The Beths

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they're pretty new to me and just released their debut on carpark records, future me hates me, but i can't help but think they'll blow up at some point soon. they had the benefit of a pitchfork plug (that's where i first read about them). RIYL alvvays. the alvvays feel is always there because both bands are very skilled and concise in their playing with frontwomen that churn out hook after hook in their melodies. at other times the production and composition remind me a bit of the weezer blue album. i guess they're all jazz school friends in new zealand. on the alvvays thread i described them as "tightly composed hook-filled upbeat", and i still think that's right.

it makes me shake my fist to think that old turds like the foo fighters are STILL like the flagship main rock band or whatever (and U2?) when there are albums like this out there, which is kind of ironic because parts of the beths record remind me of the colour and the shape. but these songs are poppy as hell. almost half of the album (great no one, future me hates me, not running, little death, happy unhappy) could plausibly be a pop smash in any world containing justice. the chorus of the title track is always in my head. almost every song has a sequence that is just relentlessly catchy.

even with the songs that i don't like as much, i could imagine that the things that i don't like about them would really appeal to a lot of other people. for example, the enthusiastically positive backup vocals in "whatever" completely ruin the song for me. take them out, and it would sound like a really good posies song, i think. but that positivity would also make it a hit car commercial song or whatever. similarly, although i think the entire vocal approach (also backup heavy) on the closing "less than thou" is not good and doesn't really keep up with the more aggressive pace of the music, it also is reminiscent of fleetwood mac for some reason and i won't rule out coming around to it at some point.

i'm focusing too much on the songs i don't like as much, but the highlights of the album are constantly stuck in my head. i've shared their music with a few friends and they've had the same experience. only $14.99. buy now! (i don't know how much it costs)

it's hard to get my ass out of the house on most days but i would logroll my way to see them if they pass through here

Karl Malone, Friday, 31 August 2018 22:14 (four years ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQYhM48H5zs

Karl Malone, Friday, 31 August 2018 22:25 (four years ago) link

Yeah, this album feels like an instant classic. There's a lot of things to love here, but I think it really comes down to the harmonies/backing vocals which are just incredible. I really hope people get behind them.

kitchen person, Saturday, 1 September 2018 02:45 (four years ago) link

They remind me of Charli Bliss

nostormo, Saturday, 1 September 2018 16:42 (four years ago) link

Pfork compared them to the Courtneys (which is what brought me to the album), but that was a misdirect IMO.

stan in the place where you work (morrisp), Saturday, 1 September 2018 16:51 (four years ago) link

I haven't bought it yet but, as I said on the Alvvays thread, I find it really enjoyable. The vocals are v pleasant.

The inexorable rise of identity condiments (Sund4r), Saturday, 1 September 2018 17:05 (four years ago) link

They remind me of Charli Bliss

― nostormo

Yeah, I mentioned they could be this year's Charly Bliss on another thread. I also think there are moments that are a bit Courtney Barnett.

kitchen person, Saturday, 1 September 2018 18:39 (four years ago) link

yeah this is great, one of those albums that isn't doing anything new but just has great songs and an infectious quality

The Desus & Mero Chain (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, 1 September 2018 21:09 (four years ago) link

I would like to defend the backing vox on "Whatever." I think they rule.

wayne trotsky (Simon H.), Sunday, 2 September 2018 05:06 (four years ago) link

Also, "Not Running" is, despite its name, a fantastic song to run to.

wayne trotsky (Simon H.), Sunday, 2 September 2018 05:06 (four years ago) link

Little Death is incredible

the EP preceding the album is excellent, too, in case anyone missed it

alpine static, Sunday, 2 September 2018 17:45 (four years ago) link

a little more jangle-y than charly bliss but the comparison definitely makes sense. this is about as good as this sort of music gets, i love it. every track is so densely packed with hooks

ufo, Monday, 3 September 2018 04:51 (four years ago) link

i see that they are playing at yah yahs this saturday night for $10!

monotony, Monday, 3 September 2018 06:17 (four years ago) link

when can we poll this album

alpine static, Tuesday, 4 September 2018 18:19 (four years ago) link

this album is awesome btw, kitchen person otm about the harmonies

guardians of the gums: i am tooth (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 4 September 2018 18:26 (four years ago) link

Little Death is incredible

― alpine static, Sunday, September 2, 2018 10:45 AM (three days ago)

addendum: Not Running -> Little Death -> Happy Unhappy is absolutely mind-melting.

this album is my new obsession

alpine static, Wednesday, 5 September 2018 21:18 (four years ago) link

Great album!

