Although I had heard of Best Coast prior to coming to college, ironically, it wasn’t until I left the west coast that I started to listen to them. Whether it was an actual appreciation for their music or just the nostalgia I felt about my Southern California hometown that piqued my interest, I do not know. Best Coast is technically a duo between lead singer/guitarist Bethany Cosentino and guitarist Bobb Bruno with a few other band members brought in seemingly just for touring. Formed in Los Angeles in 2009, almost every other song they make is an ode to the stereotypical Southern California lifestyle.
At 3pm yesterday, I turned in the final assignment of my college career. Partially to celebrate and partially to distract myself from the terror of facing the adult world, I headed over to Exit/In with my friend Sparling to see Smallpools rock the joint. My sister loves the band and had turned me on to their music, so making her jealous was another great reason to go to the show.
We arrived at 7:30 to find the half-full floor dominated by people without the over-21 hand stamps. Any illusion I had of being able to escape feeling old vanished immediately. Pitying the venue for what promised to be a slow night of alcohol sales, I grabbed a Shiner Bock and snagged a spot in the crowd just behind a couple of girls taking selfies. Naturally, Sparling and I photobombed as many as we could.
If there are two things that we at WRVU care about more than music, they’re chicken wings and tortilla soup. Luckily, the guys in Portugal. The Man feel the same way. The band played a whomping 1-hour mega-medley on alumni lawn this weekend for Rites of Spring, stringing their potent original portfolio together with a series of covers, including but not limited to, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s “Day Man” and Oasis’s “Don’t Look Back in Anger.”
But before he and his band had Vanderbilt students singing about “the fighter of the night-man,” Portugal. The Man’s bassist and founding member, Zach Carothers, joined Heather Jackson, Meredith Mattlin, and myself inside WRVU studios to talk about his rap game, his stance on environmentalism, and most importantly his favorite places to eat.
Here’s an audio clip of our talk with Zach:
Additionally, check out this clip of Portugal. The Man covering “Day Man” as an intro to two of their own songs, “So American” and “People Say.”
Courtney Barnett names her songs things like “Avant Gardener” and calls her backing band “The Courtney Barnetts.” She’s a clever girl. In 2013, her silly word play succeeded in accelerating her soothing, monotone drone of a voice across the twangy landscapes of The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas. The double EP blew up, sending Courtney Barnett and the Courtney Barnetts touring around the world and off towards developing their first true “album.”
Last week Ms. Barnett dropped her grooviest and homiest little track to date, “Depreston,” the second single off her highly anticipated Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. With a guitar tone that sounds borrowed from Mac Demarco’s 2, “Depreston” has Barnett experimenting sonically, and hints that she isn’t going to hold back from treading new ground.
“Depreston” features Barnett telling a story about house hunting in some undistinguished suburb chock-full of low crime-rates and cul-de-sacs, just far enough out the city to “feel depressing.” The tune begins with her trying to convince herself that she needs to grow up and settle down as she weighs the advantage of brewing her own coffee versus buying fancy lattes from baristas. But soon she finds herself standing in an open-house, contemplating the implications of death, grief, and regrowth after discovering the fate of the home’s previous owner. Barnett sings “If you’ve got a spare half a million, you could knock it down and start rebuildin’” until her incredibly Australian drawl submerges itself into the oceanic groove. Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit is due out March 24th on Mom + Pop.