Music & Nightlife

Best Coast’s Cosentino uses her voice for more than just rock songs

Bobb Bruno and Bethany Cosentino of rock duo Best Coast, which opens for Paramore on Monday night at Ovens Auditorium.
Bobb Bruno and Bethany Cosentino of rock duo Best Coast, which opens for Paramore on Monday night at Ovens Auditorium.

Best Coast frontwoman Bethany Cosentino may make some of the sunniest indie-pop to spring from the Southern California coast since the Beach Boys, but she’s also become one of rock’s more vocal artists when it comes to equality in the industry.

Dreamy odes to her home state (“The Only Place”) and Phil Spector-style ’60s pop (“Boyfriend”) aside, Cosentino – along with artists like Paramore vocalist Hayley Williams, for whom she’ll open Monday at Ovens Auditorium – are part of a new crop of female artists who embrace femininity and feminism.

“It is frustrating to see the way women get criticized for the same thing men do – you see it every day in the world,” says Cosentino, who made headlines last May when she appeared on “The Daily Show” to talk about sexism in the music industry. (She and other women in the industry came forward to support of Dirty Projectors member Amber Coffman, after she alleged that prominent music publicist Heathcliff Berru had sexually harassed her.)

“But there’s a powerful amount of women taking over music right now. Taking over the pop charts. Not just the indie scene. A lot of women are rising to the top. You can turn on an awards show and see women taking over.”

Growing up, Cosentino was listening to bands like Blink-182 and NOFX without much consideration as to why women weren’t well-represented in her favorite pop-punk bands.

“The first band I saw playing the guitar was the Distillers. Through that, I started researching and going to record store and asking what bands have girls in them,” says Cosentino, who took guitar lessons with a group of girlfriends when she was 13.

Now 30, the leader of the duo (which also features Bobb Bruno) is friends and tour mates with 28-year-old Hayley Williams, who formed Paramore with Josh Farro, Zac Farro and Jeremy Davis when she was just 14.

“I think Hayley is such an important, strong figure in music, and as a woman, it’s great to see other females out here,” Cosentino says.

“As much as the world feels like it goes backward sometimes, the amount of women that are out there doing incredible things is a huge bonus. We can stand up and applaud ourselves.”

That doesn’t mean she’s oblivious to what’s been called the war on women in U.S. politics. Best Coast’s last album – “California Nights” – was recorded before the election, and Cosentino’s already thinking about what she has to say on the next record in light of the political climate.

“There was a moment in time where I was like, ‘Oh God, I’m going to have to make a political record.’ I realized I don’t have to,” she says. “Art and music is such a healing thing that people need now more than they have in a really long time. I’m thinking more consciously of what I want to say. It’s also making me rethink the way I’m thinking. There are way bigger problems in the world than me waking up with a panic attack. How can I use my own identity s--- to help other people through this crazy time in America?”

Best Coast

The L.A. duo opens for Paramore, which is fronted by pop-punk/emo spitfire Hayley Williams. Now 28, she and the band have settled into adulthood on the new album, “After Laughter.”

When: 7:30 p.m. Monday.

Where: Ovens Auditorium, 2700 E. Independence Blvd.

Tickets: Sold out (but tickets are available on the secondary market via Ticketmaster).

Details: 1-800-745-3000; www.ticketmaster.com.

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