IMAGE: Cali Dewitt
[WALL OF POP] “The West Coast is the best coast!” proclaims born-and-bred Californian Bethany Cosentino. And the 23-year-old means it; she started her latest musical project, appropriately called Best Coast, after a cold, depressing year studying in New York sent her scurrying home to warmer climes with the fresh realization that there is, in fact, no place like home.
“It’s such a stereotypical thing to say, but you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,” Cosentino says via phone from her L.A.-area home on the eve of her first real tour outside her home state. “I didn’t understand the concept of how to dress for that weather. Once, I wore a raincoat, thinking, ‘This will keep me warm.’ And I went outside and I was frozen. My friend was like, ‘You’re out of your mind. That’s not a real coat. You need something that has a lining.’ But I didn’t know that!”
Best Coast, a collaboration between Cosentino and her longtime friend Bobb Bruno (they add a drummer for live appearances), makes music for hazy, stoned afternoons by the ocean. Washed-out, fuzzy guitar-kissed singles like “Sun Was High (So Was I)” and the forthcoming “Something in the Way” are smudged with the Beach Boys’ fingerprints and indebted to Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound. “It’s really funny, though,” Cosentino says. “My whole aesthetic is this ‘beach’ thing, but I don’t go to the beach…. I actually hate the ocean.”
With a full-length debut finally recorded and waiting to be mixed, Best Coast is hitting the road with Vivian Girls, the Brooklyn trio with a similar love of reverb pedals and girl-group melodies whose frontwoman, Cassie Ramone, was Cosentino’s former New York roommate. The bands aren’t just touring together; they’re playing together. Vivian Girls drummer Ali Koehler will pound the skins during Best Coast’s set, and in return Cosentino will join the Girls onstage to play guitar on one of their tracks. Thanks to the warm glow of friendship, sun-loving, self-professed Valley Girl Cosentino isn’t nervous about touring north during what is often one of the coldest month of the year. Besides, she says with a giggle, “I finally figured out what kind of coats to buy.”
SEE IT: Best Coast plays Holocene on Thursday, Feb. 11, with Vivian Girls. The band’s new 7-inch, Something in the Way, is out now.