Best Coast (CANCELLED)
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In 2009, I started writing songs, locked in the bedroom of my mom’s house in Burbank, no clue what I was going to do with my life. I had just dropped out of college (not the first time I had dropped out of school) and was living back in my home state of California, with no fucking idea what my life was about to become. Everyday I would write a song or two about the angst, confusion, anxiety, and existential dread I felt as an early 20-something college drop out. I would sit in that little room, on a mattress on the floor, and have what felt to me like a therapy session with my guitar and a notepad. I started sending these songs to my friend Bobb Bruno, who I’d known since I was 17, and he started sprinkling his parts on top of them.
I really wish I could explain Best Coast’s story in a more profound way, but in all honesty, I can’t—because I remember so little of it. Before I knew it, we were a band with a record deal touring the world, playing on late night TV, signing peoples LP sleeves, and doing music videos with Drew Barrymore. The majority of the time that my band was taking off, I was stuck in a dark daze. My romantic relationship was a topic of conversation, my cat was asked about in interviews, my drug and alcohol abuse was on public display. Everyday was like Groundhog’s Day—I was repeating the same self-destructive patterns day in an day out.
We played Lollapooloza in 2011 and I literally started the set by flipping someone off in the crowd and saying, “Fuck you, we’re Best Coast.” I didn’t do that because I was some badass Joan Jett rock star. I did that because I was deeply miserable and deeply insecure about what you thought of me so I wanted you to see me as someone who didn’t give a fuck.
After we finished the album cycle for California Nights, something terrifying happened to me. I felt creatively paralyzed. I couldn’t write music. For the first time in my entire life, I had nothing to say. There was so much bubbling inside of me, so many things happening, so much to process, but I couldn’t get any of it out. I didn’t leave my house. I drank wine alone on my couch. I watched every season of Vanderpump Rules available on Hulu. Trump had won the election. I was miserable and nothing was ever going to change. One day, I locked myself in my closet and I forced myself to write. It was the first time in years I was able to get something out. And out came “Everything Has Changed.” The song was like a vision of life I wished I was living. A life in which things didn’t look so foggy. A life in which I didn’t drink anymore. It wasn’t the life I was living. Not yet. But that song was prophetic. It described the life I would soon be living.
I guess it’s no secret that I was a bit of a “party girl” in the early stages of Best Coast. My life went from college drop-out to Billboard-charting indie musician in a very short period of time. No one teaches you how to handle success or failure. I had zero coping skills. I turned to the only help I could think of, numbing the problems and the pain away. And it worked, until it didn’t. On November 12, 2017, I decided that enough was enough and made the decision to get sober. It’s been hard, it’s been beautiful, it’s been scary—and something I’m proud of. I can’t tell the story of this album without mentioning my sobriety, because it’s a huge part of this story.
Always Tomorrow is the story of where I was and where I am now. As well as the struggles I am still learning to identify and figure out because lets face it, life is fucking hard, and like I said before, there is no guidebook. Some days I wake up and I feel like I’m on top of the world and I forget about everything that’s ever bummed me out, and other days, it all comes flooding back. This album is about leaving the darkness for the light, but still understanding that nothing is ever going to be perfect. It’s an album about attempting to fix your broken patterns and learning to get out of your own way. It’s about burning it all down and starting from scratch even when the idea of that is fucking terrifying. Closing one chapter and moving onto the next even when you have no idea what is on the other side. Acceptance. It’s about taking a gigantic leap of faith.
I hope this record helps people. It’s easier to stay comfortable in the insanity, but for me, there just came a time where I had to get off the ride. I had to look at life and ask, Why am I still doing this? I was writing the same song over and over again: I’m miserable! But I wasn’t doing much to change that. I still fail at times, but I’m less afraid of failing than ever before. This record is the story of a second chance.
