... And You Will Poll Us By The Trail Of Dead - album poll

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One of the more interesting rock bands of the late ninetees and (early) naughts imho, as their development musically is so poignant and recognizable. From the razor sharp, on point (post)punkish early days to the bombastic, near or over the top symphonic pretentiousness of latter days: worlds apart indeed. Let us follow the trail of dead and poll and discuss these guys' albums.

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Source Tags & Codes 19
Worlds Apart 6
Madonna 5
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead 2
So Divided 2
Tao of the Dead 2
The Century of Self 1
Lost Songs 0
IX 0


Le Bateau Ivre, Monday, 17 October 2016 19:56 (two years ago) Permalink

I remember back in early 00s this was one of those indie bands with overlong and overwrought names that almost every ezine was pushing. Name alone they never caught my attention. Are they worth a listen?

✖✖✖ (Moka), Monday, 17 October 2016 20:07 (two years ago) Permalink

First 3 albums are at least. Or maybe 2nd and 3rd only. Or maybe just the third.

Evan, Monday, 17 October 2016 20:10 (two years ago) Permalink

great -
Source Tags & Codes

very good -
Worlds Apart
Lost Songs
IX
Madonna

good -
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
Tao of the Dead
The Century of Self

not good -
So Divided

Roberto Spiralli, Monday, 17 October 2016 20:16 (two years ago) Permalink

Genuinely tempted to vote for IX

imago, Monday, 17 October 2016 20:20 (two years ago) Permalink

So Divided is way better than everyone says btw

imago, Monday, 17 October 2016 20:21 (two years ago) Permalink

otm

ultros ultros-ghali, Monday, 17 October 2016 20:21 (two years ago) Permalink

had IX at #3 and then impulsively swapped with Lost Songs in case of recency bias

Roberto Spiralli, Monday, 17 October 2016 20:22 (two years ago) Permalink

that tao of the dead cover art may be ironic (i assume?) but the record is unironically my favorite of theirs. it's surprisingly lean and un-symphonic, sort of the Rush to their previous records' Yes or Genesis.

source tags & codes is certainly the high water mark of the soaring maximalist stuff that made them popular in the first place though - i'll still take that record over Funeral any day

ciderpress, Monday, 17 October 2016 20:23 (two years ago) Permalink

Imago otm about IX and So Divided. They are great. I'm still votin for Source Tags & Codes, because its fantastic. But this is one of the very few bands that stretched out and tried for something else, evolved that way seemingly naturally. Into something I would nog forgive any other band, something way too bombastic and proggy for my liking. But with these guys I can take it, I can see where they come from.

Le Bateau Ivre, Monday, 17 October 2016 20:40 (two years ago) Permalink

Aw man I went through everything after worlds apart about a year ago and now I can't remember shit about it.

quis gropes ipsos gropiuses? (ledge), Monday, 17 October 2016 20:42 (two years ago) Permalink

I've never given the first two albums, Tao or Lost Songs a proper listen. Weird considering how much I like the other albums

imago, Monday, 17 October 2016 20:43 (two years ago) Permalink

source tags & codes is certainly the high water mark of the soaring maximalist stuff that made them popular in the first place though - i'll still take that record over Funeral any day

― ciderpress, Monday, October 17, 2016 10:23 PM (sixteen minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

No competition. Arcade Fire can suck cocks in hell (new board descrip imho), they've never even been close to ST&C brilliance.

Le Bateau Ivre, Monday, 17 October 2016 20:43 (two years ago) Permalink

It would be quite interesting if folks posted their TOD mixtapes itt maybe

imago, Monday, 17 October 2016 20:44 (two years ago) Permalink

Imago, you should def check them out. Madonna is great, just as Tao is, albeit in a completely different way.

Le Bateau Ivre, Monday, 17 October 2016 20:44 (two years ago) Permalink

I think you'd like Tao of the Dead imago

ultros ultros-ghali, Monday, 17 October 2016 20:46 (two years ago) Permalink

I don't think Tao of the Dead art is ironic, since I think it's Conrad's drawing and other albums have similar Playstation 2 / steampunk stylings.

