It’s kind of like if you took Crazy For You and The Only Place and created a baby out of them — that’s what Fade Away is. It’s not super lo-fi and DIY sounding, but it’s not too produced either.” –Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino
Fade Away, out October 22, the first release on Bethany Cosentino’s Jewel City label, sets Best Coast off on a new burst of independence and creativity, which includes another album they’ll start recording in November for release this Spring.
And it reflects the increased confidence that Cosentino and her bandmate, multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno, gained in the three surreal years since their break-through album Crazy For You. Celebrated as darlings of the lo-fi, it lead to defiantly hi-fi events like performing with childhood idols, Green Day and No Doubt, dueting with Kendrick Lamar and Iggy Pop, having Drew Barrymore direct their Chloe Moretz-starring video, creating a new collection for Urban Outfitters, and working with the widescreen producer Jon Brion, who’s overseen master-pieces by Kanye West and Fiona Apple on an album that made Rolling Stone and Spin Magazine’s Top Albums of 2012. But they’re not about to spend the next six months holed up in a high profile studio like they did for last year’s The Only Place LP.
“When we were making The Only Place I was dealing with all of these personal issues,” says Cosentino. “I was stressed and emotionally worn out, and so tired from touring. I felt like I was losing my mind. That record is very bi-polar and has a lot of weirdness in it. When were making this EP, I was feeling a lot more normal, feeling a lot more like myself. I think what makes this EP sound more confident is that the confidence was actually there. I’m really happy to not be in that weird zone anymore.”
The freedom led Cosentino to a faster-paced, energetic set of songs inspired by Mazzy Star, Patsy Cline, My Bloody Valentine and Ambien. “When I would drive to and from the studio I would listen to My Bloody Valentine. I was really into the new My Bloody Valentine record. I remember thinking, ‘OK, I want to make this record a little bit noisier. I want it to have more. I wanted to use weirder instru-ments, high guitar parts, weird, fuzzy, faded sounded guitar parts, throwing them in and layering things, hence why I named it Fade Away. I was in a zone where everything seemed faded to me.”
Of course the songs would be just demos and skeletons without the essential, encyclopedic contributions of Bobb Bruno. Says Cosentino, “In a weird way, he is almost my producer. He takes my songs, crafts them, and basically finishes them. I create the blueprint and then Bobb builds it. It’s been like that since day one and nothing has changed. People say a lot of the time, ‘Best Coast is Bethany.’ And, granted I am writing the songs. But Best Coast is Bobb and Bethany. It always has been, it always will be. I couldn’t do this without him. It’s this crazy, amazing, intense connection that we have making music. It’s like we developed a secret language that only the two of us understand.” Producing and mixing this time alongside Bethany and Bobb was Wally Gagel, who’s recorded over twenty iTunes Originals sessions, including one with Best Coast back in 2011.
Fade Away benefits from being the first release on Cosentino’s Jewel City label, named after the nickname for the city she grew up in, Glendale. ‘It’s just really fun to be your own boss. I want pursue the label for doing other projects on it. I want to put out some stuff by friends.“
All of which ushers in a new era of confidence, and maybe even some cautious optimism for the future. “Everything in this band has worked out so organically and perfectly that sometimes it scares me that something bad is going to happen. Everything has been so great for us, I don’t even understand why this is happening. I made some songs, I put them up on the internet, and here I am now. I feel like the luckiest person in the world. If I wasn’t doing this, I don’t know what I would be doing.”
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FADE AWAY, song-by-song, in Bethany’s own words:
This Lonely Morning I wrote that song in literally five minutes, sitting in bed one morning, bored. That song kickstarted the writing for this record.
I Wanna Know I was listening to a lot of Blondie, and — it doesn’t sound anything like Blondie — but it was inspired by Blondie, influenced by Blondie: classically, undeniably poppy and catchy. I feel like I didn’t have one of those on the second record.
Who Have I Become I’m obsessed with Clueless, and I was watching the Clueless TV show when it was randomly on TV. I was not the biggest fan of the TV show but the theme song came on, and I was like, “WAIT! This is one of the best theme songs ever!” I went on YouTube, watched the video five times, and was like “I wanna write a song like this!” So that song was inspired by Clueless the TV show’s theme song, and my Dad played the drums.
Fear of My Identity It’s about kind of about freaking out and having an existential crisis. I wrote it one night when I had just taken an Ambien. I take Ambien to sleep and sometimes I stay awake on it, which is like a weird, trippy drug. So I was up one night on Ambien, and recorded that song onto my iPhone. When I woke up the next day I didn’t remember doing it. Ambien is also a mind eraser.
Fade Away The zone that I was in when we were making this EP was that I was kind of feeling like I was fading in and out of life. Being present sometimes, and other times feeling like I was not involved in what was going on: a weird disconnect from a lot of stuff in my life. That song is about being isolated, which is how I feel a lot of the time.
Baby, I’m Crying I wrote that song a long time ago. It was heavily influenced by Mazzy Star. I feel like some of the ballads that we do are straight forwardly beautiful love songs, and I wanted this one to be a little more of a bummer. I’m just trying to bum everybody out all the time!
I Don’t Know How Listening to a lot of Patsy Cline and a lot of Leslie Gore. It starts off with just my voice, and then a guitar, and then another guitar, and then the drums, and it builds and builds and builds.