Track Of The Day: Painted Zeros – ‘Break’

“I always felt I loved you more than you returned / a lesson learned” confesses Katie Lau – aka Painted Zeros – on her latest single, ‘Break’. The Brooklyn-based musician & sound engineer blends reverb-strewn guitar with her tentative vocals to communicate the emptiness left behind by a past love.

Lifted from her second album, When You Found Forever, set for release on 29th May via Don Giovanni Records, ‘Break’ is a poignant, bittersweet reflection on the grief caused by a painful breakup. “It’s a little bit about being broken hearted over a girl,” Lau admits, “But it’s more about the interior experience of being hurt — of feeling completely alone in the universe, that state of despair where you feel loveless and abandoned by all earthly and non-earthly things.”

Lau’s lyrics reflect the unfairness of this despair. Her soft vocals make lines like “I always hoped the one day it would be my turn / to give the hate” seem less spiteful, and more painfully honest. Towards the close of the track, when Lau sings the eponymous lyric, there’s a sense of relief and closure, underscored by more of her woozy, spiralling guitar sounds.

‘Break’ is accompanied by a video, shot and directed by Lau. The footage is full of springtime blossoms, birds, and sunshine; providing a bright contrast to the song’s underlying message of sadness, and showing that there’s still life after heartbreak. Watch the video below, and follow Painted Zeros on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: April 2020

We’re living through tense and testing times at the moment, so at GIHE we’re doing everything we can to distract you from the day to day reality of lockdown life. Our April playlist is filled with some electro-pop stunners, a couple of riot grrrl inspired tracks and the occasional tentative lo-fi tune. Take some time to scroll through our track choices below and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of the page.

Kraków Loves Adana – ‘Young Again’
Some seriously lush electro-pop from duo Kraków Loves Adana here. Speaking about the track, Deniz Çiçek explains: “’Young Again’ reminisces about youth and the time when anxiety, overthinking and unhealthy relationships were holding you down. Memories might be dark and painful, but you realize how strong you emerged from the experience – with that bittersweet understanding that you’ll never be young again.” Yearning vocals, vivid synths and an intoxicating rhythm make this track worthy of repeated listens. (Kate Crudgington)

TOPS – ‘Colder & Closer’
An utterly dreamy slice of alt-pop, this new single from Montreal band TOPS is filled with all the swirling synth-laden hooks and whirring electro beats you could ever need. While alluding to the irony of social distancing and physical closeness to others (a particularly poignant theme right now), ‘Colder & Closer’ is a moreish, shimmering delight (Mari Lane)

Belako – ‘The Craft’ 
One of Spain’s fastest-rising bands, Belako have released their new single ‘The Craft’, taken from their first internationally released album Plastic Drama, due out on 8th May via BMG. This track is full of uplifting guitars as it pays homage to their teenage love of the 90s movie of the same name, explaining: “It also feels like the here and now, and it’s now or never. A sorority spell to face adversity head on, and to take fragility as a vital force in new ways to build ourselves up”. A great anthem for our current time. The track is  accompanied by a video which can be watched here. (Tash Walker)

Painted Zeros – ‘Commuter Rage’
Lifted from Painted Zeros’ second album, When You Found Forever (set for release on 29th May via Don Giovanni Records), ‘Commuter Rage’ is the sound of an artist who has had enough of making space for everyone else. “Go read a fucking book / don’t you fucking look at me / to teach you things that you are responsible for learning on your own” Katie Lau sings, with a quiet and relatable anger, over a deceptively sweet melody. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the record, and to play this on my commute once lockdown rules have been lifted. (KC)

Lido Pimienta – ‘Te Queria’
I’m always so impressed with Toronto-based, Colombian-born artist Lido Pimienta’s releases. Her voice is so smooth, her music is uplifting, and the sentiments behind her songs are always empowering. Even though I’m not fluent in Spanish, I can’t resist trying to sing along with her. Pimienta says ‘Te Queria’ is about “moving on from those who won’t appreciate your light, but still can see it enough in you to want to steal it.” I love it, and I can’t wait to hear her new album, Miss Colombia, in full on April 17th. (KC)