Also something about the glowing reception of Source Tags got to their heads in such a way that they snapped and their ambitions became so try-hard and lacked so much taste its as if their overall creative direction was suddenly entirely dictated by some edgy nerdy teenager who says "epic" a lot. They've been picking up the pieces on recent albums and I've mostly enjoyed that material, but the sudden aesthetic regression at that point always seemed so odd to me.

Put another way, its as if they were replaced by a less mature band that was heavily influenced by the original band that made the first 3 albums, and from Worlds Apart until now this new band has been maturing and refining their unique approach over the years.

Evan, Monday, 17 October 2016 20:54 (two years ago) Permalink

Sorry to sound so negative...

Evan, Monday, 17 October 2016 20:55 (two years ago) Permalink

Cool, will do! xps

Just want to restate how good IX is. For a band supposedly running on fumes it's an absolute blast, and Grand Scheme -> Summer Tempests is getting on for a career high

Probably still voting Worlds Apart but it will take some thought. All five of the ones I've listened to properly could be considered.

imago, Monday, 17 October 2016 21:00 (two years ago) Permalink

you'd love madonna and tao, lj

who is extremely unqualified to review this pop album (BradNelson), Monday, 17 October 2016 21:01 (two years ago) Permalink

if i were to guess at a narrative of their development, i think after source tags neil leaves somewhat acrimoniously (a v much underrated loss to the band btw) and conrad puts himself under pressure to match source tags kind of single handedly on worlds apart and tho he does an outstanding job with it it is not exactly st&c pt 2 and it bombs relatively and i would guess that hit him hard. despite its defenders so divided is somewhat a contractual obligation record and after that they kind of start over

Roberto Spiralli, Monday, 17 October 2016 21:02 (two years ago) Permalink

i'd either pick century of self or tao here. what an awesome, consistent band

who is extremely unqualified to review this pop album (BradNelson), Monday, 17 October 2016 21:02 (two years ago) Permalink

Worlds Apart. I never understood the love for ST&C - too muddy and bland. Big sound without great songs. Worlds Apart is so ambitious and unique and assured- the incredibly harsh criticism and dismissal by the prog-phobic press left them without a leg to stand on: not big enough for the mainstream and abandoned by the indie world. I love So Divided too, never understood why that was hated. Great riffs and successful experiments like "Wasted State of Mind." The songwriting got better too - the title track is really moving to me, a simple sort of classic rock song with a mature view. I lost interest after that record. I still think it's a crime what the press did to them- build them up and then burn them at the stake. They've been relegated back to playing small clubs and pubs now for years, they should be playing bigger places.

flappy bird, Monday, 17 October 2016 21:16 (two years ago) Permalink

I only ever had Madonna. I enjoyed it a lot but never felt like checking anything else out for some reason. A mistake?

Camaraderie at Arms Length, Monday, 17 October 2016 21:18 (two years ago) Permalink

Also I remember an interviewer asking the singer what he had in his pockets once and he had a sheet of acid and a zipdisk

Camaraderie at Arms Length, Monday, 17 October 2016 21:26 (two years ago) Permalink

xxp I think they still do pretty well in continental Europe, esp. Germany. Many countries don't forget/dismiss bands to the extent that we do in the UK/US.

Couple of others I could go for but it's probably going to be Century of the Self for me. So many good songs.

ultros ultros-ghali, Monday, 17 October 2016 21:31 (two years ago) Permalink

The zipdisk is the proggiest of all discs. Bloated but it does the job really well :) xp

Le Bateau Ivre, Monday, 17 October 2016 21:32 (two years ago) Permalink

The press always slagged Conrad's voice but I love it. I guess the best litmus test for this band is the "HEY FUCK YOU, MAAAAAN!" at the beginning of "Worlds Apart."

flappy bird, Monday, 17 October 2016 21:38 (two years ago) Permalink

Not much humour in their catalogue iirc but that is a lol for sure.

quis gropes ipsos gropiuses? (ledge), Monday, 17 October 2016 21:58 (two years ago) Permalink

Had to vote Tao, amazing album

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Monday, 17 October 2016 23:41 (two years ago) Permalink

feels a bit wrong that we did this before they got to their tenth album, hope that's some kind of three-hour monstrosity

also no one ever reps for it but I REALLY like the debut, "Novena Without Faith" is beautiful

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Monday, 17 October 2016 23:42 (two years ago) Permalink

going for the debut as i feel it won't get the love it deserves.