DJI, Thursday, 6 September 2018 00:09 (four years ago) link

addendum: Not Running -> Little Death -> Happy Unhappy is absolutely mind-melting.

― alpine static

Totally agree. The first few songs are great, but this run is when the album goes to the next level.

Album of the year for me now.

kitchen person, Thursday, 6 September 2018 02:47 (four years ago) link

i love that sequence too

it's really only "you wouldn't like me" that interrupts the flow of the first 7 songs, but otherwise it's just one great song after another

Karl Malone, Thursday, 6 September 2018 02:51 (four years ago) link

Not totally similar but close enough that I would suggest that if you like this record you should check out the Luby Sparks record.

DJI, Thursday, 6 September 2018 03:45 (four years ago) link

Reading this thread I had a feeling I'd love this band (probably because anything compared to Charly Bliss immediately catches my eye), and yup, I love it a ton. From front to back, great record. It's not as good as Guppy, but it does offer similar pop punk-styled thrills. Personally, it's all about the opening of Great No One for me. I just remember hearing that guitar riff and vocal melody and thinking to myself "shit, I'm doomed to listen to this record every day for the rest of the month, aren't i?"

The harmonies on Whatever are fine imo, but the "whoa-a-oh-a-oh" and "oo-OO-oo-OO-ooooo" harmonies on Happy Unhappy and Uptown Girl, respectively, don't sound very good? They're just way too cutesy and on-the-nose for me. Which is a shame because they're excellent songs otherwise.

josh az (2011nostalgia), Thursday, 6 September 2018 03:53 (four years ago) link

but yeah, this is definitely making my top 10 in the ilx 77 poll

josh az (2011nostalgia), Thursday, 6 September 2018 03:54 (four years ago) link

this is pretty nice but I don't hear the Charly Bliss comparison at all, the energy levels are totally different

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Thursday, 6 September 2018 03:55 (four years ago) link

Yeah, I can’t figure out what I think of the harmonies. On some songs I think they’re fine and on others I just want them to go away. I think I just get fatigued with them after a while, so my tolerance for them depends on whether or not I’m skipping around or listening to the album all the way through.

I woke up with the chorus of the title track in my head several days in a row last week. Very catchy song but kind of becoming a living nightmare. You’re killing me, Beths!

Karl Malone, Thursday, 6 September 2018 03:57 (four years ago) link

there's a dry boredom conveyed by liz stokes' singing that i think contrasts quite strongly with the singer of charly bliss, who i think doesn't sound that different to carly rae jepsen at her most saccharine.

monotony, Thursday, 6 September 2018 04:07 (four years ago) link

this is pretty nice but I don't hear the Charly Bliss comparison at all, the energy levels are totally different

That's my impression too. I said something similar in another thread, but Charly Bliss is an uninhibited joy bomb while The Beths feel a bit more studied and controlled—not bad qualities, but very much not what Charly Bliss is doing.

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 6 September 2018 04:09 (four years ago) link

closer cousins for me are the aforementioned Alvvays, Best Coast, or even Standard Fare. anyway this is a great record!

monotony, Thursday, 6 September 2018 04:10 (four years ago) link

^ yep

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 6 September 2018 04:11 (four years ago) link

they both have a power pop sound reminiscent of the blue album but better, though they go in different directions with it

ufo, Thursday, 6 September 2018 04:19 (four years ago) link

What part of what Beths song sounds like Weezer??

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 6 September 2018 04:35 (four years ago) link

while we're throwing out people we hear I mostly hear Tuscadero

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Thursday, 6 September 2018 04:41 (four years ago) link

What part of what Beths song sounds like Weezer??

