The Beths Future Me Hates Me
The Beths occupy a warm, energetic sonic space between joyful hooks, sun-soaked harmonies, and acerbic lyrics. Their debut album Future Me Hates Me, forthcoming on Carpark Records, delivers an astonishment of roadtrip-ready pleasures, each song hitting your ears with an exhilarating endorphin rush like the first time you heard Slanted and Enchanted or “Cannonball.”
Front and center on these ten infectious tracks is lead singer and primary songwriter Elizabeth Stokes. Stokes has previously worked in other genres within Auckland’s rich and varied music scene, recently playing in a folk outfit, but it was in exploring the angst-ridden sounds of her youth that she found her place. “Fronting this kind of band was a new experience for me,” says Stokes. “I never thought I had the right voice for it.”
From the irresistible title track to future singles “Happy Unhappy” and “You Wouldn’t Like Me,” Stokes commands a vocal range that spans from the brash confidence of Joan Jett to the disarming vulnerability of Jenny Lewis. Further honeying Future Me Hates Me’s dark lyrics that explore complex topics like being newly alone and the self-defeating anticipation of impending regret, ecstatic vocal harmonies bubble up like in the greatest pop and R+B of the ‘60s, while inverting the trope of the “sad dude singer accompanied by a homogenous girl-sound.”
All four members of The Beths studied jazz at university, resulting in a toolkit of deft instrumental chops and tricked-out arrangements that operate on a level rarely found in guitar-pop. Beths guitarist and studio guru Jonathan Pearce (whose other acts as producer include recent Captured Tracks signing Wax Chattels) brings it all home with an approach that’s equal parts seasoned perfectionist and D.I.Y.
“There’s a lot of sad sincerity in the lyrics,” she continues, “that relies on the music having a light heart and sense of humor to keep it from being too earnest.” Channeling their stew of personal-canon heroes while drawing inspiration from contemporaries like Alvvays and Courtney Barnett, The Beths serve up deeply emotional lyrics packaged within heavenly sounds that delight in probing the limits of the pop form. “That’s another New Zealand thing,” Stokes concludes with a laugh. “We’re putting our hearts on our sleeves—and then apologizing for it.” The result is nothing less than one of the standout records of 2018.
The Beths is a band from Auckland, New Zealand composed of vocalist/guitarist Elizabeth Stokes, guitarist Jonathan Pearce, bassist Benjamin Sinclair, and drummer Tristan Deck. Stokes, Pearce, and Sinclair started playing music together when they were in high school, while Deck met them through the local music scene and joined the band in 2019.
The four-piece’s breakout debut Future Me Hates Me was released via Carpark Records in 2018 to international acclaim, hailed by Pitchfork as “one of the most impressive indie-rock debuts of the year.” The next year, The Beths were nominated for five Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards, winning Best Group and Best Alternative Artist. A slew of international touring ensued, with shows supporting Pixies, Death Cab for Cutie and The Breeders; appearances at major international festivals including Primavera Sound, The Great Escape, End of the Road, SXSW, Pickathon and more; and headline tours across North America, the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia. That catapult from working day jobs and playing music in New Zealand into the international spotlight was the catalyst for their second record, Jump Rope Gazers, which chronicles the bizarre leap when touring becomes your full-time job and the unexpected homesickness that comes with success. The record was released in July 2020 to widespread praise, with Rolling Stone calling Jump Rope Gazers “Beatles-level melodic smarts”, The Line of Best Fit naming it an “overwhelmingly thrilling record” and Phoebe Bridgers even told Charli XCX in an interview that “[‘Jump Rope Gazers’] fills me with unbridled joy.“ The album saw The Beths win Album of the Year, Best Group and Best Alternative Artist at New Zealand’s Aotearoa Music Awards later that year.
The Beths spent the rest of 2020 and most of 2021 at home, hosting several live streams for fans and working on new material during the height of the pandemic. They also released Auckland, New Zealand, 2020, the band’s live album and full-length concert film. It was recorded at Auckland Town Hall in November 2020, at a time when New Zealand was one of the few countries where live music was still possible: a small miracle captured on tape and film. In early 2022, The Beths released a standalone single, “A Real Thing,” their first studio release since Jump Rope Gazers.
The Beths’ third and best album, Expert In A Dying Field, will be released on September 16, 2022 via Carpark Records. Its 12 songs explore the same noisy, cerebral indie-rock-meets-power pop of earlier records, but imbued with an electric shock of new confidence: a record meant to be experienced live.
FUTURE ME HATES BULLET POINTS
• North American publicity by Pitch Perfect
• Alt Commercial Radio by ADA
• Limited tangy-yellow colored vinyl
• “Future Me Hates Me,” “Happy Unhappy,” “You Wouldn’t Like Me” music videos in the works
• Select UK/EU May tour dates and North American summer tour dates
• Vinyl includes free digital download
1. Great No One
2. Future Me Hates Me
3. Uptown Girl
4. You Wouldn’t Like Me
5. Not Running
6. Little Death
7. Happy Unhappy
8. River Run: Lvl 1
10. Less Than Thou