Bee OK, Tuesday, 18 October 2016 00:51 (two years ago) Permalink

Finally heard this band recently after avoiding them because I had a wrong impression of what they sounded like because of the name. Hate it when that happens.

Sketches by T-Boz (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 18 October 2016 03:25 (two years ago) Permalink

these guys are my favorite rock band of all time, every album owns

yolo mostly (sleepingbag), Tuesday, 18 October 2016 03:40 (two years ago) Permalink

Wondering if the Tao of the Dead cover belongs on a certain image thread.

Sketches by T-Boz (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 18 October 2016 03:45 (two years ago) Permalink

I loved this band up to Source Codes but was a bit disappointed by Worlds Apart and got off the bus after that - I've caught up all the later albums since then but none of them really grabbed me as a whole (although there were definitely great songs here and there). I probably need to revisit the last four.

Gavin, Leeds, Tuesday, 18 October 2016 11:08 (two years ago) Permalink

i actually legit can't decide between century of self and tao of the dead; they sound so reinvigorated on century, and the songs are really strong and feel like hybrids of worlds apart and madonna, aggressive, digressive, and pretty. tao conversely feels like the record they'd always wanted to make

who is extremely unqualified to review this pop album (BradNelson), Wednesday, 19 October 2016 14:30 (two years ago) Permalink

also i just learned there's a tao of the dead part 3!

who is extremely unqualified to review this pop album (BradNelson), Wednesday, 19 October 2016 14:32 (two years ago) Permalink

double guitars, y'know??

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v09TM7Z25qg

flappy bird, Wednesday, 19 October 2016 17:07 (two years ago) Permalink

Some days I think Giants Causeway/Far Pavillions is the best way to open an album ever.

ultros ultros-ghali, Wednesday, 19 October 2016 17:13 (two years ago) Permalink

Going to listen to all albums after ST&C tonight while writing an essay, that should be fun. Worlds apart, really loved that one, but after that I probably didnt invest enough time and energy in their albums.

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 19 October 2016 17:18 (two years ago) Permalink

i love ix too but i feel like it doesn't really start until "lie without a liar"

who is extremely unqualified to review this pop album (BradNelson), Wednesday, 19 October 2016 19:08 (two years ago) Permalink

PSHAW jaded apostles and million random digits are both great

Roberto Spiralli, Wednesday, 19 October 2016 19:25 (two years ago) Permalink

they're good but idk the momentum feels kinda off before "lie"

who is extremely unqualified to review this pop album (BradNelson), Wednesday, 19 October 2016 19:39 (two years ago) Permalink

Listening to Lost Songs myself and it's very enjoyable and BIG sounding, but I think their compositions were much more inventive on ST&C. Watched an old Conan performance of Relative Ways and while that song seems simple and BIG as well it's also intricate and in control.

Evan, Wednesday, 19 October 2016 20:01 (two years ago) Permalink

Jaded Apostles is a weirdly slow track for second on an album, but at least it's a good song

imago, Wednesday, 19 October 2016 20:02 (two years ago) Permalink

Ha, just got to Pinhole Cameras and that guitar part that opens it is clearly recycled from Relative Ways

Evan, Wednesday, 19 October 2016 20:12 (two years ago) Permalink

I mean thats where my head went, at least

Evan, Wednesday, 19 October 2016 20:12 (two years ago) Permalink

The whole ST&C thing feels like 'is the dress gold and white or black and blue?' (it's gold and white), i just don't hear the 'inventive compositions' or interesting lyrics. Worlds Apart is so much more idiosyncratic and powerful. I don't dislike ST&C though, "Baudelaire" rules.