― Johnny Fever

The chorus of River Run Lvl 1 is probably the closest they come to Weezer.

kitchen person, Thursday, 6 September 2018 05:16 (four years ago) link

i didn't really get the Charly Bliss comparison either, other than they're both pop-rock bands. vocals are far too different.

i can't quite nail down who i think they sound like except it's hard to get away from Courtney Barnett because of the accents.

alpine static, Thursday, 6 September 2018 06:16 (four years ago) link

this is really so excellent

The Desus & Mero Chain (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 6 September 2018 16:11 (four years ago) link

man this rules

call all destroyer, Thursday, 6 September 2018 23:08 (four years ago) link

wow, they're playing a *tiny* room near where some of my friends live in oct. i think i will go.

call all destroyer, Thursday, 6 September 2018 23:11 (four years ago) link

Little Death is perfect.
I wish the rest of the album was more edgy and little less power ppp like this track.

nostormo, Friday, 7 September 2018 11:39 (four years ago) link

What part of what Beths song sounds like Weezer??

I am surprised about this question. The Weezer blue album vibe is all over this album. When Little Death gets going when the guitars kick in how can you not hear the innocent, energetic power pop of Weezer? The same goes for the first song. Even the way she sings, her vocal line in Great No One reminds me of River Cuomo. Future Me Hates Me also has got the Weezer feel when the guitar accelerates. It is probably a little simplified but in a way The Beths are like Weezer reborn 24 years later on the other side of the planet with a female singer. Whenever a song gets louder the guitar sounds like Weezer.

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Friday, 7 September 2018 20:21 (four years ago) link

This album reminds me of a lot of 90's power-pop that I had forgotten about, but loved dearly at the time: Velocity Girl, Jason Faulkner, Brendan Benson.

Thanks, Karl, for the heads-up on this band (I saw your post about them on the alvvays thread). They're playing a tiny room in my town too... either they booked this tour before they had any sort of traction at all, or no one besides the people on this thread are listening to them.

enochroot, Sunday, 9 September 2018 12:43 (four years ago) link

Also, this is totally OTM:


The harmonies on Whatever are fine imo, but the "whoa-a-oh-a-oh" and "oo-OO-oo-OO-ooooo" harmonies on Happy Unhappy and Uptown Girl, respectively, don't sound very good? They're just way too cutesy and on-the-nose for me. Which is a shame because they're excellent songs otherwise.

― josh az (2011nostalgia), Wednesday, September 5, 2018 11:53 PM

(i still love the album though)

enochroot, Sunday, 9 September 2018 12:45 (four years ago) link

i thought of That Dog and went and reminded myself of Totally Crushed Out ... close-ish, not quite right, but my next step was going to be Velocity Girl

alpine static, Sunday, 9 September 2018 14:58 (four years ago) link

I'm not invested enough in this band to play a long game of spot the inspiration, but if you're listening to "Little Death" and the strongest comparison you can make is Weezer, then that's what you *want to* be hearing. It's not there.

Johnny Fever, Sunday, 9 September 2018 15:06 (four years ago) link

The chorus of River Run Lvl 1 is probably the closest they come to Weezer.

This checks out.

Johnny Fever, Sunday, 9 September 2018 15:10 (four years ago) link

is the inspection over

Karl Malone, Sunday, 9 September 2018 16:06 (four years ago) link

xposts enochroot

jealous of the small room opportunity! they played a relatively small venue here (empty bottle) but it was just before i started listening to them.

Karl Malone, Sunday, 9 September 2018 16:09 (four years ago) link

but if you're listening to "Little Death" and the strongest comparison you can make is Weezer, then that's what you *want to* be hearing. It's not there.

Let's get the semantics right here. If you do not hear it, it doesn't mean it's not there. Karl hears Weezer in this, the first band my girl-friend came up with was Weezer when she listened to The Beths the first time and I had exactly the same reaction. Again the power dynamics e.g. in "Little Death" and "My Name Is Jonas" are very similar, a slow acoustic tuneful guitar start and then a heavier, louder and faster guitar part which makes the song explode. Vaguely spoken these two songs kick ass like the few good power pop songs do. Btw I like both Weezer and The Beths quite a lot.

