Last weekend, I saw Brooklyn’s Painted Zeros for the first time. I honestly have no idea why it took me so long to catch one of their shows considering they play around the Brooklyn area pretty consistently, but whatever, I have seen them now and I am excited to see them again. Actually, Impose did a brief feature with the band back in June, but now that their Svalbard EP has been released, it seemed like time to revisit the group.
Painted Zeros is Katie Lau, drummer Jared Kaner, and a rotating cast of bassists (in fact, the night I saw them, they posted a plea for a one-night bassist on their Facebook). Lau writes and records the group’s music alone, which was surprising because the resulting tracks sound deceptively full.
“Svalbard” is the name of a Norwegian archipelago that is also home to the Global Seed Vault. Lau has said, “Svalbard is in every respect beautiful and fascinating and terrifying and embodied the kind of dream world and alternate space that I think music has the potential of making too—inspiring moods and feelings and different worlds that you enter when you make the decision to leave (or alter) whatever physical space you are in through a sonic landscape.” Indeed, this perfectly describes the EP, which seamlessly transforms from soft-spoken and shoegazey (“This American Life”) to scuzzy (“Too Drunk”). The standout tracks arrive in the EP’s final moments, and leave you begging for a longer release. The wild and lustful “Jaime” sounds like a mockery of classic rock songs that are all aggressive-macho-sexuality; Lau even sings, “I want you so bad it sounds like a cliche.” “Jaime” is packed with more adrenaline than “Too Drunk” which is not the party anthem that it appears to be. Instead, Lau muses that maybe she shouldn’t get fucked up all the time, which is a sentiment I can understand. However, she makes no promises, and I guess neither do I.
I feel like describing Painted Zeros as a party band, painting them (pun intended) as an act one can only enjoy while plastered. So when I say that Painted Zeros is the perfect party band, I mean that they can be enjoyed at any time! But seeing them with a group of people who are jumping on top of each other and screaming all the lyrics is the prime environment to first experience the band.