Dwyer's friend was exaggerating or perhaps confused: Best Coast isn't
actually the number one record in America, though it did debut at #36
and hit #10 on digital downloads. Putting aside the fact that these
days that translates to a meager 10,000 hard copies sold, we
still think that for us music people outside the industry machine, it's cause for celebration.
No need to ruminate hard on the how's and why's of Dwyer's bubbling
Facebook bummerism directed at the indie darling of So-Cal, though
it's pretty easy to imagine why a road warrior would hate a blogosphere
prom queen stealing any west coast wind. Indeed, if there's room for virtuosity in garage rock, Dwyer's band's got it, so it'd also be a cinch to draw a line in the sand, throning Thee Oh Sees as the old-guard real-life carriers of the independent-as-fuck meaning of life, and tossing the newbies on the other side for the mainstream wolves to feed on.
As Dwyer put it in an interview with us, he's “living a poor man’s dream,” touring constantly and living cheap in San Francisco the rest of the time. On the other side of the line, there's Nathan Williams and Best Coast, the latest princesses of what some people still need to call “indie” but is actually the half-decade old phenomenon in which a “band” makes it big not by touring but by killing the hype machine without an album to speak of. And as we've said before, if the natural progression of this kind of recognition is mainstream, wouldn't that be better than “California Gurls”?
Regardless of the fact that few knew Bethany Cosentino's Best Coast a year ago,* isn't there some kind of pleasure in reading cheesy Billboard articles that breathlessly mumble the phrase “lo-fi”, if for no other reason than it will teach some kids out there that there's someone slightly more human repping LA under Kate Perry's glossy sheen?
Maybe not. Fuck the mainstream, sure, but then let's not forget: Billboard is meaningless! Units sold no longer reflect the actual weight of a given music artist in America. Bummerism at the Billboard success of a newbie is an old guard concern that's no longer as relevant, as, say, the fact that a whole era of free exchange could be overturned in the next few years by the rise of tiered internet use and kids hooked to iPhone apps. That's another talk. Maybe next week.
*Pretty much no one. We were “vibing”, even back in the Oughts.