorabilia, her cats Chloe and Snacks, a bong and some medical marijuana, and her band mate, LA underground fixture Bobb Bruno.

“Being on the road just makes us miss California more,” the pop culture-obsessed Cosentino says lounging on the couch. “We do a lot of chilling. Barbecues, weed, the occasional Martin marathon.”

A re-run of ’90s sitcom Full House plays behind her, a remnant from the era that Best Coast’s music channels: the flannel and flailing of Seattle grunge, with lo-fi, reverb-soaked guitars and an archly punk attitude. But there’s also something charmingly anachronistic that taps into a “Beach Blanket Bingo” vibe: Cosentino’s plaintive and romantic wail shrouded in gauzy girl-group pop.

A staple of the same Smell scene that birthed No Age and Abe Vigoda, Cosentino arrived at her sound only after leaving her previous band, drone-rockers Pocahaunted.

“Pocahaunted became something I didn’t want to do. Best Coast was fun and different for me. I listen to a lot of ’50s and ’60s girl groups and surf music, not noise and experimental,” Cosentino says. “I wanted to make straightforward pop.”

Releasing a string of EPs and seven-inch singles that quickly became collectibles, Best Coast elicited heavy heat from bloggers and a deal from Wichita Recordings to release their debut, ‘Crazy For You’, in August. Lead single ‘Boyfriend’ distills the Best Coast aesthetic: breezy, light and lovelorn.

After all, why go to the mall when you can go to the beach instead?

Need To Know
*Best Coast members Bobb Bruno and Bethany Cosentino met at a party where a girl jumped out of a window.
*The band’s van once broke down 200 miles south of San Francisco. They were forced to spend the next three hours in a tow truck, penned in by their equipment. Their solution was to get very drunk.
*Bethany Cosentino’s favourite strain of medical marijuana is Headband.


This article originally appeared in the July 17 issue of NME

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