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Alternative & Indie - Released May 14, 2012 | Wichita Recordings

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For their second album, The Only Place, California duo Best Coast hired Jon Brion as producer. Right away it's clear that the fuzzily lo-fi noise pop sound of their debut, Crazy for You, was a thing of the past, and the band was looking to smooth things out quite noticeably. Hiring Brion to produce a noise pop record is like asking Rothko to paint your mailbox. What he and the band have done is replace the simplistic drone of the distorted guitars with a more layered, much janglier sound, added tons of space to the arrangements, and made sure each song gets the sonic approach it needs instead of the set-it-up-and-record-it style of Crazy. The result is an album that has a classic pop/rock sound that anyone who's heard an R.E.M. or Beach Boys or Springsteen record will instantly identify with and understand. It may disappoint anyone who wanted Crazy for You, Pt. 2, but the band didn't make this record for those people. On a sonic level alone, the record works very well. Bethany Cosentino reliably writes super-catchy melodies and sings them winningly, Bobb Bruno does a fine job filling in the songs with hooky guitar lines, and Brion adds the little touches that have made his name as a producer. The uptempo songs have a light bounce that will have people bopping along, the ballads have fully realized arrangements that sound dreamy as can be, and the whole record has a warmth that was missing from anything the band did before. The problem lies with Cosentino's awful lyrics. What seemed cute and only a little awkward in the past is now extremely clunky and slightly ridiculous. That her lyrics are shallow isn't such a big deal -- it didn't ruin Crazy -- but the real problem is that this time they are gratingly personal to the point of being like diary entries (as on "My Life" with the lines "My mom was right/I don't wanna die/I wanna live my life") or smug (on her title-track ode to California that includes the deathless rhyme "We've got the ocean, we've got the babes/We've got the sun, we've got the waves") or just plain boring and/or embarrassing (most everywhere else). Instead of making Crazy for You, Pt. 2, she's made Crazy for Me, Me, Me. When lyrics are so endlessly, inwardly directed as they are on The Only Place, there needs to be some spark of something interesting cooking in there, or the result will be an album that looks like a delicious cake but tastes like sawdust and chalk when you bite into it. Give the group credit for taking a step forward from Crazy for You: the album sounds great, full of catchy and well-crafted songs. Too bad it all falls apart so drastically when you factor in Cosentino's disastrous lyrics. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 21, 2020 | Concord Records

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On the shoegaze-swirly "I Used to Be," Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino nails the theme of the band's fourth album: "I am not the same girl that I used to be." This is a soundtrack of rebirth, five years after the band's last release and the first since Cosentino got sober. She sounds absolutely joyous about her new life on "For the First Time" and "Everything Has Changed," where Best Coast's other half Bobb Bruno pounds out "I Love Rock 'N' Roll" drums beneath a Muffs-esque melody. Cosentino also sounds bigger and better: a fuller voice complimented with layered harmonies, as on "Different Light," which charges out of the gate with a Go-Go's punch of bright chords and surf punk drums. There's plenty of swooning romance to balance the hard-charging energy — "True" summons up 1950s prom sweetness, and the big guitar licks of "Master of My Own Mind" melt into a dreamy bridge. "I quit drinking so I could stop thinking about all the shit from years ago," Cosentino sings on "Graceless Kids." Sounds like it worked. © Shelly Ridenour / Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 4, 2015 | Harvest Records

