The multi-talented singer-songwriter shares the video for “Commuter Rage,” the searing lead single off her forthcoming album, When You Found Forever.
In 2016, Katie Lau—the multi-talented live sound engineer and singer-songwriter behind the Brooklyn indie-pop act Painted Zeros—needed something to change.
“I had gotten to a place with drinking and using drugs where it was just impossible for me to do anything,” she told AdHoc over the phone, reflecting on a particularly difficult period following the release of her brooding and dreamy debut album, Floriography, in 2015. “I had a few moments in 2016—leading up to 2017—when I fortunately met some people who helped me get sober. It still feels like a fucking miracle every day how different my life is. [Getting sober] honestly is probably the most significant things that I’ve gone through in my life.”
Today Lau shares her first Painted Zeros release since 2016’s Daylily EP—and her first since getting sober. “Commuter Rage” is the searing lead single off her forthcoming sophomore album, When You Found Forever, and it comes with a message for entitled ex-girlfriends and shitty dudes alike: Katie Lau doesn’t owe you anything.
“I wrote ‘Commuter Rage’ out of a place of anger and frustration, of feeling like people and forces in my life felt very entitled to my time—whether it was ex-girlfriends or shitty dudes,” Lau says. “I wanted to write a song that juxtaposed that anger with something happy-sounding. The lyrics [are] a little pissed off [and] a little tongue-in-cheek.”
As it turns out, Lau walks the line between pissed off and tongue-in-cheek very easily. “Commuter Rage” sees the singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist crusading for her own self-empowerment: “I could transform this toxic culture to be your benevolent overlord,” she sings over knotty, screaming guitar riffs. “I’d take over this shitty world and be your benevolent overlord.”
The video for “Commuter Rage”—which is debuting today on AdHoc—was directed by Jess Coles, a friend of Lau’s who shares her DIY approach to artmaking.
“Painted Zeros has always been the moniker for my recording project,” Lau says of her decision to work with Cole. “I get my good friends to play the songs with me live. And the way Jess approaches her art is also super DIY. She conceived of the video idea and shot it herself and made it happen. It felt right for us [to collaborate]—two women artists who have similar processes. She had the idea of [the video] being mostly just my face, which was so unappealing to me at first. But [then] I was like, ‘You know what? Fuck it. No more fear. It’s 2020. I’m just going to do it.’”
When You Found Forever arrives in May via Don Giovanni.
Watch the video below, and catch Painted Zeros at one of their upcoming dates:
Tuesday, 3/24: Knitting Factory with Haru Nemuri
Thursday, 4/16: Trans-Pecos with Bethlehem Steel and Slight Of
Saturday, 5/30: Elsewhere Zone 1