Best Coast — Top 15 Alternative Albums of This Decade
Tue, 16 Jun 2015 08:58:37
We countdown the best alternative albums of the past 10 years and explore the meaning of the genre...
The word "Alternative" has been passed down through multiple generations of music now, and it's continuously changed. In the most classic sense, we think of it as the Generation X grunge forbearers like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, and everybody else from the iconic Seattle scene. At the same time, Pixies were alternative, and they came from Boston—same thing with Jane's Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers, both hailing from Los Angeles. Of course, we can't forget Melvins from Washington even though they sounded different from the general scene associated with their home state. Nowadays, what is alternative? Radio and the industry will tell you it's the folk pop we typically hear on "Alternative" stations. However, where are the guitars?
Truth be told, they haven't gone anywhere. Moreover, there have been some truly monumental "Alternative" albums this past decade—even this year. Most of these will even be widely regarded as classics someday. We wanted to highlight and countdown the Top 15 Alternative Albums of this Decade. They've got the hallmarks of the genre's timeless work, which we all still crank today. Some of these will be from quite recognizable names and others will be from people who still aren't afraid to keep a guitar handy when they're breaking the mold. The point is that Alternative music in the classic sense is stilling being made, and we wanted to spotlight that—even with some gems out this year! As a note, we are counting albums releases since June 2005 to keep in line with the exact decade.
10. Best Coast – California Nights
This generation needed an alternative rock femme fatale. It begged for a girl to take the reins, pick up a guitar, and sing her heart out like life itself depended on it. That brings us to Best Coast frontwoman and guitarist Bethany Cosentino. Along with her cohort Bobb Bruno [lead guitar, bass, drums, production], she makes the kind of sun-kissed yet scorching alternative rock that bleeds emotion and wields unshakable hooks like a guillotine. The group's 2015 offering California Nights is their best, sharpening that sound more than ever.
It takes the darkest nooks and crannies of Southern California and makes them catchy with just the right amount of distortion. "Sleep Won't Ever Come" is a transfixing exploration of insomnia, while "Feeling Ok" merges a distinct and divine hum with a distorted buzz.
Throughout, Best Coast never lose sight of the melody. The tracks themselves could score a David Lynchian noir fantasy or 10 Things I Hate About You just as easily. It's that expanse that makes the band so special and essential. Their shows are quickly becoming the stuff of legend, and they've even been able to hold their own alongside the likes of Metallica at Orion Music + More. Still, California Nights really blasts the doors open for the season of Best Coast and is essential listening. It could very well get the next generation of girls to pick up a guitar, and there'd be nothing better.
See the other artists and albums on our Top 15 Alternative Albums of This Decade feature!
See our interview with Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast!
'California Nights' by Best Coast is available now on Harvest Records.