Tag Archives: Best Coast

Sound ‘Round: Dum Dum Girls / Beat Coast

Beautiful and sad

Dum Dum Girls – Too True (Sub Pop)

dum dum girls - too trueIn which Kristen Gundred forgoes the weightless mist and go-go girl chic of Only in Dreams, she turns arty and dark in mood, slick and robust in songsmanship and finally delivers the proper Chrissie Hynde impression she’s aimed for since day one. The few naysayers cite the occasional hackneyed verse as empty pretentiousness. For instance: “The void in my head / the whole in my heart / I fill them with things which all fall apart.” Me, I’ll take trite generalities over the empty reference to surrealism and French philosophy in “Rimbaud Eyes” every time. Like most musical utilitarianists, I prefer gut feeling and melodicism over drab art school attitude. And while she occasionally overreaches for the brooding ways of youth, her tunefulness, brevity and pop smarts uplift her neo-gothic theatrics.  GRADE: A-

Key Tracks: “Evil Blooms” / “In the Wake of You” / Cult of Love

Best Coast – Fade Away EP (Jewel City, 2013)

best coast - fade away epSimple lyrics tackling simplified themes of yearning and heartache expressed by big hooks in a warm contralto on top of treble surf guitars. The recipe for Bethany Cosentino’s third release, a seven-song EP, mimics her 2010 debut, a reason I vastly overlooked it. Upon a revisit, however, I was struck by the slight, but significant, sonic maturation. The bass is defined and fleshed out, adding structure and muscle to a once featherweight sound, and the drums snap with a tight rigor to counteract her elongated enunciation. While such improvements are obvious, the subtle guitar leads and sprite piano fills bolster what would otherwise be a self-admitted stoner’s bummer jams. Credit the facelift to producer Wally Cagel who saves his biggest favor for the front woman in question – drawing her brilliant voice out of the murky mix from which it was once caged. Lyrically, it’s her wheelhouse: irreconcilable feelings for boys she loves to hate to love. She’ll always make music like this – sad-eyed surf pop on repeat. There are worse things. GRADE: A-

Key Tracks: This Lonely Morning” / “Who Have I Become?” / “I Don’t Know How