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Best Coast Plays The Casbah

Above: Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino. Best Coast plays The Casbah this Wednesday.

I'm very excited about the Best Coast show this week at The Casbah. Best Coast is essentially Bethany Consentino and a rhythm section. Yay! A real band.

Although I've been saying I can't listen to love songs anymore, I think the directness of her delivery and the noisiness of her guitar get past the basic "I love you baby" style of her lyrics. Kind of like the Jesus and Mary Chain and there's nothing wrong with that.

She also uses a lot of reverb/echo on her recently released "Crazy For You" album that harkens back to the girl groups of the early sixties.

But is that fair? Should we consider Best Coast in the whole pantheon of rock or should we see how it fits into the trail of girl groups from The Ronettes (has she heard of The Ronettes?) through female-led bands like Blondie, Pretenders, Veruca Salt, etc.

Or should we consider it as a continuation of Beatlesque pop (along with just about everything else)? The music definitely skews towards pop; short, catchy songs with lots of "oohs" an "aahs" in the background, but with a heavier drum sound than most pop. Again The Jesus and Mary Chain seems to be an apt comparison.

Who would you compare Best Coast to? Do you like them? Think they're awful? Tell us why in the comments section.

Since most rock bands are better live than on record, I think this has the potential to be a really rockin' show. There is a lot of good guitar on "Crazy For You" and I'd much rather hear some noise than somebody singing about their baby!

Best Coast plays The Casbah in Little Italy this Wednesday.

Video

Best Coast Video for "When I'm With You"

Above: The music video for Best Coast's "When I'm With You," directed by Pete Ohs.

Comments

Avatar for user 'John Gamboa'

John Gamboa | November 8, 2010 at 9:13 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

To start off, I find it near impossible describe Best Coast without even mentioning its musical sibling, WAVVES. Even from what I’ve read, Bethany is actually dating WAVVES frontman Nathan Williams. So for me, these two bands are irrevocably linked into this new California sound; the LA Times even reviewed their albums together.

While Best Coast’s connections to Jesus and Mary Chain are undeniable, Best Coast/WAVVES represents a reimagining of the Southern California boardwalk-faring, polka dot-bikini’d mystique of yesteryear.

I would say that WAVVES’ album “King of the Beach” has a lot more irony in its lyrics and a streamlined skate-punk-turned-surf sound, but it still complements to Best Coast in creating essential boombox beach music.

For this former San Diego resident (and now East Asia expatriate), these two bands are as close to the perceived image of California as they come. The albums feel like summer much like the way Link Wray and the Ventures did 40 years ago.

Going back to Best Coast specifically, I would have to contend that the echo and reverb are less like the Ronettes and more like Dick Dale. Just by the facts that it sounds old and has a woman singing doesn’t equate to Motown pop/soul. Someone has to mention Bobb Bruno, the band’s guitarist, who was even featured in the music video posted above, as an important in crafting the band’s sound.

Identity aside, I feel that Best Coast’s album is not perfect. It was a fantastic catchy album for the summer, but I already know I won’t be listening to it when winter starts. It wouldn’t feel right. Truly great albums don’t need to worry about that.

All in all, Best Coast is a fun, poppy new age surf/garage rock, and that’s about it. That’s not to say it won’t be a great show.

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Avatar for user 'Angela Carone'

Angela Carone, KPBS Staff | November 9, 2010 at 8:49 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

Great comment - thanks, John. I love how certain albums only feel right at certain times of the year - or on certain occasions. I have a whole slew of artists that I love to listen on road trips.

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Avatar for user 'Davewalters'

Davewalters | November 10, 2010 at 7:29 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for the comment John. Have not heard WAVVES, heard of them though. Did not hear Dick Dale in there nor the surf connection. With my iPod there is no such thing as a summer album, if it comes up on the Rock shuffle, it comes up.

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