Review: California Nights by Best Coast

California Nights by Best CoastAt first listen, Best Coast hasn’t changed radically on their third album. California Nights is still all about sunny rhythms and a bit of a lo-fi sensibility… only this time it adds something else. Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno, with the help of Wally Gagel, gave the record more punch: it certainly is more forceful, more confident, more forward. Too bad it’s a bit of a puddle. California Nights suffers from being too powerful: while it all feels great in the opening tracks, you do get exhausted after a while. It also suffers from just not being distinct enough. It’s okay to channel power pop acts of the past; it’s another thing to not really offer anything to make you stick around. Well, there’s Bethany’s vocals, which, as with the band’s other releases, sets the pace and keeps you stuck. But three albums in, Best Coast remains an act that you’d rather shuffle in with other songs. [NB] | 3/5

“I wait for you to stay, but sometimes you just go away.”

“This Lonely Morning” by Best Coast | Of course I’d miss the new EP (or mini-album) (or what the hell do you call these things now?) from Best Coast, but I heard the opening track off it and I like it. I really do. Now, if you think this morning is lonely, then don’t fret. It’s a Monday, and unless you’re electing low-ranking corrupt men to office, today is a holiday. It may not be a holiday today – I was supposed to publish this last week, but Lou Reed passed away and I needed to do something – but it’s a new start, right? Not the Tobias Fünke kind[NB]

“Would you stay if she promised you heaven?”

“Rhiannon” by Bethany Cosentino | So there’s a Fleetwood Mac tribute album coming out. I automatically look for the “Rhiannon” cover and find that Bethany Cosentino is doing it. I then find out that, for some reason, the hipsters have deemed it cool to slate her cover harshly, like she worked with Hitler or something. Sure, it’s not that good a cover – perhaps it’s because of the too-cheerful piano – but it’s not like she slaughtered it or something. (The album version sounds better.) Although, yes, there are better covers of the song. Ahem, another chance to mention Haley Reinhart, ahem…

“It’s time to finish what you began.”

“Let’s Boot and Rally” by Iggy Pop and Bethany Cosentino | I bet Bethany never thought she’d be collaborating with Iggy Pop in a song, but it happened, and this is the result. This song (first premiered on KCRW) will appear on this week’s True Blood, continuing that show’s tradition of raunchy Southern rock on the end credits. (Case in point: the show’s theme song. Well, fine, that always starts the show.) The show’s music supervisor Gary Calamar decided to write a new song from scratch this time, though, because they did not have a song that has the name “Boot and Rally” that fit the show’s ethos. I like the results.