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Monday, 10 September 2018 05:11 (four years ago) link

This always happens me when I try to point out to my wife people who look like other people: she never sees it, because I think she's expecting to see an exact clone, rather than a few shared characteristics.
A band's output is similarly complex, nuanced, and unique, so seeing the similarities really depends on how much you're willing to squint and ignore the details.

btw, i'm rapidly zero-ing in on "Not Running" as my favorite track on the album.

enochroot, Monday, 10 September 2018 15:16 (four years ago) link

for what it's worth they do say they were going for weezer

https://www.undertheradar.co.nz/news/14777/Interview-The-Beths-Talk-About-Their-Debut-Album-Future-Me-Hates-Me.utr

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Monday, 10 September 2018 15:53 (four years ago) link

that’s just what they *want* to be hearing

flopson, Monday, 10 September 2018 16:43 (four years ago) link

This was a weird thread detour. If other people hear it and the band says they intended it, fine. They're doing a Weezer thing.

I still barely hear it, but also I'm not deeply taken with this album anyway (it's fine). Enjoy!

Johnny Fever, Monday, 10 September 2018 16:46 (four years ago) link

The chorus vocals in Best Left are very Trail Of Dead if anything, which I approve of

imago, Friday, 16 September 2022 21:05 (two weeks ago) link

(obviously TOD are informed by religious upbringings so Christian rock is probably a mixed-feelings touchstone - whether it is here too I have no idea)

imago, Friday, 16 September 2022 21:06 (two weeks ago) link

Those choruses remind me a little of one of my favorite early-2010s bands, which I think no one else here likes (but I wish they did!):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpTaMrFEpBE

Obviously Five Beliebers (morrisp), Friday, 16 September 2022 21:18 (two weeks ago) link

the title track and "2am" are wonderful. I was always meh on this band but those tracks are pretty undeniable imo

gman59, Friday, 16 September 2022 21:23 (two weeks ago) link

literally everything about your critique smacks of overstatement to me, like your problem is with power pop as a genre or something and not the band itself. they’re clearly better than a high school band

― flamenco drop (BradNelson)

I get that you don't like my rhetorical choices, and that's fine. I did say they sound like quite a good high school band, though! And I agree their musicianship and songwriting are very solid (perhaps not lyrically, but def musically). They just don't seem to have a broad range, like they're stuck listening to the same records they loved since they were 13.

I like me some power pop just fine. One of my favourite Kiwi acts is The Mint Chicks, who wrote some incredible power pop songs with a clear debt to The Buzzcocks (another band I enjoy, along with The Cars, Ramones and others). Is it my favourite genre? No, and mainly because it's fairly limited and thus hard to innovate in. I'm not saying innovation is the be all and end all, but little surprises certainly do help my enjoyment of music. There's not enough little surprises in The Beths to captivate me.

The Ghost Club, Friday, 16 September 2022 22:03 (two weeks ago) link

Silence is Golden is a pretty good tune, I'll admit.

The Ghost Club, Friday, 16 September 2022 22:04 (two weeks ago) link

the idea that a band that has put out tracks like "silence is golden" and "out of sight" is just making passionless paint-by-numbers power pop is ridiculous

of course they're not doing anything particularly new but the sheer craft is on another level compared to most in the genre, even contemporary indie rock more broadly

& do not at all understand where any of the complaints about the vocals are coming from

ufo, Friday, 16 September 2022 23:15 (two weeks ago) link

Good to see some dissenting opinions in a thread that had started to become a bit of an echo chamber for us stans.