Sometimes a band needs to go big or go home. On California Nights, Best Coast go bigger than big and it proves to be exactly the right move. On their previous album, 2013's The Only Place, they made a baby step toward becoming a stadium indie band, but it ended up being more of a misstep. Working with Jon Brion, the duo of Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno cut down on the guitar noise, added some sophistication, and ended up with a tepid album. This time with the help of producer Wally Gagel, they aim for the back row of arenas with a huge sound made up of layers of echoing guitars, drums that boom like cannons, and Cosentino's vocals way out front like they should be. An easy reference point is Hole's Celebrity Skin, when Courtney Love stopped worrying about being real and made a brilliant pop album instead. California Nights is the sound of a band embracing its destiny as a mainstream indie rock band, not a grungy punk duo. It may have worked for them in the past, but becoming a slick, sleek hook-dispensing machine was the only way for them to move ahead. It's true that fans of their early records might find this new approach to be a little too smooth, a little too well-produced, but they aren't trying to make those people happy anymore. They are aiming for fans of bands like Metric and Weezer (or to go back further, Smashing Pumpkins), who play(ed) for the masses, not for bloggers or vinyl fetishists. Most of the album hits a midtempo sweet spot, with the shiny guitars and powerful drums locking together in perfect harmony and Cosentino's more-powerful-than-before vocals sounding great on top. In this new context, her resignedly melancholic, sometimes morose lyrics fit much better; she seems to have smoothed out the rough spots that pretty much ruined The Only Place. This template works really well, but when they deviate from the basics the album really goes in some interesting directions. The title track is anthemic and epic, with Cosentino's soaring vocals and the atmospheric musical backing providing exactly the panoramic setting the song requires. The short and sweet "Fading Fast" is the poppiest song on the record, with handclaps and a super-hooky guitar riff. If it doesn't show up on a commercial at some point, it'll be a shock. The girl group-inspired "Wasted Time," which ends the album on a hazy, bummed-out note, shows that the band can indeed write convincing ballads. They only needed the right sound to make it work. That's the story with the whole album, since Best Coast had seemed to be floundering around trying to figure out their next step. On California Nights, they made a risky choice and it pays off in a big way. They come off assured and confident, fully in control of the songs and the sound in a way they never have before. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 11, 2020 | Concord Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 24, 2015 | Harvest Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 14, 2012 | Wichita Recordings

For their second album, The Only Place, California duo Best Coast hired Jon Brion as producer. Right away it's clear that the fuzzily lo-fi noise pop sound of their debut, Crazy for You, was a thing of the past, and the band was looking to smooth things out quite noticeably. Hiring Brion to produce a noise pop record is like asking Rothko to paint your mailbox. What he and the band have done is replace the simplistic drone of the distorted guitars with a more layered, much janglier sound, added tons of space to the arrangements, and made sure each song gets the sonic approach it needs instead of the set-it-up-and-record-it style of Crazy. The result is an album that has a classic pop/rock sound that anyone who's heard an R.E.M. or Beach Boys or Springsteen record will instantly identify with and understand. It may disappoint anyone who wanted Crazy for You, Pt. 2, but the band didn't make this record for those people. On a sonic level alone, the record works very well. Bethany Cosentino reliably writes super-catchy melodies and sings them winningly, Bobb Bruno does a fine job filling in the songs with hooky guitar lines, and Brion adds the little touches that have made his name as a producer. The uptempo songs have a light bounce that will have people bopping along, the ballads have fully realized arrangements that sound dreamy as can be, and the whole record has a warmth that was missing from anything the band did before. The problem lies with Cosentino's awful lyrics. What seemed cute and only a little awkward in the past is now extremely clunky and slightly ridiculous. That her lyrics are shallow isn't such a big deal -- it didn't ruin Crazy -- but the real problem is that this time they are gratingly personal to the point of being like diary entries (as on "My Life" with the lines "My mom was right/I don't wanna die/I wanna live my life") or smug (on her title-track ode to California that includes the deathless rhyme "We've got the ocean, we've got the babes/We've got the sun, we've got the waves") or just plain boring and/or embarrassing (most everywhere else). Instead of making Crazy for You, Pt. 2, she's made Crazy for Me, Me, Me. When lyrics are so endlessly, inwardly directed as they are on The Only Place, there needs to be some spark of something interesting cooking in there, or the result will be an album that looks like a delicious cake but tastes like sawdust and chalk when you bite into it. Give the group credit for taking a step forward from Crazy for You: the album sounds great, full of catchy and well-crafted songs. Too bad it all falls apart so drastically when you factor in Cosentino's disastrous lyrics. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Ambient/New Age - Released December 13, 2019 | Concord Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 22, 2013 | Jewel City

