Break from touring leads to breakthrough for Best Coast
On a recent off-day from her current tour, Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino partied like any hedonistic rock and roller would: She took in an evening screening of “Jurassic World” at an outdoor mall in Cleveland.
If CGI dinosaurs aren’t exactly debauched, neither is Cosentino these days. After three albums and six years of steady touring, the 28-year-old indie rocker has learned how to live a balanced life on the road.
“I’m not, like, a party person. I don’t really like going out and doing a ton of crazy stuff,” says Cosentino, on the phone last week from her Boston-bound tour bus. “So to me it’s like, ‘oh, there’s a mall within walking distance? And I can just go walk around and have some food and go see a movie with the dudes in my band?’ That, to me, is entertaining.”
The laid back approach is parallel to Best Coast’s sound, which celebrates and draws from the lazy haze of the California sunshine. The band plays Detroit’s Majestic Theatre on Friday, the group’s first Motor City visit since 2013.
“California Nights,” the group’s third full-length album, was released last month, and is a product of Cosentino reconnecting with her inner homebody.
The album was written while Cosentino was on a break from touring, which allowed her to reflect on where she was and where she was heading.
“I was home for almost a straight year,” says Cosentino, who bought her L.A. home in 2012 but used to only being there for two-week periods in between tours. “I kind of forgot what living a life at home was like. So I decided if I was going to enjoy my time at home like I really wanted to, I needed to figure out what was important to me, what things I didn’t really need anymore, and what things I could grow from and change with. Being at home really allowed me to take a step back and say, ‘Who is the 28-year-old Bethany compared to the 22-year-old Bethany that started this band?’”
Those questions — and some of their answers — can be found on “California Nights.” “What is life, what is love?” Cosentino asks on the driving “So Unaware,” which sounds like a fuzzier take on the Go-Go’s sun-splashed pop rock. Elsewhere, she pops back down from the clouds: “I stay high all the time just to get by,” she sings on the album’s soaring title track.
Cosentino, who formed Best Coast with Bobb Bruno in 2009, says she treats her songs like journal entries she’s sharing with the world. Her fears, her frustrations, her anxieties: “The music is my way of getting through all of it,” she says.
And she’s finally at a point where she can deal with those hurdles while on tour. Best Coast now travels on a bus, a step up from the 12-passenger van the group would cram all its gear inside and lug from city to city in its early days. And Cosentino knows how to take care of herself, tempering her alcohol intake at shows, exercising when she feels antsy, using aroma therapy to calm herself down and watching a steady diet of TV. Lots and lots of TV.
“I had my fair share of being a wild person,” she says, pointing to her early days on tour. “As you get older, most of my friends that I know that are my age are at this point now where they’re all like into drinking wine and watching TV, and that’s very much my state of mind at this point. But I wouldn’t go back and change it. I think that in order to learn, you have to go through those weird phases.”
8 p.m. Friday
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