I do agree with Brad that a lot of these critiques sound like complaints about the genre as much as complaints this specific band. Power pop isn't really a hotbed of innovation - it definitely places more value of good execution of ideas that have already been done to death. It's comfort food.

enochroot, Saturday, 17 September 2022 00:07 (two weeks ago) link

I have a hard time describing this band to ppl bcz on paper they DO seem sort of paint-by-numbers but there is a je ne sais quoi about them, the harmonies are so perfect, the melodies are so perfect, they make so many smart and efficient decisions in their songwriting and instrument playing. They’re kind of like The New Pornographers where they do something seemingly simple but they do it so fucking well that when you step back and go “wait, surely there are tons of other bands that sound like this but WHO?” you can’t come up with anything bcz no one is doing it nearly as well as they are.

music for A★TEENS’ musicians (Stevie D(eux)), Saturday, 17 September 2022 02:56 (two weeks ago) link

otm damn

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Saturday, 17 September 2022 02:56 (two weeks ago) link

this band is the epitome of a bolt of something indefinable that elevates songs from competent to great

music for A★TEENS’ musicians (Stevie D(eux)), Saturday, 17 September 2022 02:58 (two weeks ago) link

lol just the other day I described this band to a friend with the exact words “new zealand new pornographers”

Clay, Saturday, 17 September 2022 03:14 (two weeks ago) link

I’m not necessarily the world’s biggest New Pornographers fan, but I’ve always thought of their songwriting as fairly sui generis.

Obviously Five Beliebers (morrisp), Saturday, 17 September 2022 03:29 (two weeks ago) link

“2am” really moved me. God damn.

I think what they do that’s hard to define (and maybe I’m still not defining it) is use the most intense sonic dynamics of punk and power pop to build drama. Not just a sense of drama; drama. And it elevates the lyrical content, like how some Motown lyrics might have looked simplistic on paper, but when that sound hits the emotion hits for your whole life (not saying they’re in Motown territory, just an example).

Chris L, Saturday, 17 September 2022 07:11 (two weeks ago) link

To me they're loosely kind of part of the continuum of everything old is new again. My brain immediately also says, hey, there are a million bands like this. And there may be, for all I know, but my brain goes there because I am old and there *did* used to be a million bands like this ... 30 years ago. A lot of the Teenbeat/Simple Machines stuff, some Sarah stuff (maybe like Heavenly), and so on, all the way through, I dunno, stuff like Dressy Bessy or whatever. Same with a band like Beach Bunny, who I also like. Of course, being from New Zealand, the Beths are part of a parallel continuum of all the great guitar pop bands from that country, too.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 17 September 2022 13:01 (two weeks ago) link

they are a phenomenal live band but i forgot my earplugs

ufo, Saturday, 17 September 2022 13:41 (two weeks ago) link

opening act hans pucket, who pearce has produced for, were also excellent

ufo, Saturday, 17 September 2022 13:46 (two weeks ago) link

Well "2am" just ripped my heart out and stomped on it. I'm going through a painful breakup right now, the "hard to let go" kind, and it hits pretty close to dead center. Pretty close.

Kate (rushomancy), Saturday, 17 September 2022 14:16 (two weeks ago) link

Listened to the album 3 or 4 times yesterday, it's a really good album in the sense that almost every song is good and they work together musically and thematically. Stronger links and weaker links, sure, but they're operating at a high level of craft.

a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Saturday, 17 September 2022 14:28 (two weeks ago) link

Stevie Deux otm

i have to say, as a mega-stan, i appreciate where Ghost Club is coming from with the paint-by-numbers, the lack of broad range, the "still listening to the records they loved when they were 13" comments. i don't agree w/ the conclusion, but i can at least see how those could be valid thoughts.

and i also think Stevie hit the nail on the head here: "this band is the epitome of a bolt of something indefinable that elevates songs from competent to great"

last thought: it is *highly* predictable that the backlash would begin now, with this third album coming out and getting significantly more attention. they were still a pretty small band/draw heading into the pandemic and the release of Jump Rope Gazers! they had a whole American tour booked in small rooms that got canceled, and now the venues have at least doubled in size, maybe more.

alpine static, Monday, 19 September 2022 05:41 (two weeks ago) link

the only bad thing about the beths is that second album cover art

LaMDA barry-stanners (||||||||), Monday, 19 September 2022 09:07 (two weeks ago) link

Is there a backlash in real life?

