The members of Ego Death expect to have a much better time playing their April residency shows at the Kitty Cat Klub than they did on the Chicago stop of their 2015 tour.
Day 8 into a 10-day Midwest spree, the sludgy Minneapolis shoegaze trio found themselves lost in a blistering rainstorm, caught in the same kind of gloom that reflects in Ego Death’s melancholy pop sound. In fact, the band’s music would’ve made a perfect soundtrack to the cloudy weather, had anyone been around to hear it.
Whipped by the wet weather, singer/guitarist Jeremy Warden, bassist Bree Meyer, and drummer Seth Tracy finally made it to the venue — only to find five people in the audience.
“There was nobody there, I got a parking ticket, and all the local bands dropped out,” Warden remembers. “You know when you’re having a bad day and something just breaks the straw and you just laugh about it?”
Tracy’s attitude about the band’s Chicago experience mirrors his bandmate’s.
“I was actually having a great day,” he says. “We went to the zoo, and it was amazing.”
It’ll take more than a mediocre Chicago experience to tear Ego Death apart, as they prove on their new EP, Daze. Four bursts of gaze-y gloom-punk, it’s a tighter and more cohesive release than their 2015 self-titled LP. Continuing in the shoegaze/pop-punk direction of the last record, songs like “Orange Soda” highlight the band’s energetic, gloomy/poppy dichotomy.
It’s a contrast from “Deceiver,” Daze’s dismal opening track that finds Warden’s haunting tenor ruminating on his own paranoia.
“That’s a feeling I struggle with a lot: Who are my real friends?” Warden says. “That song is looking at what happens when you give yourself to somebody, and they chew you up and leave you behind.”
It’s part of the reason why the band worked so closely to create Daze.
For their second release, Warden, Tracy, and Meyer worked from scratch on every step of the creative process. In addition to Warden writing the songs, Meyer created the EP’s artwork while Tracy engineered and mixed the tracks after recording them in the band’s old rehearsal space — a factory in north Minneapolis.
“It’s an in-house representation of what we are,” Warden says. Meyer says the Ego Death EP turned into a project for all three members to achieve different creative pursuits. “We’re all encouraging each other to take steps toward what we want to do and develop as people more,” she says.
The band’s optimistic team spirit should come as no surprise to anyone who’s seen Ego Death play one of their 50-plus local shows this past year. For every performance, the trio works to embody their self-described dynamic as “three friends playing upbeat sad songs.”
After building up that live muscle, Ego Death are flexing all they’ve got for their April residency at the Kitty Cat Klub, where they’ll play songs from Daze and other new tunes every Tuesday night. True once again to their homespun style, Ego Death are giving the Daze EP a limited release through cassettes and download codes only available at their residency.
“Think of it as a bake-sale for some even cooler/bigger plans we have for later," Warden says. "But instead of cookies you get tasty tapes."
That’s not to say Daze won’t get a digital life. The band plans to self-release the EP on Bandcamp May 3, followed by a summer tour with local shoegazers Strange Relations. Despite the less-than-ideal Chicago experience, the members of Ego Death find playing Midwestern shows essential — especially in smaller towns.
“Growing up in Mankato, there’s nothing to do, except hang out in the woods and jam with your friends,” Warden says. “When bands from the Twin Cities and Chicago would come through Mankato, it was a great experience. I want to do that more for people in other small towns.”
Ego Death's April residency at Kitty Cat Klub
With: Hollow Boys, LOTT, Murder Shoes (April 5); Strange Relations, Haybaby, Cherry Cola (April 12); Lunch Duchess, Tungsten, Well (April 19); Daylily, Astral Samara, ROBAT (April 26).
When: 9 p.m. every Tuesday in April.
Where: Kitty Cat Klub, 315 14th Ave. SE., Minneapolis.
Tickets: Free; more info here.