Colins Rey Regisford (bass, samples, vocals) - Kaleen Reading (drums, percussion)
Marisa Dabice (guitar, vocals) - Athanasios Paul (guitar, keys)
The third full-length from Mannequin Pussy, Patience is an album fascinated with the physical experience of the body, its songs tracking the movements of mouths and hands and racing hearts, skin and spit and teeth and blood. Deeply attuned to the power of their own physicality, the Philadelphia-based band channels complex emotion in blistering riffs, thrashing rhythms, vocals that feel as immediate and untamed as a gut reaction. But throughout Patience, the Philadelphia-based band contrasts that raw vitality with intricate melodies and finely detailed arrangements, building a strange and potent tension that makes the album all the more cathartic.
The follow-up to Romantic—a 2016 release praised by Pitchfork for “combin[ing] punk, shoegaze, death metal, and more, with the ferocious push-pull energy of a mosh pit”—Patience came to life at Studio 4 in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. In creating the album, Mannequin Pussy worked with producer/engineer Will Yip (Quicksand, The Menzingers), shaping an explosive sound that never overshadows the subtlety of their songwriting. “In the past there’s been a chaotic feeling to the recording process, but working with Will put us in a different headspace,” says Dabice. “It helped us show our progression over the past few years and make a very crisp-sounding record, without losing the dirtiness of what Mannequin Pussy really is.”
Opening with its gloriously frenetic title track, Patience matches Mannequin Pussy’s wild volatility with a narrative voice that’s often painfully vulnerable. On “Drunk II,” for instance, Dabice’s vocals shift from fragile to furious, the track’s stormy guitar work colliding with lyrics capturing the grief of post-breakup inertia. “I wrote that song one night when I was very heartbroken, after I’d been out with friends trying to pretend like I wasn’t feeling so hopeless,” says Dabice. “I went home and just started playing guitar and crying, and stayed up working on that song till about four in the morning.”
On the delicately sprawling “High Horse,” Patience takes on a more restrained tone but still maintains a devastating intensity, with Mannequin Pussy presenting an intimate portrait of an abusive relationship (“Pushing me up against the kitchen sink/I feel your breath on me/I can taste it in my teeth”). Meanwhile, “Who You Are” shifts into a brightly tender mood, assuming a classic-love-song sweetness in its message of self-acceptance. “I turned 30 as we were working on the record, and it changed my whole perspective on my life and relationships and everything,” says Dabice. “‘Who You Are’ came from thinking about what I’d want to say to myself when I was still in my 20s and wasting so much time not believing in myself.”
Elsewhere on Patience, Mannequin Pussy transmit an unstoppable fury: the 39-second “Clams” delivers as a brutal blast of vitriol against those who’ve tried to hold them back, while “F.U.C.A.W.” unfolds in unhinged riffs and relentlessly pounding beats. And on “In Love Again,” the album closes out with a magnificently epic anthem driven by dreamy guitar tones, lilting piano melodies, and a particularly elegant performance from Reading (“I’m really proud of the nuanced drum beat and the percussion odyssey at the end,” she notes. “And yes, there are bongos on the track”). The most undeniably hopeful moment on Patience, “In Love Again” telegraphs utter joy and awe in its heart-on-sleeve lyrics. “I always want our records to end in a place of optimism,” says Dabice. “The songs take you on a journey through all these very toxic emotions and traumatic experiences, but what I’m trying to articulate is that something good can come from getting through all that.”
The push toward transformation has long propelled the songwriting of Mannequin Pussy, who formed as a duo when childhood friends Dabice and Paul reconnected after years apart. At the time, Dabice had recently returned to the East Coast from Colorado in order to help take care of her mother, who’d just suffered a stroke. “It was one of the most trying times of my life, and at some point my mom suggested that I try going to therapy,” Dabice recalls. “But instead I was like, ‘I think I’m just gonna learn to play guitar.’ I didn’t want to talk to anyone; I just wanted to lose myself in the creative process.” Once she and Paul played music together, they discovered a chemistry she now describes as magical. “We created so much in such a short period of time,” Dabice says. “We never even thought of making records or anything—it was just this pure emotional outlet, just us screaming onstage with our guitars.”
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