Karl Malone, Monday, 19 September 2022 13:50 (two weeks ago) link

I woke up on a 26th side of the bed yesterday in an attempt to scientifically determine if my bed is a problem, and the album did sound better. I think it’s just really hard music to listen to when you don’t feel great, right now. I feel that way about most of their music and much of pop music in general. I only want to listen to gravel sifting through a long descending tunnel that leads to the bottom of the ocean

Karl Malone, Monday, 19 September 2022 13:53 (two weeks ago) link

If a bunch of people on earth feel that way and there’s a huge backlash against music with properly formed chord progressions, please send them my way. I’m that house that smells like garbage, over there

Karl Malone, Monday, 19 September 2022 13:55 (two weeks ago) link

I only want to listen to gravel sifting through a long descending tunnel that leads to the bottom of the ocean

Try this, KM: https://markmolnar.bandcamp.com/album/mark-molnar-saturns-son

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Monday, 19 September 2022 13:56 (two weeks ago) link

Anyway, after a couple of listens, the album is very good! Good to see them branching out a little within the relatively narrow confines of the genre - more solos, more sonic variety, a little more harmonic complexity (thought I was hearing secondary dominants?).

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Monday, 19 September 2022 13:58 (two weeks ago) link

I'm probably in the minority of really liking the second album cover, and not caring much for the cover of the new one. But that's mostly because I don't really like the choice of having big white text on top of a fairly bright and light looking image, and I don't like the out of focus flowers on top of fish. Whereas I as really like the shade of orange on the second cover.

MarkoP, Monday, 19 September 2022 14:00 (two weeks ago) link

Think this might be their best of the three? Chris L otm with his invocation of "drama": the band is super talented at assembling things in a way that feels exciting.

Looks like this show/tour film wasn't posted yet, it's a nice time:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-JyAYfgC6c

TWELVE Michelob stars?!? (seandalai), Monday, 19 September 2022 14:10 (two weeks ago) link

do sund4r thanking you :D

Karl Malone, Monday, 19 September 2022 14:22 (two weeks ago) link

somehow “xp” was autocorrected to “do”

Karl Malone, Monday, 19 September 2022 14:22 (two weeks ago) link

I agree with Josh that there used to be more bands that give you this same feeling. I think over a long period of time, not just in music but in several of the arts, there's been a turn toward emphasizing self-expression more than craft. That is, people are more interested in getting their ideas out and creating idiosyncratic little objects rather than working in the continuum of a particular genre or tradition. This might just be a consequence of more voices being heard and seeking to break down "traditional" forms of art, or it might be something else. But The Beths seem like a group that's interested in refining the strengths of their particular genre to create an emotional impact, although I don't know whether or not they'd see it that way.

Chris L, Monday, 19 September 2022 15:13 (two weeks ago) link

obvious chord progressions

There's not enough little surprises

thanks for proving to the board you don't have ears

budo jeru, Monday, 19 September 2022 16:07 (two weeks ago) link

There's definitely a type of listener that values innovation, and appreciates bands/albums that expand their horizons ("I don't hear anything I haven't heard before"). And for this type of listener, I can see where The Beths just aren't exciting.

It's a little harder for me to get in the headspace of someone who's repelled simply by a familiar chord progression, but I'm sure that they comprise like 50% of ILM.

enochroot, Monday, 19 September 2022 17:21 (two weeks ago) link

I doubt there's a real life backlash. The backlash around here is pretty much me, and apparently I don't have ears.

I guess you're all wrong about Silence is Golden. I said it's a pretty good tune, so it must be rubbish.

