Fucking Best Coast. First, they destroyed the venerable reputation of the state of California — thanks to their two LPs, it’s hard not to view the Golden State as a region of drooling, boyfriend-obsessed, cow-eyed imbeciles. Then, they developed an Urban Outfitters line, a feat that threatened the very sanctity of the Ray-Ban Wayfarer. But Best Coast’s most audacious feat? They nearly destroyed beach pop, the breezy, impossible-to-hate genre that’s populated summer soundtracks since, well, summer was invented. It makes you want to grab Bethany Cosentino by her fake-tanned shoulders and shake her till her Navajo-print headband falls off, yelling, “THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!”
Thanks to Best Coast — and their ubiquity on summer airwaves — the end felt nigh. The only escape, it seemed, was barricading myself in my shit-stained basement bachelor, masturbating furiously to Wolfbrigade while smashing an extra-large pizza into my face. But then, Cold Warps happened. Hailing from Halifax — yo, Bethany, the Northern Atlantic is the real best coast — this is beach music as it should be played: It’s gritty and mid-fi, but performed without an ounce of sloppiness. Its swooning melodies are pure, uncut sugar (a fact more pronounced on Cold Warps’ previous release, 2010’s Endless Bummer, which is impossible to scrub from your consciousness). And it’s self-consciously stupid, which is different than just plain stupid — like Best Coast.
Then, Slimer throws even more curveballs. A-sider “Slimer” gets all weirdo and stalker-y, pairing a jittery, treble-heavy guitar lead with a propelling, tom-heavy verses — it’s charmingly catchy until Cold Warps declare “I’m hiding in your home.” Then “Dream Creepin’” displays a similar dichotomy, pairing straight-laced, American pop-punk with more deranged lyrics — it is, purportedly, about watching people while they slumber. (Bonus creep-out points: A Halifax sleep watcher was at large for a decade.) Call it the dark side of beach pop’s tan lines. Or the gnarly junk hidden under the band members’ swim trunks. Either way, thank you, Cold Warps, for redeeming the beach.