Junie & TheHutFriends – ‘Boi Cha Cha’
I think we could all do with a big dose of Junie & TheHutFriends every day right now! ‘Boi Cha Cha’ brings me so much joy. I can’t help but exclaim “what a tune!” every time I hear it. It reminds me of the randomness of tUnE-yArDs, with its layers of beats and snaps and claps. It’s taken from the band’s debut EP, Diary of a Chaotic Neutral. (TW)

NAVA – ‘You’
Milan-via-Iran duo NAVA make mesmerising electronic tunes, and ‘You’ is no exception. They’re set to release a new EP later this year, and (if everything goes back to normal) they’ll be playing their first ever UK show at the Sebright Arms on 8th September. I’ve got my fingers crossed! (KC)

Jessica Winter – ‘Play’
“I’m a fuck up, and I’m okay” admits Jessica Winter in her seductive, sweet voice on this new single. Taken from her debut EP Sad Music, which is set for release later this summer, ‘Play’ accepts that life can be cruel; but there’s always edgy, electro-pop bangers like this to distract us from the pain. (KC)

Julia-Sophie – ‘x0x’
x0x is the first single from new electronic artist Julia-Sophie taken from her forthcoming EP, Y?, due out later this month. Recently supporting GIHE faves Sink Ya Teeth, I am completely mesmerized by the slow and haunting sounds evoked on this single. From the pulsating beats to the whirring synths, building and layering, topped with her questioning vocals, results in an almost painfully blissful experience – I’m completely addicted. I cannot, and don’t want to stop listening. (TW)

Bitch Hunt – ‘Spaceman’
Filled with catchy, scuzzy hooks, a subtle tongue-in-cheek wit and the gritty deadpan vocals of front person Sian, ‘Spaceman’ is an observational and relatable slice of punk-pop. With Bitch Hunt’s trademark impassioned energy and swirling harmonies, it’s a spot-on reflection on the sickening arrogance of all those cis male ‘splainers and ‘spreaders we so often have to endure in our day to day lives. An uplifting raging anthem inspiring us all to take those men down a peg (or four). Watch the new video for ‘Spaceman’ now. (ML)

Vulpynes – ‘I Can’t Sit Still’
Irish duo Vulpynes were due to play for us at The Finsbury last Friday (3rd April), along with Tiger Mimic, Gravey and Boys Of The Hole. It was pretty heartbreaking, but of course necessary, to cancel this one – I was super excited to see their immense raucous energy and soaring gritty power live. But, I’m desperately hoping to reschedule the gig for later in the year, so do keep your eyes peeled! And in the mean time, please stream/download and buy their music. (ML)

Guitar Gabby and The Txlips – ‘The Dead Pool
As scuzzed out riffs blast out alongside Gabriella Logan’s seething growl, ‘The Dead Pool’ is propelled by a grunge-fueled energy, with shades of the likes of Alice In Chains. Oozing a gritty emotion, it’s a ferocious, empowering anthem; a completely necessary angst-driven offering for these strange times. (ML)

Party Fears – ‘All Is Good’
The creator of some of our favourite DIY art-pop tunes over the last few years, ‘All Is Good’ is the latest single from Party Fears (aka Maggie Devlin). Released via Babywoman Records, it’s a tender, lo-fi offering that explores feelings of loss, nostalgia, and emotional endurance. (KC)

Lindsay Munroe – ‘Split’
‘Split’ is the second single taken from Lindsay Munroe’s forthcoming EP Our Heaviness, set for release on May 8th via AWAL – and I’m counting down the days. Of this latest single, Munroe says: “Split’ is one of the rawest songs I have written. I spent my early 20s in conservative religious environments, embedded in black-and-white thinking and beliefs. Increasingly I felt like I had to leave part of myself at the door, painfully unable to be open about my life and choices. ‘Split’ came from an attempt to move beyond the hurt and exhaustion of that situation”. I’m loving what I hear from Munroe so far, reminding me of a mix between Angel Olsen and Mitski. (TW)

