In 2017, using the phrase “alternative” to describe music is, as best, vague (and at worst, totally useless). Considering that pop has gone alt and alt isn’t even that edgy anymore, alternative has been sandwiched in with “indie” as a catchall for anything that isn’t on the techno or cock rock spectrum. And so when Sirius XM Radio booked their nationwide “Alt Nation’s Advanced Placement” tour, the title inferred that musically, anything goes. White-boy reggae, however, still came as a bit of a shocker when Coast Modern stepped onstage at Brighton Music Hall last night (April 12).
“I’m chilling on the sofa/I don’t wanna yoga/I don’t want to life right now” encapsulates the entire experience rather succinctly on “Guru.”
Coast Modern, despite being a punny play on “post-modern,” has no such academically philosophical connotations. Rather, Coast Modern is “Hollister: The band,” overflowing with allusions to the promised land of California and the bliss of summer and a full rolling tray. With six songs in their catalogue — all released separately as singles over the past two years — there’s little room for repetition, yet all the songs carry the same languid beach-bum mantras. Their newest song, “Pocket Full of No,” doesn’t deviate from their carefree stoner norm.
The band has accrued a dedicated Boston fanbase, perhaps from their buzzy tunes, or perhaps from fetishizing the California lifestyle, something the East Coast can never quite wrap its frostbitten head around. It’s like when your prepubescent 12-year-old self wandered into Hollister in the dead of winter to see the store’s live stream of Huntington Beach and thought, “huh, I wonder what’s it’s like to live in a world without snowpocalypses.”
In the past year, the Los Angeles outfit has been dotting the fine print of festival lineups, and for good reason; They’re the signature party band that knows how to hit the sweet spots of a crowd to warm it up. Admittedly, if audience members aren’t D.R.A.M. fans, they probably can’t tell that the band’s reggae-esque rendition of “Cute” is a cover.
“She’s lighting candles on the mantle/It’s a shrine to my ego,” singer Coleman Trapp boasts on “Comb My Hair,” which he follows up with “swingin’ from vines/Eatin’ lemons and limes” to create the ultimate conceited tropical fantasy.
With lines like “Get my diet up/No more eating bacon,” taking Coast Modern seriously is a bit of a reach, although in their defense, being stoic intellectuals was probably never their intention.