GEN F: Best Coast

Photographer Beth Rooney
March 06, 2012

Best Coast is every girl’s dream.

It’s an open secret that teenage girls basically run the country. Armed with a lethal combination of surging hormones and disposable incomes, they are the target demographic of ad executives, development heads and senior brand packagers alike. Captains of industry eager to unlock the psyche of this sensitive yet vicious demographic should skip the market-testing and complicated flowcharts and head directly to the as-yet-untitled new record by Los Angeles-–based band Best Coast. Fronted by 23-year-old Bethany Cosentino (a former FADER intern), their songs address the grand themes of (teenage girl) life: love trouble, summertime, smoking weed, wishing your cat could talk. And if thirtysomething dudes and your grandmother happen to vibe on these things too, well hey, jackpot.

“When I was a teenager I was into a lot of female-fronted music, so for me to be a frontwoman in a band and have young girls sing along with the lyrics or approach me after a show feels really good,” says Cosentino, who, along with bandmate Bobb Bruno enjoys hanging at suburban malls during downtime on tour “Last night Bobb got a really crazy cocktail at the Cheesecake Factory called the Flying Gorilla. Her album, recorded and carefully produced this past winter with Lewis Pesacov (of Fool’s Gold and Foreign Born), is a collection of lovesick pop songs drenched in Wall of Sound harmonies, fuzzy guitars and simple, surfy hooks. Entering the studio with a cast of influences in mind—the Strokes, Aretha Franklin’s gospel, Ringo’s early Beatles beats, Lindsay Buckingham’s guitar work—Cosentino and Bruno have slayed a sound that’s cotton candy meets overflowing ashtray.

Despite newfound success, Cosentino is no music-industry neophyte. “My dad is a musician and I grew up in a musical household,” she says. “I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t singing or performing or writing music.” But when major labels started sniffing around while she was still in her teens, Cosentino balked. “Those songs were fueled by a teenage breakup, which is funny because it’s basically the same stuff I write about now. But I was 15 or 16 and all I wanted to do was hang out with my friends. I didn’t want to turn into the next Hilary Duff or some shit,” she says. Instead, she played in the earth-drone noise band Pocahaunted before launching Best Coast.

These days, Cosentino’s psyched about the population of teenagers and young couples singing along in the front row of Best Coast’s sold-out shows. As for the band’s staggering secret formula, “I’m not sugarcoating anything or trying to come up with a metaphor for the way I feel,” she says. “I’m just saying, ‘He doesn’t like me and it bums me out.’” Girls are listening. Marketing execs, are you?

Stream: Best Coast, Crazy For You

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GEN F: Best Coast