SM PIER ‚Äî Bobb Bruno remembers coming to Santa Monica with his uncle when he was a kid. They would board a hot, uncomfortable bus at MacArthur Park and ride it to the Santa Monica Pier, where they could walk around, hang out on the beach or hit up the arcade.
“It was a really long bus ride,” Bruno recalled.
When Bruno makes his next visit to the pier, he won‚Äôt have to take the bus unless he‚Äôs looking for a spoonful of painful nostalgia.
Bruno constitutes one half of the hit L.A. band Best Coast, a musical partnership with songstress and guitar-player Bethany Cosentino which will be performing on the pier today.
The pair will be taking the stage alongside the band NO for the last installment of the Twilight Concert Series, free musical shows that span 10 weeks and an eclectic spread of musical genres and styles to the delight of crowds on the pier and sand.
When we caught up with Bruno, he‚Äôd just dared the Swedish meatball-scented maze known as Ikea and a trip to the grocery store to restock his refrigerator after a three-week U.S. tour followed by another seven days country-hopping in Europe.
The band has been promoting its new album, “The Only Place,” which dropped May 15 and includes a song by the same title that‚Äôs all bubblegum melodies about the superiority of Southern California over ‚Ä¶ practically anywhere.
The song, like much of the band‚Äôs music, finds its inspiration in Bruno and Cosentino‚Äôs experiences growing up in Los Angeles and a brief trial separation that led Cosentino running back to the land of flip flops and relaxed attitudes.
As a young rebel, Cosentino ‚Äî who writes the lyrics for all of Best Coast‚Äôs songs ‚Äî fled L.A.‚Äôs imported palm trees for the glamour and sophistication promised by New York. Instead, she was met with cold weather and colder people.
And just try finding good Mexican food.
“It‚Äôs pretty dire out there,” Bruno said.
Bruno and Cosentino recorded their first album, “Crazy for You,” in 2010. Although ultimately successful, they turned it out quickly, and its low-fidelity sound left something to be desired for Bruno, who single-handedly creates and lays down the musical backdrop to Cosentino‚Äôs venturing vocals.
This time around, the pair was joined by star producer Jon Brion and they recorded in the famous Capitol Records studio.
For the most part, the basic process remained the same from the first to the second album. Although Bruno and Cosentino live maybe five minutes from one another, they create their music working on their own respective pieces from home and keeping in touch via the Internet.
Cosentino drafts the basic song form with guitar and vocals and sends it to Bruno, who fleshes it out with drum, bass and other layered instrumentation.
They then meet in the studio with their producer to iron out the kinks and get Brion‚Äôs input.
“It‚Äôs nice to work at your own pace and get time to flesh things out before presenting them,” Bruno said.
When the pair stepped back from the studio, they‚Äôd created “The Only Place.” It‚Äôs more serious than their debut, and throws the spotlight on Cosentino‚Äôs voice in a way that the previous album did not.
Fans that come to the show can expect a heavy dose of both records, Bruno said.
The pair is already talking about their next album, which will emerge as Cosentino continues writing. In the meantime, Bruno plans to focus on the poppy Best Coast project as well as some electronic solo work.
Although Best Coast has been keeping busy up through their Santa Monica concert date, Bruno is looking forward to taking the stage on his home turf.
“I‚Äôm really excited any time we get to play a show around L.A., especially a free one,” Bruno said. “You‚Äôre playing your home, the places you used to go when you‚Äôre a kid, and now you‚Äôre playing a concert there.”