The Beths Jump Rope Gazers
Everything changed for The Beths when they released their debut album, Future Me Hates Me, in 2018. The indie rock band had long been nurtured within Auckland, New Zealand’s tight-knit music scene, working full-time during the day and playing music with friends after hours. Full of uptempo pop rock songs with bright, indelible hooks, the LP garnered them critical acclaim from outlets like Pitchfork and Rolling Stone, and they set out for their first string of shows overseas. They quit their jobs, said goodbye to their hometown, and devoted themselves entirely to performing across North America and Europe. They found themselves playing to crowds of devoted fans and opening for acts like Pixies and Death Cab for Cutie. Almost instantly, The Beths turned from a passion project into a full-time career in music.
Songwriter and lead vocalist Elizabeth Stokes worked on what would become The Beths’ second LP, Jump Rope Gazers, in between these intense periods of touring. Like the group’s earlier music, the album tackles themes of anxiety and self-doubt with effervescent power pop choruses and rousing backup vocals, zeroing in on the communality and catharsis that can come from sharing stressful situations with some of your best friends. Stokes’s writing on Jump Rope Gazers grapples with the uneasy proposition of leaving everything and everyone you know behind on another continent, chasing your dreams while struggling to stay close with loved ones back home.
“If you’re at a certain age, all your friends scatter to the four winds,” Stokes says. “We did the same thing. When you’re home, you miss everybody, and when you’re away, you miss everybody. We were just missing people all the time.”
With songs like the rambunctious “Dying To Believe” and the tender, shoegazey “Out of Sight,” The Beths reckon with the distance that life necessarily drives between people over time. People who love each other inevitably fail each other. “I’m sorry for the way that I can’t hold conversations/They’re such a fragile thing to try to support the weight of,” Stokes sings on “Dying to Believe.” The best way to repair that failure, in The Beths’ view, is with abundant and unconditional love, no matter how far it has to travel. On “Out of Sight,” she pledges devotion to a dearly missed friend: “If your world collapses/I’ll be down in the rubble/I’d build you another,” she sings.
“It was a rough year in general, and I found myself saying the words, ‘wish you were here, wish I was there,’ over and over again,” she says of the time period in which the album was written. Touring far from home, The Beths committed themselves to taking care of each other as they were trying at the same time to take care of friends living thousands of miles away. They encouraged each other to communicate whenever things got hard, and to pay forward acts of kindness whenever they could. That care and attention shines through on Jump Rope Gazers, where the quartet sounds more locked in than ever. Their most emotive and heartfelt work to date, Jump Rope Gazers stares down all the hard parts of living in communion with other people, even at a distance, while celebrating the ferocious joy that makes it all worth it–a sentiment we need now more than ever.
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.
Hi-Res TIFF album art:
Lead Press Photos:
Photo by Mason Fairey:
Photo by Mason Fairey:
Photo by Mason Fairey:
Photo by Amanda Cheng:
Photo by Mason Fairey:
digital album: 677517014358
Jump Rope Gazers:
- North American publicity by Pitch Perfect
- Digital Retail Marketing by Your Army
Commercial Specialty radio by Terrorbird
- Digital playlisting & positioning by Terrorbird
- Alt Commercial Radio by ADA
- Sync licensing by Terrorbird
- Facebook boosted posts and targeted Instagram dark posts throughout campaign
- “Dying To Believe”, “Not Getting Excited”, “Out Of Sight” and “Jump Rope Gazers” music videos in the works
- Planned North American, UK/European, AU/NZ touring throughout 2020
- Press on Tangerine Vinyl, includes free digital download
1. I’m Not Getting Excited
2. Dying to Believe
3. Jump Rope Gazers
5. Do You Want Me Now
6. Out of Sight
7. Don’t Go Away
8. Mars, the God of War
9. You Are a Beam of Light
10. Just Shy of Sure