flappy bird, Wednesday, 19 October 2016 20:15 (two years ago) Permalink

I picked up Lost Songs again today - damn that opening run of tracks is a rush, has kind of an uptempo-Gish feel

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Wednesday, 26 October 2016 03:11 (two years ago) Permalink

yes! i think ToD got reamed for Worlds Apart because it reminded writers of Mellon Collie. also, Conrad's voice is much higher and drier in the mix on WA than ST&C. from the p4k review: "I hear a gun held up to the head of Conrad Keely-- maybe the world's most terrible singer-- and a masked man telling him to sing pretty or die." He reminded them of Billy Corgan.

flappy bird, Wednesday, 26 October 2016 20:07 (two years ago) Permalink

it was an extremely tough one but I voted with my Pitchfork

hope IX doesn't get 0 now

imago, Wednesday, 26 October 2016 20:24 (two years ago) Permalink

I picked up Lost Songs again today - damn that opening run of tracks is a rush, has kind of an uptempo-Gish feel

this post made me hit lost songs today : you are spot on.
its an insane rush.

mark e, Wednesday, 26 October 2016 20:32 (two years ago) Permalink

^^ same! And the comparison rings very true. It's the drums especially bringing that Gish feel.

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 26 October 2016 20:36 (two years ago) Permalink

it was an extremely tough one but I voted with my Pitchfork

― imago, Wednesday, October 26, 2016 10:24 PM

Don't know what this means but it sounds awful tbh :-/

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 26 October 2016 20:37 (two years ago) Permalink

THAT WAS FOR 4.0 MOTHERFUCKERS *clicks vote*

imago, Wednesday, 26 October 2016 20:39 (two years ago) Permalink

lol

imago, Wednesday, 26 October 2016 20:40 (two years ago) Permalink

Haha awww yeah :)

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 26 October 2016 20:41 (two years ago) Permalink

ta LBI for setting up this thread as i had put this band aside,
whereas now,
they are back in the 'dont f*cking forget how good they are' playlist.

mark e, Wednesday, 26 October 2016 20:45 (two years ago) Permalink

from revisiting over past few days, biggest takeaway for me is that although i had lost songs pegged as my favourite post-WA already, i think i actually forgot just how good it is. ST&C, WA and lost songs maybe a tier unto themselves for me. also, i think there is some rose tint looking back on the s/t. the half of it i remember is the good half, and half of it is p disposable. half of what, while i am on halves, is still amazing tho.

Roberto Spiralli, Wednesday, 26 October 2016 20:47 (two years ago) Permalink

Worlds Apart deserves it imho. P4K maroons will probably give the 25th anniversary edition of it a 10 or something.

Voted ST&C in the end, but feel so divided. If anything this poll has reminded me to listen to these awesome guys more often.

Xp No prob Mark E, it's exactly how I feel right now!

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 26 October 2016 20:48 (two years ago) Permalink

Voted ST&C in the end, but feel so divided.

i see what you did there.

mark e, Wednesday, 26 October 2016 20:49 (two years ago) Permalink

;)

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 26 October 2016 20:50 (two years ago) Permalink

Voted ST&C in the end, but feel so divided.

i see what you did there.

― mark e, Wednesday, October 26, 2016 4:49 PM (six minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Well those two albums are worlds apart

Evan, Wednesday, 26 October 2016 20:57 (two years ago) Permalink

oof

Tell me who sends these infamous .gifs (bernard snowy), Wednesday, 26 October 2016 20:59 (two years ago) Permalink

yes.... IX worlds

flappy bird, Wednesday, 26 October 2016 20:59 (two years ago) Permalink

^^ nailing ToD's brilliance.

Love Roberto's observation, feeling p much the same way. Those three form some sort of a trilogy in a very strange way.

Xp

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 26 October 2016 21:00 (two years ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Thursday, 27 October 2016 00:01 (two years ago) Permalink

what's the opposite of recency bias lol

imago, Thursday, 27 October 2016 00:09 (two years ago) Permalink

as this thread was progressing i had a feeling we might be heading for a loopy result here but ended up being pretty sane. v glad that the love for WA isn't as marginal as i used to think. also v cool that there is an enclave of appreciation for this band here.

sure i have before but anyway, have to share my top TOD trivia, w/. added personal resonance - conrad was born in george eliot hospital in nuneaton.

Roberto Spiralli, Thursday, 27 October 2016 13:40 (two years ago) Permalink

There's four I could have voted for but went with Centuries in the end. STaC is their most *significant* release so it makes sense that it won I guess.

ultros ultros-ghali, Thursday, 27 October 2016 14:00 (two years ago) Permalink

i didn't contribute to the discussion because i only really know their first 4 albums - loved madonna and ST&C, listened to the self-titled a bit back in the day, and fell off after Worlds Apart. i've given every album since then a chance, with at least one full listen, and...i just don't like where they've gone. i guess i just liked them the most when they were heavy and raw. now, even when they're heavy, it never feels raw. lame but true, i liked trail of dead when they sounded a bit dangerous, and they haven't in a long time imo. i recognize that's unfair and it's not a standard i really hold many other bands to, but there it is.

the one time i saw them was around the ST&C-era, and it was amazing. reece and keely seemed genuinely angry with each other, and every time they switched places as vocalists it felt like were trying to outperform the other. the set started off loud and chaotic and escalated from there. the drum set got demolished and reassembled and demolished again. conrad disappeared underneath the stage for a really long time and emerged with a damaged bass drum head, which he then threw out into the audience. i caught it like a bouquet and took it home with me like it was a collector's item.

LBI otm above about the rage of madonna. the lyrics were perfect for a teenager, and i used to play along to the song on the drums (at the time, a massive double bass set with EIGHT TOMS), waiting for the iconic drum fill which presages each chorus. i have wonderful memories of losing my mind to that song, sweating a bunch and kicking over my own floor tom in my parent's basement like a total weirdo, so i voted for madonna.

I look forward to hearing from you shortly, (Karl Malone), Thursday, 27 October 2016 16:29 (two years ago) Permalink

That nearly made me tear up Zach, bravo. (hope this is not your oppo dump tbh... Or maybe I do idk ;))

Despite not liking where they "went" (and I get you)' I hope the take away from this poll is they are a unique band in today's rock scene, treading down great and sometimes unforgiving paths, but treading all the same. It's about taking risks ultimately, when it's so much easier to not take them and just follow either the latest trend or succumb to continue to making music of their most loved record, ToD do neither: they are very much on their own path without knowing where it will take them. I admire that.

'Lost Songs' might get you some of that heavy and raw feeling back tbh.

Le Bateau Ivre, Thursday, 27 October 2016 17:06 (two years ago) Permalink

Trying to think of an equivalent to TOD, maybe a British one...I suppose if we're talking a raw, arty rock group with post-rock tendencies, occasionally duff lyrics and a chameleon-like approach to album styles, then Six By Seven aren't a zillion miles away (plus, they started about the same time) But there's a real dearth of good arty rock at the moment. Will keep thinking on it.

imago, Thursday, 27 October 2016 17:30 (two years ago) Permalink

TOD much much zanier/proggier than 6x7 ofc

imago, Thursday, 27 October 2016 17:32 (two years ago) Permalink

their closest analogue is the smashing pumpkins - prog ambition making them outliers in an indie milieu, the pre-Raphaelite/renaissance aesthetic, conrad's vocals, the moments of self-sabotage

flappy bird, Thursday, 27 October 2016 17:35 (two years ago) Permalink

Oh, there's Mew, I guess, kinda

imago, Thursday, 27 October 2016 17:48 (two years ago) Permalink

hmm thinking of british equiv of TOD unlikely to end well, prob something like muse

Roberto Spiralli, Thursday, 27 October 2016 18:36 (two years ago) Permalink

like, i am trying to think of a british band doing the kind of things they do and immediately rolling my eyes

Roberto Spiralli, Thursday, 27 October 2016 18:36 (two years ago) Permalink

a british band that does shit like borrowing king crimson's drummer to play cambodian percussion

imago, Thursday, 27 October 2016 19:21 (two years ago) Permalink

I feel A Sunny Day in Glasgow could've been very much like ToD, but they took a different turn

Le Bateau Ivre, Thursday, 27 October 2016 20:42 (two years ago) Permalink

Also, My Vitriol's first album comes close in terms of intensity. Songs not as good though.

Le Bateau Ivre, Thursday, 27 October 2016 20:43 (two years ago) Permalink

ILikeTrains comes to mind, too, but too post-rock. This is hard LJ

Le Bateau Ivre, Thursday, 27 October 2016 20:44 (two years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Who would have guessed that this band would eventually morph into The Divine Comedy. (Exhibit A: Like Summer Tempests Came His Tears.) (N.B. I am cool with this.)

lana del boy (ledge), Thursday, 1 March 2018 12:41 (eight months ago) Permalink

there can't be a British version of this band imo because ultimately as proggy as they got they are too much a product of American post hardcore, post Fugazi underground rock, I mean they were on Trance Syndicate

Karl otm they were such an amazing band around ST&C

It's not delivery, it's Adorno! (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 1 March 2018 13:13 (eight months ago) Permalink

KM otm because the first 3 albums were when they wanted to be Sonic Youth and Unwound, after that they wanted to be way more polished and suddenly seemed like they were drawing from entirely different influences.

Evan, Thursday, 1 March 2018 13:24 (eight months ago) Permalink

I'm annoyed that Lost Songs isn't on (Canadian) Spotify, thus preventing me from making a proper best-of-TOD playlist

Simon H., Thursday, 1 March 2018 13:40 (eight months ago) Permalink

Unwound is so underrated

It's not delivery, it's Adorno! (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 1 March 2018 13:44 (eight months ago) Permalink

there is/was plenty of uk post hardcore, post fugazi underground rock too tho

ogmor, Thursday, 1 March 2018 16:15 (eight months ago) Permalink

oh man i played ST&C for the first time in forever yesterday. what timing

back around that era i tried to see them every chance i could. great band

scoff walker (diamonddave85), Thursday, 1 March 2018 16:31 (eight months ago) Permalink

never really associated the singers with the song before, but busch has some really great ones on there!

scoff walker (diamonddave85), Thursday, 1 March 2018 16:34 (eight months ago) Permalink

the one time i saw them was around the ST&C-era, and it was amazing...

really great post which captures the spirit of that era. their live shows were about complete and total annihilation of their equipment and bodies. one show i saw reece broke a rib when he fell onto the audience barrier and he finished the song without even missing a beat

scoff walker (diamonddave85), Thursday, 1 March 2018 16:42 (eight months ago) Permalink

I hope they play TO this year, I'd love to see them live finally

Simon H., Thursday, 1 March 2018 18:15 (eight months ago) Permalink

four months pass...

They're playing My War and Relayer in their respective entireties at a fest this summer, which kinda explains their whole thing.

Simon H., Tuesday, 10 July 2018 11:16 (four months ago) Permalink

ahahaha oh my god

imago, Tuesday, 10 July 2018 11:19 (four months ago) Permalink

:D

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Tuesday, 10 July 2018 11:20 (four months ago) Permalink

you know maybe this will be the thing that makes me finally listen to black flag

imago, Tuesday, 10 July 2018 11:21 (four months ago) Permalink

enjoy side two of my war lj

princess of hell (BradNelson), Tuesday, 10 July 2018 11:57 (four months ago) Permalink

ha!

Hope it gets filmed, I'd like to see if they can pull off Relayer given that there's almost always been a tention between Conrad's prog ambitions and the fact that their musicianship tends to be little above the level of competent and functional (that's not a criticism, it works for them).

obnoxious pun (ultros ultros-ghali), Thursday, 12 July 2018 19:51 (four months ago) Permalink


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