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

EP: New Pagans – ‘Glacial Erratic’

Filled with urgent, considered, intensely catchy songs that challenge the norms surrounding relationships, history, and gender; New Pagans‘ debut EP Glacial Erratic is a powerful blend of alternative sounds. The Belfast band take the best elements of post-punk, grunge, and indie rock and transform them in to abrasive, yet melodic noise.

Formed of Claire Miskimmin, Cahir O’Doherty, Conor McAuley, and Lyndsey McDougall, the band have cut their teeth playing in different outfits over the years (Girls Names, Rupture Dogs, Fighting With Wire, Jetplane Landing). Together under the New Pagans moniker, they sound louder and more confident, creating a sonic space to explore issues of frustration, defiance, and resolution.

“The demand for perfection is disturbing” sings vocalist Lyndsey on opening track ‘It’s Darker’, with it’s relentless riffs and commanding percussion. The track is based on a real life confrontation Lyndsey had at a party with an aggressive male musician. The song will strike a chord with any woman who has had to defend her right to have her own opinion, and the subsequent anger that comes with feeling humiliated and devalued for it. “Everyone’s looking and I’m upset” she reveals in a moment of raw honesty, working through the unsettling feeling of being challenged in an environment that’s supposed to be fun.

‘Charlie Has The Face Of a Saint’ is informed by conversations overheard on a Belfast bus. Throwaway phrases like “I’m doing my part”, or “You’re easy to have when you’re down on your knees” float above the loud/quiet verse/chorus structure, acting like a stream-of-consciousness narrative. These conflicting voices don’t provide answers, they simply exist in the ether. The spiralling ‘I Could Die’ follows, with its manic riffs and urgent vocals, before the powerful ‘Bloody Soil’ breaks through. It feels like the soundtrack to an uprising, with its intense riffs and chant-able chorus.

‘Admire’ is a humble, shimmering ode to the perseverance that’s needed to keep a long-term relationship going. Proof that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side (even if you’ve daydreamed about it), New Pagans’ treatment of love and its many faults is far more romantic than any Valentine’s card or bouquet. “Let’s preserve our old ways / lets’s preserve them always” Lyndsey sings, as the song builds to a cathartic cacophony of shoegaze noise, removing all sense of doubt about why you chose to stay faithful. It’s a beautifully relatable listen.

Closing track ‘Lily Yeats’ is a tribute to the sister of artists William Butler and Jack Butler Yeats. It smolders with quiet fury, acting as an aural confidence boost to the woman it’s named after, and to all the future Lily Yeats who need help stepping out from their brother’s shadows. “My daughter needs to know that she can do the same” sings Lyndsey, over erratic riffs and pummelling beats, before dual male/female vocals arrive later in the track, driving home the message that it’s everyone’s responsibility to amplify the sound of women’s stories.

New Pagans’ ability to tap into uneasy topics and turn them into empowering, memorable tracks is what makes Glacial Erratic such a an enjoyable and poignant listen. Their confident delivery, genre-blending sounds, and relatable lyrics are well worth your listening time.

New Pagans EP Glacial Erratic is released on 6th March.
Follow the band on Facebook and Spotify for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: New Pagans – ‘Admire’

A humble, shimmering ode to the perseverance that’s needed to keep a long-term relationship going; New Pagans‘ latest single ‘Admire’ is a beautifully relatable listen. The track is lifted from the Belfast-based band’s debut EP, Glacial Erratic, which is set for release on 6th March.

Proof that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side (even if you’ve daydreamed about it), New Pagans’ treatment of love and its many faults is far more romantic than any Valentine’s card or bouquet. Lyndsey McDougall’s lyricism and smooth vocal delivery float above atmospheric guitars, swirling bass lines, and driving percussion. “Let’s preserve our old ways / lets’s preserve them always” she sings, as the song builds to a cathartic cacophony of shoegaze noise, removing all sense of doubt about why you chose to stay faithful.

‘Admire’ follows the band’s previous singles ‘Charlie Has The Face Of A Saint’ and ‘It’s Darker’, all of which are featured on their upcoming EP. They’ll be playing a handful of UK shows in early March (dates below), so make sure you get yourself a live dose of New Pagans’ realistic romanticism. It’s certainly softening our thick skin.

Listen to ‘Admire’ below and follow New Pagans on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

New Pagans’ UK Tour Dates (March 2020)
2nd – Rough Trade, Nottingham
5th – Think Tank, Newcastle
6th – Off The Square, Manchester
7th – The Lounge Archway, London
8th – The Crofters Rights, Bristol

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: Wilsen – ‘Ruiner’

A collection of thoughtful songs that allow space for reflection and growth; Wilsen‘s latest record Ruiner is a deceptively quiet listen. Released via Dalliance Recordings, the album is soft in terms of volume, but lyrically it speaks loudly about overcoming and accepting inherent introversion, and self-doubt.

“Making this record was somewhat of a coming of age process,” guitarist & vocalist Tamsin Wilson explains. “We’re getting older and becoming more deliberate, less precious, less measured, trusting [our] instincts more.” Perhaps it’s this trust that led the band to partner with acclaimed producer Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief, Bon Iver) and mastering engineer Sarah Register (Protomartyr, U.S. Girls) on their new record.