Emily Magpie – ‘All Is Silence’
A particularly poignant new creation from GIHE fave, Bristol-based artist Emily Magpie, ‘All Is Silence’ was inspired by reading Margaret Atwood; a spine-tingling reflection on a post-apocalyptic journey. With her trademark twinkling ukulele melodies and her soaring heartfelt vocals, Magpie creates an effervescent slice of dream-pop, offering a sparkling glimmer of hope in dark times. Let’s Talk About The Weather, the upcoming debut album from Emily Magpie, is out now. (ML)

Kathleen Frances – ‘Define’
Hot off the press, ‘Define’ is the debut single from Bristol born artist Kathleen Frances. I was drawn to this song by the strong slow piano chords and the depth of Frances’ vocals. They resonate on a level that brings such gentle emotion and depth to the song. Inspired by the need to question the social constructs of love and romance, it feels rather apt at the moment when we are all looking at redefining every aspect of our lives. (TW)

Jenny Hval – ‘Bonus Material’
Us GIHE grrrls love a bit of Jenny Hval, and this standalone single is no exception. The Norwegian multidisciplinary artist describes ‘Bonus Material’ as “Trash practicing love”, referencing her last album The Practice of Love, released last year via Sacred Bones. Featuring saxophone by Espen Reinertsen, Hval’s sweet vocals float over twinkling synths in this light, “unfinished” offering. (KC)

Track Of The Day: Painted Zeros – ‘Commuter Rage’

“I don’t owe you anything” Painted Zeros‘ Katie Lau firmly states on her latest single ‘Commuter Rage’, a song that tackles the natural resentment towards those who invade your personal space. The Brooklyn-based musician & sound engineer blends elements of shoegaze and indie music with her cool vocals to set the record straight.

Lifted from her second album When You Found Forever, set for release on 29th May via Don Giovanni Records, ‘Commuter Rage’ is the sound of an artist who has had enough of making space for everyone else, and is ready to take it back for herself. “Go read a fucking book / don’t you fucking look at me / to teach you things that you are responsible for learning on your own” Lau sings, with quiet and relatable anger, over a deceptively sweet melody.

Lau is the focus of the visuals that accompany the single, directed by Jess Coles. She explains why she enjoyed working with Coles so much, and how the context of the video is linked to her growth as a musician: “I was excited to work with director Jess Coles for multiple reasons: we are both queer women, and her style of film-making mirrors the way I make music. I write, perform, record, and mix everything myself, and Jess directs, shoots, produces, and edits all of her own work.”

“While discussing video ideas over coffee, I mentioned that I felt like I had been hiding myself in the past;  hiding from taking ownership of Painted Zeros as my solo project, hiding my voice in my last album by burying it in my mixes, and that I didn’t want to hide or allow my art to be dictated by fear anymore. Jess suggested a music video that focused mostly on my face, with me and the sky as characters…I have to confess that a music video where my face is the unflinching focus was not the most comfortable idea for me to wrap my head around, but after working with Jess and seeing the outcome, I’m glad I did.”

“The chorus of ‘Commuter Rage (“I don’t owe you anything”) has become something of a personal mantra, a note-to-self when dealing with people who feel entitled to my time and energy. I wanted to write something that combined the feeling of being pissed off about injustice with a tongue-in-cheek (“be your benevolent overlord”) and ultimately joyous reclamation of my space/emotional boundaries.”

We’ve got all the time in the world for Painted Zeros’ music, and fully support her messages of self-autonomy and overcoming personal fears. Watch the video for ‘Commuter Rage’ below, and follow Painted Zeros on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut