Total Slacker – “Sometimes You Gotta Die” (Stereogum Premiere)

The usual rule of thumb when you see a band getting the shoegaze tag is that they’re going to sound pretty, and ethereal, and gauzy. None of those things apply to recent Black Bell signee Total Slacker. Their new single, “Sometimes You Gotta Die,” is anxious, creepy, and ugly even as it whips itself up into these mountains of guitar noises. Tucker Rountree and Dave Tassy’s guitars take turns dive-bombing into one another over a rhythm section (courtesy of bassist Emily Oppenheimer and drummer Zoë Brecher) that’s all slasher-movie menace.

It’s a brutal song and one that makes it impossible not to think of Terence Connor, the band’s former drummer who was killed in a hit-and-run almost exactly one year ago. Rather than letting the tragedy break them up, the band reconvened less than two months later and began recording Slip Away, a record that sounds like it’s carrying all of the pain from that event, but without sacrificing their humor (the band still lists itself as “slimegaze” on Facebook). The full album won’t be coming out until next year, but this track is a promising sign of what’s to come. Listen below.

Total Slacker – “Sometimes You Gotta Die”

Slip Away is out 2/11 on Black Bell Records.