“I can be a ruiner…” confesses Wilson on the album’s eponymous opening track. Written in a moment of “self-sabotage”, her vocals float beautifully over Johnny Simon Jr’s atmospheric, shimmering guitar sounds, belying the negativity that informed the song’s context. The gently tumultuous ‘Align’ follows, with more layered guitar and meandering lyrics about having the guts to go steady with someone.

The catchy refrain and Drew Arndt’s bass lines on ‘Down’ stick in the memory, while the gentle acoustics on ‘Wearing’ compliment Wilson’s lyrics about being worn down (“like a bag stuck in a tree / I’m helplessly clinging on”). ‘YNTOO’ flows in the same vein, before the guitars slowly swell for the final minute of the track.

The brief ‘Birds, Pt.1’ and the thoughtful, extended ‘Birds, Pt.2’ beautifully bookend each other, with the poignant ‘Wedding’ sitting in between. The infectious, full-sounding ‘Feeling Fancy’ celebrates the power of inherent shyness. As Wilson states in the song; “Everybody’s got a story”, and regardless of the volume it’s told at, it deserves to be shared and acknowledged.

The penultimate ‘Fuse’ looks forward with reassuring confidence, leaving you “ready to disco, baby”, whilst closing track ‘Moon’ is the most stripped back on the record. Tentative and delicate, it reiterates the idea that shyness and confidence can exist comfortably side-by-side.

A subtle, but powerful record that speaks to those who are trying to find the balance between being comfortable with themselves, and trying to refrain from being a Ruiner; Wilsen’s latest offering is a poetic, reverb-strewn, dreamy affair.

Listen to Wilsen’s new album Ruiner on Spotify.
Follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: CF Watkins

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: draag – ‘Trauma Kit’

Anxious thoughts melt away in a swirl of hazy guitars and uplifting electronics on ‘Trauma Kit’, the latest single from L.A. indie-shoegaze five-piece draag. Following on from their previous track ‘Ghost Leak’, ‘Trauma Kit’ continues to unravel the tensions that went in to creating the band’s upcoming EP, Clara Luz, which is set for release on 21st February.

Draag was originally a solo project fronted by Adrian Acosta, who was trained as a mariachi singer by his Father. After exploring the worlds of underground punk, no wave, and experimental jazz, Acosta soon met and added Jessica Huang, Nick Kelley, Ray Montes and Shane Graham to draag’s lineup. Together, the five piece create music that’s garnered comparisons to My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth.

The band have shared a dramatic set of visuals to accompany ‘Trauma Kit’, directed by Devonte Johnson, and co-directed by band members Acosta and Huang. They compliment the track’s cinematic, all-encompassing sound.

Having been tested by illness and personal turmoils throughout recording, draag’s new track and the collection of songs on their upcoming EP are about dealing with trauma, and how simultaneously difficult and empowering that can be.

Listen to ‘Trauma Kit’ below, and follow draag on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Photo Credit: Devonte Johnson

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Wilsen – ‘Feeling Fancy’

A shimmering guitar ode to the softly spoken; Brooklyn-based trio Wilsen have shared their latest single ‘Feeling Fancy’. Taken from their upcoming album Ruiner, which is set for release on 21st February via Dalliance Recordings, Wilsen’s new song celebrates introversion and inherent shyness.

“Quietness can be mistaken for insecurity while it’s often the opposite”, explains vocalist and guitarist Tamsin Wilson. “It’s being comfortable in your own presence without needing to be heard at every moment.” Wilson applies this approach to ‘Feeling Fancy’, as her steady vocals float confidently over Johnny Simon Jr. (guitar) and Drew Arndt’s (bass) off kilter riffs.

“Making this record was somewhat of a coming of age process,” Wilson continues. “We’re getting older and becoming more deliberate, less precious, less measured. Overthinking less and trusting instincts more.” Perhaps it’s this trust and refusal to self-sabotage that led the band to partner with acclaimed producer Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief, Bon Iver) and mastering engineer Sarah Register (Protomartyr, U.S. Girls) on the new record.

As Wilson states in the song; “Everybody’s got a story”, and regardless of the volume it’s told at, it deserves to be shared and acknowledged. Watch the video for ‘Feeling Fancy’ below, and follow Wilsen on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Pre-order Wilsen’s new album Ruiner here.

Photo Credit: CF Watkins

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: draag – ‘Ghost Leak’

A hazy ode to feeling inconsequential; L.A, shoegaze outfit draag have crafted a strung out, dreamy soundscape on their latest single ‘Ghost Leak’. The track is lifted from their upcoming EP Clara Luz, which is set for release on 21st February.

draag was originally a solo project, fronted by Adrian Acosta who was trained as a mariachi singer by his Father. After exploring the worlds of underground punk, no wave, and experimental jazz, Acosta soon met and added Jessica Huang, Nick Kelley, Ray Montes and Shane Graham to draag’s lineup. Together, the five piece create music that’s  garnered comparisons to My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth.

Speaking about their latest single, Jessica Huang explains: “‘Ghost Leak’ is the feeling of being completely invisible and inconsequential. It is also a message to someone we lost — to let them know they weren’t invisible.” draag’s new EP has been underscored by personal hardships, illness and isolation, but there’s a sense of hope that filters through their muddy soundscapes, making it easy to escape into their music.

Watch the video for ‘Ghost Leak’ below, and follow draag on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Devonte Johnson

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut