...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead (often abbreviated as Trail of Dead) is an American art rock band from Austin, Texas. According to the band's website, their name is taken from an ancient Mayan ritual chant which shows a striking similarity to an ancient Egyptian chant. However, this explanation is said to be merely an ongoing joke. The chief creative elements of the band are Jason Reece and Conrad Keely. The two switch between drumming and lead vocals and guitar, both on their records and during their shows. (On some songs, former bass player Neil Busch sang lead vocals). As of February 2009, the band has released six studio albums. Their sixth album, The Century of Self, was released on February 17, 2009.
Keely and Reece have been friends since their youth, meeting originally in Hawaii. They each formed their first band in 1993, soon after moving to Olympia, Washington, where Keely studied at The Evergreen State College. As an interesting aside, Keely, along with Anton Newcombe of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, used to supplement their incomes by refurbishing the mastheads of many of the fishing vessels that would dock in Olympia's scenic port. Keely started a band called Benedict Gehlen that only lasted a year. Nancyville was Keely's next project, though it also was short-lived. Reece played drums with Honeybucket and then queercore band Mukilteo Fairies (the name is a play on words, referencing the ferry boat that travels between Mukilteo and Clinton, Washington) while living in Olympia. The two moved to Austin, Texas and started playing as a duo under the moniker, You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. The band expanded to include guitarist Kevin Allen and bassist Neil Busch. They then officially lengthened their name to ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. Conrad's girlfriend from Olympia, Deanne Rowley (now Deanne McAdams), of Plain Jane, Pro-Ex Marauders, and currently Leopards (and occasionally Dead Air Fresheners), briefly played with them as a back-up guitarist, but never appeared on any recordings.
Rise and success (1995–2006)
By 1995, they had issued their first release (one song on cassette-only compilation called Austin Live Houses), followed by another self-titled four song cassette on Golden Hour, and in January 1998 a self-titled full-length on Trance Syndicate.
Trail of Dead soon moved on to Merge after the Trance label went defunct. The band released Madonna on Merge in late 1999, and toured the U.S. opening for labelmates Superchunk to promote it. They signed to Interscope Records and released the Relative Ways EP in 2001.
In early 2002, the Trail of Dead released Source Tags & Codes which received universal acclaim, including a 10/10 rating from Pitchfork Media, later saying it is "one of indie rock's truly epic albums". Their following tour was chronicled by Rolling Stone, with Andrew Dansby commenting on their group dynamic as a "post-punk Voltron, that just might be the most exciting unit working today."
A follow-up EP to Source Tags & Codes was released in April 2003, titled The Secret of Elena's Tomb. The EP featured contained the electronic track "Intelligence" which featured, and was co-written by, Tyler Jacobson from A Roman Scandal, Reece's other band.
In July 2004 it was announced that Neil Busch was ejected from the band and Danny Wood had taken his place on bass. Second drummer/percussionist Doni Schroader also joined the band around this time. Trail of Dead released Worlds Apart on January 25, 2005. The band's fifth album, So Divided, was released on November 14, 2006.
Post-Interscope era (2007–present)
In late summer of 2007, the Trail of Dead once again toured Europe, this time with drummer Aaron Ford replacing Doni Schroader. The band provided the soundtrack to the 2007 film Hell on Wheels, a documentary about the formation of Roller Derby in Austin, Texas. After their overseas tour ended on March 15, 2007, the Trail of Dead returned to the studio to begin recording their sixth record. In October, Trail of Dead supported the virtual band Dethklok on an Adult Swim college tour. In that same month, the band became independent, having left Interscope Records after lack of support.
In early 2008, Trail of Dead went back into the studio, without a record contract. Using their own capital, they filmed their recording experiences and released them on YouTube. On October 21, they released an EP, resembling an "album teaser", titled Festival Thyme. On February 17, 2009, a 13-track album, The Century of Self was released.
- 1998: ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead (January 20, 1998)
- 1999: Madonna (October 19, 1999)
- 2002: Source Tags & Codes (February 26, 2002) UK #73
- 2005: Worlds Apart (January 24, 2005) UK #92
- 2006: So Divided (November 14, 2006) UK #190
- 2009: The Century of Self (February 17, 2009)
- 2000: "Mistakes & Regrets" UK #69
- 2002: "Another Morning Stoner" UK #54
- 2002: "Relative Ways" UK #84
- 2004: "Worlds Apart"
- 2005: "And the Rest Will Follow" UK #77
- 2006: "A Classic Art Showcase" UK Download #49
- 2006: "Wasted State of Mind"
- 2009: "Isis Unveiled" (Radio Edit) promo only for radio stations (e.g. Germany)
- Self-titled CD-R (October 1998, self-released) (Limited edition of 60 copies; all three songs would later appear on Madonna)
- Relative Ways (November 6, 2001)
- The Secret of Elena's Tomb (April 1, 2003)
- Worlds Apart - EP (October 12, 2004)
- Festival Thyme (October 21, 2008)
- "Mistakes & Regrets"
- "Relative Ways"
- "Another Morning Stoner"
- "All St. Day" (on Worlds Apart's bonus DVD)
- "The Rest Will Follow"
- "Naked Sun" (Edit)
- "Isis Unveiled" (Radio Edit)
- Official website
- ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead at Allmusic
- ...Trail of Dead at Synthesis.net
- Trail of Dead at Last.fm
- Trail of Dead collection at the Internet Archive's live music archive
- Live Pictures of Trail Of Dead from 04.04.2009 in Switzerland from Poorboys on The Road
- ...Trail of Dead on The Syndicate Blog
- Interview: Trail of Dead on MyNorthwest.com March 2009
- Interview on Shockhound
- Interview at Exclaim!
- ...Trail of Dead questionnaire March 2009
- Punk News article
- Diskant interview
- Q&A with ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead at Anthem Magazine
- ...Trail of Dead's Conrad Keely featured in SPIN's "In My Room"
Biography from Wikipedia