Posts Tagged ‘Auckland New Zealand’

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By all conventional wisdom, The Beths should have arrived in 2018 just to say “hello!” and then never be heard from again. After all, their debut album ‘Future Me Hates Me’ saw the Auckland quartet serve up fuzzy, gently ironic power pop that in lesser hands would be indistinguishable from the garage band next door.

The Beths stood out, however, not just because their songs were catchy as hell but because they were rendered with palpable exuberance. The guitars sounded wonderfully brash, the drums teetered on the edge of chaos and, most notably, chatty vocal harmonies from guitarist Jonathan Pearce kept jolting out of nowhere as if he couldn’t help himself from piping up and sending these songs over the top. The album’s sonic delights were as entrancing as the songs themselves — this was music that dared you not to like it.

The Beths have now returned with ‘Jump Rope Gazers’, a second album that adopts a decidedly different approach: not so much leaping out of their songs as inviting its listener in. The lyrics are denser, the music moodier and every sound is more studied and measured. While ‘Future Me Hates Me’ was a mostly chipper affair — its title track expressing regret and self-loathing through a kind of droll, winking meme-speak. On the title track they veer into full-on balladeering, a direction the first record never even approaches, with the whistle-clean and unabashedly wistful end product sounding like it could be a long-lost Cranberries outtake. With genre, performance and production, the band are trying new things here — and that alone is worth something.

The Beths are: Elizabeth Stokes, Jonathan Pearce, Benjamin Sinclair, Tristan Deck

Jump Rope Gazers” features on The Beths’ sophomore album “Jump Rope Gazers”, out now via Carpark Records.

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Everyone idealises having a crush until you actually get one, and realise that it’s actually pretty exhausting, agonising over what type of text to send and why they haven’t responded and whether it’s correct to be obsessing so much. “Happy Unhappy”, the wonderful new single from Auckland four-piece The Beths, pinpoints this exact feeling of frustration perfectly.

“You’re in my brain taking up space I need for delivering lies and suppressing the sighs”, sings lead singer/guitarist Elizabeth Stokes on the song’s wonderfully acerbic pre-chorus, before pivoting to something altogether much sweeter: “and for navigating escape when I get lost in your eyes, it’s taking up all of my time”. The track deals with this frustrating duality perfectly; it’s nice to care about someone, but it’s a real pain too.

“Happy Unhappy” is another winner from The Beths, after 2016’s excellent EP Warm Blood, and the equally great singles “Great No One” and “Future Me Hates Me”. “Happy Unhappy” is taken from The Beths’ debut album Future Me Hates Me, which is out on August 10th on Carpark Records, and features both “Great No One” and “Future Me Hates Me”. It’s gonna be a good one.

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Auckland-based internet pop star Princess Chelsea (aka Chelsea Nikkel) has returned with a new single ‘I Love My Boyfriend‘, the heartfelt track from her upcoming new album The Loneliest Girl. The gently rocking tune explores the dynamic between love and lust, and is accompanied by a self-directed video featuring a full band of Princess Chelseas floating through the cosmos, one of whom is wearing a tee emblazoned with the logo of Wellington thrashers Stalker. The artist even busts out an emotionally frank rap, which could be interpreted as making fun of the narrator’s own feelings. Don’t get confused with any other Princess Chelseas on the internet, the multi-talented artist generously took time out to dish the dirt on her latest creation…

“Playing bass in Hang Loose made me want to write a song on the bass so this came out. It’s the first song I wrote on the bass and I can tell the difference listening – its simpler somehow which I like.

The drums and guitar I played really badly on it for demo purposes but ended up keeping the takes, as when I asked someone else to play them in them better they were like ‘it already sounds good’. That’s why I thought it was funny to clone myself in the video. Also (I’d) just seen Bladerunner 2049 and was obsessed with the billboards. So I tried to do my Chelsea version of Bladerunner billboards which came out like how it did.”

Princess Chelsea never disappoint me. Her new single is about being in a relationship, and loving someone else, and she does it with sugary sweet vocals and a mix between indie/chamber pop and the 60s girl group style. The video is shot in her bedroom with a green screen, and she has directed and edited it herself.

‘The Loneliest Girl’ is out Friday 7th September via Lil’ Chief Records.

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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.

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“Happy Unhappy” is taken from The Beths‘ forthcoming album, “Future Me Hates Me.”

 

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“Where I’ll Be’ is the debut outing from new dreampop outfit Toledo Springs – who, despite sounding like they might hail from across the pond in the US, are in fact are based in Auckland, New Zealand

It is the lead track from the four-piece, who formed last year, and will appear on their self-titled debut EP out on December 17th. Just shy of five minutes, ‘Where I’ll Be’ is as smooth as a drifting breeze for the first three minutes rolling along on cascading guitars, steady drum beats and Nico Fitzpatrick’s easy vocals; before it then takes on a different complexion to become almost a different track with a two-minute psych-like passage to the close of purely drums, synth and guitar.

“We’ve spent the last five months slowly recording this!” laughs Nico, when we catch up with him. “This track in particular started out as a very rough home demo (almost wrote it just to practice using a particular recording software) which we just ended up developing over time.”

Toledo Springs was formed by Nico and brother Isaac while both visiting family in Australia, Nico reveals. “Both our previous bands had just split up and we wanted to make music together. Josh, our synth guy, learnt piano from my mum who is a piano teacher. I was always impressed with his creativity so asked if he wanted to play in a band. I met Mike through mutual friends at a party and we hit it off immediately.”

What they are not so forthcoming about is their Toledo Springs name and how they came upon it. “The name? Ah, it would be too hard to describe! Let’s just say it was a name we all agreed on…Toledo Springs play an EP launch show on December 18th at The Lucha Lounge, in Auckland.
Toledo Springs are: Nico Fitzpatrick, vocals/guitar; Joshua Nightingale, synth/guitar; Isaac Fitzpatrick, bass; Michael Bullen, drums.