The Ghost Club, Tuesday, 20 September 2022 01:29 (two weeks ago) link

i think it's fine to have preferences. but as Brad alluded to, you felt the need to do a patronizing bit about how this band would be a "good high school band". there's not really a need to present your criticisms as some extension of your superior, more sophisticated musical tastes. if anything, the fact that somebody might call this music "ordinary" speaks to the wizardry of the songwriting and arrangements. to me it also suggests that people who would say that wouldn't have really been listening

budo jeru, Tuesday, 20 September 2022 02:03 (two weeks ago) link

I woke up on a 26th side of the bed yesterday in an attempt to scientifically determine if my bed is a problem, and the album did sound better. I think it’s just really hard music to listen to when you don’t feel great, right now. I feel that way about most of their music and much of pop music in general. I only want to listen to gravel sifting through a long descending tunnel that leads to the bottom of the ocean

― Karl Malone

speaking as a fellow depressed person yeah music doesn't sound as good when i'm depressed

honestly this is the big reason i've only listened to _dots and loops_ all year, i don't _enjoy_ music, i don't enjoy _anything_, the best i can get out of a record is to hear it and say "yes! this is why life is terrible!"

which was why i liked crying when listening to "2am" and why i am listening to saturn's son right now. i am not crying but it is really painful to listen to and i don't think i deserve to listen to music that is any more melodic than this.

Kate (rushomancy), Tuesday, 20 September 2022 02:17 (two weeks ago) link

Xp lol budo, when did I ever claim to have "superior, more sophisticated musical tastes"?! I like some pretty basic, dumb pop music and I'm not at all ashamed to admit it. This isn't a case of rockist v poptimist snobbery.

Look, I don't like The Beths; they don't move me; I don't think they're special; and I find some of their music actively irritating. That doesn't make me a snob, I just have a different take to you. If some of my rehetoric seems hyperbolic, so does some of the praise lavished on The Beths. But you don't see me getting upset at others having different opinions.

My rhetoric was aimed at the band's music. Yours is aimed at me. I find your "you're not really listening" argument insulting and condescending. I have listened, multiple times, because often music I don't get right away grows on me. Not so The Beths. Just because I hear dullness where you hear wizardry, doesn't make my opinions less valid. And it certainly shouldn't be cause for ad hominems.

I'm not judging anyone who loves The Beths, so why are you judging me so harshly for not loving then? And more importantly, why do you even care what I think?!

The Ghost Club, Tuesday, 20 September 2022 04:25 (two weeks ago) link

I'm in the not-getting-really-getting-it camp but it's more just to do with my expectations having read about jazz-schoolers-take-on-power-pop and not really getting that (at least in the way I wanted it). It's not really fair to them, the jazz school background is basically irrelevant (other than that's where they formed?) and to be honest it's probably more impressive that they're not trying to sneak in Coltrane changes or whatever.

I'm somewhat chaotic good, Imago-aligned in tastes but have a big soft spot for a certain type of early-mid-90 bands like That Dog, The Breeders, Apples in Stereo etc. so I'm definitely into the idea of someone Max Tundra-ing that style but I just don't think that's what they're going for and I don't they've ever really sold themselves that way as such.

But yeah, because it *is* quite close to something that would be my thing that the narcissism-of-small-differences gets amplified into full uncanny valley gag-reflex opining of wondering why I don't like them more. So maybe that's what's happening with other people? Otherwise, it's very easy just ignore them like 99% of all other music you're not into?

I do really like a couple of songs off the first album (Future Me Hates Me, Uptown Girl). A Passing Rain is kind of more in that specific niche and - despite it being probably the least-"clever" song - it's probably my favourite one on here.

Basically I'm more of a Whipsmart person rather than Whitechocolatespaceegg one and while they occasionally dip into the former, I think their interests are more in the latter.

What makes The Beths stand out to so many is probably a sophistication, subtlety and taste-level in dealing with the type of material they do - ie. what makes it *special* for fans - that just isn't going to be apparent to those who aren't into it in general.

linee, Tuesday, 20 September 2022 04:35 (two weeks ago) link

i think people took issue with ghost club's critique because it was quite overstated - reading it you'd get the impression they're basically just capable of an ok weezer impression and nothing much more

ufo, Tuesday, 20 September 2022 09:43 (two weeks ago) link

Ufo, I find it interesting how my critique rubbed people the wrong way. I've read much more stinging criticism of bands on ILX, as well as mindless "band X is shit" posts, which have barely raised an eyebrow.