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 27, 2010 | Wichita Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 25, 2021 | Concord Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 5, 2019 | Concord Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 2, 2010 | Group Tightener

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 21, 2020 | Concord Records

On the shoegaze-swirly "I Used to Be," Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino nails the theme of the band's fourth album: "I am not the same girl that I used to be." This is a soundtrack of rebirth, five years after the band's last release and the first since Cosentino got sober. She sounds absolutely joyous about her new life on "For the First Time" and "Everything Has Changed," where Best Coast's other half Bobb Bruno pounds out "I Love Rock 'N' Roll" drums beneath a Muffs-esque melody. Cosentino also sounds bigger and better: a fuller voice complimented with layered harmonies, as on "Different Light," which charges out of the gate with a Go-Go's punch of bright chords and surf punk drums. There's plenty of swooning romance to balance the hard-charging energy — "True" summons up 1950s prom sweetness, and the big guitar licks of "Master of My Own Mind" melt into a dreamy bridge. "I quit drinking so I could stop thinking about all the shit from years ago," Cosentino sings on "Graceless Kids." Sounds like it worked. © Shelly Ridenour / Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 5, 2020 | Concord Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 14, 2015 | Harvest Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 9, 2010 | Post Present Medium

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 5, 2019 | Concord Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 14, 2012 | Wichita Recordings

For their second album, The Only Place, California duo Best Coast hired Jon Brion as producer. Right away it's clear that the fuzzily lo-fi noise pop sound of their debut, Crazy for You, was a thing of the past, and the band was looking to smooth things out quite noticeably. Hiring Brion to produce a noise pop record is like asking Rothko to paint your mailbox. What he and the band have done is replace the simplistic drone of the distorted guitars with a more layered, much janglier sound, added tons of space to the arrangements, and made sure each song gets the sonic approach it needs instead of the set-it-up-and-record-it style of Crazy. The result is an album that has a classic pop/rock sound that anyone who's heard an R.E.M. or Beach Boys or Springsteen record will instantly identify with and understand. It may disappoint anyone who wanted Crazy for You, Pt. 2, but the band didn't make this record for those people. On a sonic level alone, the record works very well. Bethany Cosentino reliably writes super-catchy melodies and sings them winningly, Bobb Bruno does a fine job filling in the songs with hooky guitar lines, and Brion adds the little touches that have made his name as a producer. The uptempo songs have a light bounce that will have people bopping along, the ballads have fully realized arrangements that sound dreamy as can be, and the whole record has a warmth that was missing from anything the band did before. The problem lies with Cosentino's awful lyrics. What seemed cute and only a little awkward in the past is now extremely clunky and slightly ridiculous. That her lyrics are shallow isn't such a big deal -- it didn't ruin Crazy -- but the real problem is that this time they are gratingly personal to the point of being like diary entries (as on "My Life" with the lines "My mom was right/I don't wanna die/I wanna live my life") or smug (on her title-track ode to California that includes the deathless rhyme "We've got the ocean, we've got the babes/We've got the sun, we've got the waves") or just plain boring and/or embarrassing (most everywhere else). Instead of making Crazy for You, Pt. 2, she's made Crazy for Me, Me, Me. When lyrics are so endlessly, inwardly directed as they are on The Only Place, there needs to be some spark of something interesting cooking in there, or the result will be an album that looks like a delicious cake but tastes like sawdust and chalk when you bite into it. Give the group credit for taking a step forward from Crazy for You: the album sounds great, full of catchy and well-crafted songs. Too bad it all falls apart so drastically when you factor in Cosentino's disastrous lyrics. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 10, 2015 | Harvest Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 17, 2020 | Concord Records