There’s something to be said for a band as self-aware as Best Coast. Frontwoman Bethany Cosentino is confessional both musically and online, detailing the evolution in her and collaborator Bobb Bruno’s recording process as well as eliciting the types of conversational quirks you’d expect from gchatting a good friend. Yes, Best Coast is a product of the internet age, but the type of lo-fi hazy surf tunes they’ve crafted tend to recall a time well before the iMessage.
The Los Angeles outfit readily admits their shortcomings in a way that’s less about highlighting musical dearths and more about exploring the uncharted sonic territories they’ve been eying for years. Sophomore LP The Only Place saw frontwoman Bethany Cosentino and co. retooling their songwriting process without losing the immediacy that made their debut album Crazy For You such a tour de force.
Working alongside the iconic producer Jon Brion, Best Coast refined their sound and picked up a few tricks through Brion’s nuanced mentoring.
“He just kind of let us do our own thing, which was really cool. We don’t like when there are too many cooks in the kitchen so it was really nice that Jon guided us but allowed us to be ourselves and stay true to the way we do things,” Cosentino tells the Appeal.
“There was one song, which later became ‘Why I Cry’ that I had written and I absolutely hated and wanted to scrap, but Jon [Brion] advised me to go back and revise [the song], which is not something I ever do with my songs. I normally just write something and then I’m like, ‘okay, done…’ but Jon helped me see that there is nothing wrong with revising, and I feel like it ended up being one of my favorite songs on the record.”
It’s only fitting that their slightly vintage sound come as a result of Cosentino’s appreciation for iconic artists like Fleetwood Mac and Roy Orbison, the latter she recently paid homage to by covering the quintessential “Crying.” Cosentino regularly toys with covers (many of which will never see the light of day) but what makes “Crying” unique is its special guest, Cosentino’s beloved cat Snacks.
“Snacks is always just walking around the house meowing, so when I was recording that song, he just walked into my room and made his presence known. Since you could hear it on the track, I was like, ‘well, I might as well feature Snacks on this!’” Cosentino explains.
“I am a huge Roy Orbison fan and I had been listening to that song on repeat for a good week or so. I just decided I wanted to do a cover of it and put it up on the internet for the fans to hear.”
Best Coast’s involvement with fans have made them an instant hit both on- and offline and they’re excited to take their show back up the coast to the city by the bay at the Fillmore this Thursday.
SF has been kind to the group, to a point. Cosentino recalls their first foray playing in the city by the bay as a definite marker of their success, opening for Vivian Girls at Bottom of the Hill and still able to draw a considerable crowd.
“It was crazy. I remember so many people showed up early to see us, and we sold so much merch that night and we were like, ‘whoa, is this actually happening to us?’ then I got really bad food poisoning and was sick for like 2 days.”