I don't think it was my rhetoric alone. There's something about this band that inspires a defensive loyalty - probably because they operate in a genre that appears essy to dismiss at face value, so any criticism must be met with vigorous defence.

I get it, people are taking the critique personally - as if criticism of The Beths' music amounts to criticism of their tastes, which I didn't intend. I certainly didn't anticipate my original post would cause this reaction. It's actually been pretty cool to see how fiercely protective The Beths' fans are. You have to really earn that kind of loyalty, so more power to them.

The Ghost Club, Tuesday, 20 September 2022 10:19 (two weeks ago) link

I can see where The Ghost Club is coming from and the way it was expressed was fine - frank criticism is better than treating everything cautiously and trying to preserve everyone's sensibilities (you can't).

So, I certainly like the sound and craft of the new album, at worst it's super pleasant. But I must admit their songs have a similar tone and go for similar crescendos and climaxes - and that involves some of the band's strong points (Elizabeth's voice, drums). Like going over a pleasure point over and over until it's unnerving, or like an excess of comfort. Maybe explaining some of the mood resistance to being Beths-uplifted. It does not mean they are ordinary, they're not, but that the effect they are going for is a little too narrowly perfected and can wear out through repetition ?

With that said, I'm fine with light uplifting hum-along punkish twee pop and I am not sure what else I would like them to do. It's a niche. You can always turn to another band that has coined a different tone. Like idk, Wet Leg.

Nabozo, Tuesday, 20 September 2022 10:41 (two weeks ago) link

I will fight and die for The Beths if there's a Wet Leg comparison on the table tbh

imago, Tuesday, 20 September 2022 10:46 (two weeks ago) link

My main points of comparison to establish how good The Beths are would be Camera Obscura and Paramore, but maybe that only makes sense to me.

Nabozo, Tuesday, 20 September 2022 10:50 (two weeks ago) link

I'd say that negative criticism of any music that people are prepared to say they like on ILX has gone a little out of fashion, as people are ultra-keen to not seem like party-pooping dicks. What there is, however, is a disparity in attention paid. The Beths have crossed an unnamed Rubicon and they're now a Discoursed Band, so even if people are daring to criticise them, they're at least talking about them. I wish some of the obscure stuff I listen to gets even a slating on here, but it's tumbleweeds

imago, Tuesday, 20 September 2022 10:52 (two weeks ago) link

Now Wet Leg I do really like! Their songs are good fun, and they don't take themselves too seriously. Shamelessly lifting a Bowie riff was ballsy af. And most importantly, Angelica is a great song.

(The Beths are much better musicians though.)

The Ghost Club, Tuesday, 20 September 2022 10:56 (two weeks ago) link

So far there may be a dividing line here; Wet Leg do little for me and they have at least one song (“Oh No”) that I loathe.

Chris L, Tuesday, 20 September 2022 11:45 (two weeks ago) link

'Shamelessly lifting a Bowie riff' is a great way to summarise the level of art Wet Leg are operating at, and also the panic at having to do a full album after the first single somehow went massive. At least The Beths make music.

imago, Tuesday, 20 September 2022 12:23 (two weeks ago) link

I like the idea of "band that was not even making music somehow goes massive" and that it's imago firing shots at non-music :)

Nabozo, Tuesday, 20 September 2022 12:42 (two weeks ago) link

Preliminary dozen listens to this and it's "Passing Rain" lodged in my head.

Found it interesting that the Pitchfork review compared "Silence is Golden" to Life Without Buildings. I don't hear that, but the Beths are the first "guitar band" to kick me square in the guts this hard since LWB (who i came to very late.. like 2015). The idea of having to think any harder on this band is honestly really intriguing to hear about.

It's not even one of my favourites on the record but who else could pull off "Knees Deep"? Honest question.

maf you one two (maffew12), Tuesday, 27 September 2022 13:32 (one week ago) link

why do new bands want their drums to sound this way? it's a major league bummer for me on lots of new stuff, i still dig this but it really sucks. i guess the strokes are to blame?

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 27 September 2022 13:43 (one week ago) link


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