The Beths, "Uptown Girl" (Carpark)
Indie-rock will never die, no matter how strong major-label apathy toward it grows and no matter how dominant hiphop and electronic music's mindshare becomes. Even to someone like me who's grown largely blasé about indie-rock, there's something comforting about the sound of (mostly) white people waxing sensitive, self-deprecating, and conflicted about love, buildings, and food to the accompaniment of fuzzy and/or jangling guitars. It fills me with warmth that at this late date a band on an independent label can still draw a couple hundred people to the Crocodile on a Tuesday night.
Led by singer/guitarist Elizabeth Stokes, New Zealand group the Beths make indie-rock 101, but it's some of the most infectious and tightly constructed indie-rock 101 you can stream on Bandcamp right now. The 10 swift, cuddly, punky tunes on the new Future Me Hates Me album (which Pitchfork called "one of the most impressive indie-rock debuts of the year") instigate instant head-bobbing and toe-tapping, and they'll make you feel 19 years old, no matter how many gray hairs and wrinkles you harbor. You want fizzy, emphatic elixir-of-youth rock? Come get you some Future Me Hates Me.
"Uptown Girl" (blessedly not a Billy Joel cover) strikes me as the obvious standout here, but "Whatever" and "Less Than You" give it a close run. However, "Uptown Girl" has the advantage of getting you to your happy place in about half the time—and of allowing me to slip in a gratuitous Billy Joel diss. Stokes relates a tale of romantic turmoil and the struggle to get over it. The chorus is gleeful, but the sentiment vengeful: "But I will go out tonight/I'm gonna drink the whole town dry/Put poison in my wine/And hope that you're the/One who dies." The music is pure, IDGAF euphoria, though, and Stokes's undulating "oohh"s at the beginning set you up for a pop-punk joyride that the resultant ramalama fulfills. Play this before you go out tonight and feel invincible.
The Beths play Timbre Room tonight with Coach Phillips.