Southern California surf rock and Montreal shoegaze meet in the Midwest

Courtesy Photo /
Best Coast

Courtesy Photo / Best Coast

Elijah Brumback

It is somewhat of a known rarity for a rather notable indie band to play many gigs in the Midwest, aside from Chicago and occasionally Detroit.

So for Best Coast and Wavves to schedule a stop in Grand Rapids is perhaps a winter miracle. When the New Pornographers were cancelled by Calvin College due to subsequent inquiries as to the nature of the bands name, the Internet buzz charted plenty of news sources and bloggers alike hanging their heads at the fiasco. The backlash once again dragged the region’s religious and political orientation into a traditionally unfavorable limelight, but the concert was saved when a local music joint, The Intersection, picked the band up little more than a month later.

Apparently, at Calvin they’ve learned their lesson and went with a slightly ballsy booking of Best Coast and Wavves. Known for boozy, marijuana-derived lyrical witticisms, the bands cast quite a different message as opposed to the New Pornographers’ hopeful and sentimental overtones.

Best Coast’s debut album “Crazy for You” made several best of list for 2010 by filling an album with 13 pop gems that echo infinite summer vibes and lovelorn melancholy.

“When I was in New York I would walk to the train in the morning through the snow listening to Brian Wilson sing about California, and it made me happy. So I decided that I wanted to make music that reflected that happiness,” said singer and guitarist Bethany Constentino.

Constentino told NPR, “I’m just a true believer in simple, straightforward pop song, and I think there’s nothing more simple or straightforward than saying, ‘When I’m with you, I have fun.’”

Wavves’ third album, King of the Beach was released in August 2010. It garnered praise from media outlets, “Paste Magazine,” “The Onion A.V. Club” and received a 74 out of 100 on Metacritic.

While Constentino and bandmate Bobb Bruno continue to wrap Best Coast’s sound in downhearted daydreaming, Wavves’ sketchy entry in the indie-scape is reflected in their sarcastic, bored with authority, punk attitude.

Past acclaimed singles boast titles such as “Weed Demon,” Post Acid” and “To the Dregs.”

Principal member Nathan Williams stumbled with a public breakdown during the band’s 2009 tour and admitted to being an alcoholic, cancelling the remainder of the tour, though shortly after plans for a new album were released and the band gained balance again, gaining late Jay Retard’s band mates Billy Hayes and Stephen pope.

Wavves, recent twittering has been dolling out praises to past tour venues and comical musings about getting the members of the other bands high.

Opening act No Joy, who Constentino swears by, have also hooked up for this leg of the tour. No Joy is from Montreal and the girl-powered band has gathered a promising early following. Their inaugural album, Ghost Blonde, out on Mexican Summer, the same label as Best Coast, received an 7.7 out of 10 from “Pitchfork.”

Staff writer Martin Douglas wrote of the album, “while Ghost Blonde can feel like it’s keeping the listener at arm’s length, further listens reveal a record full of vibrancy, the kind in which you soon find yourself fully immersed.”

Doors open at 7 p.m. Monday at the Ladies Literary Club on Sheldon Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids. Tickets are $20, $5 with Calvin College student ID.

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