PREMIERE: Karaoke, Lo Hi

Let\’s be real: who wishes they were anywhere else than where they are right now, perhaps in a cheap motel room with a friend, a stereo, a Little Caesar\’s pizza, a box of Hi-C, and a few bottles of Yoo-Hoo, free to relinquish whatever few fucks they had left? Me, week seven in quarantine.

Today, Atlanta indie five-piece Karaoke unveils its latest single Lo Hi from its forthcoming album (title TBD) via Spotify, giving us a glimpse into what lies ahead in its sound. The single is the first we\’ve heard from Karaoke this year. Additionally, the group — Grace Bellury (guitar/vocals), Tymb Gratz (guitar), Chris Yonker (bass), Zach Pyles (keys/synths), Adrian Benedykt Switon (drums) — has also publicly released its accompanying music video directed by DJ Barbie Corvette. The video is one in a series of five, in which each member will have their time on the screen with the new track. Before the coronavirus outbreak, the group was able to make three videos and plans to see the project through when all is said and done. But first up, drummer Adrian Benedykt Switon.

In the video, Switon resides in an Atlanta motel room alone, wearing a wife-beater, ready to engulf a full Little Caesar\’s pizza along with some Yoo-Hoo. Crushed Hi-C boxes adorn the ledges along the cheaply painted white walls. We watch as the camera follows Adrian sauntering around the room, taking a couple bites of one slice, throwing it to the side like it\’s chopped liver, and pulling another slice from the box. He shimmies and thrusts in tantalizing movements, and for who? Me? You? Himself? Who cares?

The video for “Lo Hi arrives in a sort of “hindsight 2020” context. The group inadvertently produced a quarantine-themed music video long before we ever knew we would be in quarantine. The song itself strikes well on its own, but the video conveys a style that is far more refreshing than many of the rushed, impromptu quarantine-themed singles, EPs, and videos that we have seen thus far. Some things you just can\’t plan.

Karaoke, from left to right: Grace Bellury, Adrian Benedykt Switon, Tymb Gratz, Zach Pyles, and Chris Yonker. Photo credit: Casey Doran.

The newest track is a full departure from the group\’s previous releases. The group\’s 2018 debut How to Make You Boil and the 2019 single Baby ultimately contained a lot of build up with not quite enough release. In Lo Hi, we hear a version of Karaoke that is finally everything we needed to grab and hold our attention, even if it’s just for four minutes. It picks up where its predecessors brought us and launches us into full force. We get that punch so desperately needed to make Karaoke more than that band showgoers talk over in a dive bar.

A minute or so in, you\’re not only entranced, but you feel a little teased with Bellury\’s seemingly innocent and quiet chorus. Suddenly, beats and guitar come bursting in through what sounded like another standard issue psychedelic and jazzy interlude. The release is there and it delivers. Just like Little Caesar\’s is about to in response to my pizza order.

The forthcoming album was underway in mixing and release preparations via Atlanta-based label Irrelevant Music before COVID-19 hit. The group is now hoping to release the album in the fall.

Until then, let\’s all order a Little Caesar\’s pizza, get jacked up on some Hi-C, and dance around on our beds with this one. Alone. Together. Repeat.

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