... 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) link

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) link

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) link

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) link

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61jr9gk8r1L.jpg

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

Genuinely tempted to vote for IX

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

So Divided is way better than everyone says btw

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

otm

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

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) link

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) link

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) link

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) link

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) link

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) link

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

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

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) link

I think you'd like Tao of the Dead imago

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

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) link

Sorry to sound so negative...

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

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) link

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) link

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) link

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) link

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) link

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) link

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) link

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) link

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) link

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) link

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) link

Had to vote Tao, amazing album

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

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) link

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) link

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) link

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) link

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) link

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) link

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) link

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) link

double guitars, y'know??

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

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

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) link

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) link

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) link

PSHAW jaded apostles and million random digits are both great

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

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) link

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) link

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) link

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) link

I mean thats where my head went, at least

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

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) link

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) link

Oh, there's Mew, I guess, kinda

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

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) link

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) link

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) link

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) link

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) link

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) link

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 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

Unwound is so underrated

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

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

ogmor, Thursday, 1 March 2018 16:15 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

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

Simon H., Thursday, 1 March 2018 18:15 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

ahahaha oh my god

imago, Tuesday, 10 July 2018 11:19 (one year ago) link

:D

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Tuesday, 10 July 2018 11:20 (one year ago) link

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

imago, Tuesday, 10 July 2018 11:21 (one year ago) link

enjoy side two of my war lj

princess of hell (BradNelson), Tuesday, 10 July 2018 11:57 (one year ago) link

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 (one year ago) link

four months pass...

I SWEAR I KNOW NOT WHY
THESE EYES HAVE ALWAYS
LEFT ME DRY

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Monday, 10 December 2018 23:04 (eight months ago) link

according to a locked post on Conrad's Patreon, they started mixing #10 last week.

resident hack (Simon H.), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 00:32 (eight months ago) link

That is great news! Has his solo album been discussed anywhere on ILM? A doozy, with mostly 2 or 3 minute songs. Would swap the whole album for three or four well-worked out and longer ToD versions of those sketches.

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 09:55 (eight months ago) link

I had no idea it even existed until....just this second.

resident hack (Simon H.), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 12:59 (eight months ago) link

This reinforces the weird ToD/GbV connection.

resident hack (Simon H.), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 13:05 (eight months ago) link

Ha, it does!

I had no idea it existed either until I stumbled upon a deluxe LP w/ 40 pages of drawings and lyrics in a Basque record store last month. Was very surprised to see it.

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 13:37 (eight months ago) link

That's great news about a new album, I was wiondering when they'd come out with anything again. Conrad's solo album is maybe a bit MOR but very likeable I find.

obnoxious pun (ultros ultros-ghali), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 14:57 (eight months ago) link

'Hills of K-Town' is a great song

obnoxious pun (ultros ultros-ghali), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 14:57 (eight months ago) link

Source Tags was a huge album for teenage me, and I will occasionally revisit it when I'm feeling nostalgic. I kind of fell off with them after that, and never really kept up. Prompted by this thread I'm listening to Worlds Apart now, and...IDK. Can't really get into it at all. I'm pretty sure it's Keely's voice. It feels like not the right voice for what he's trying to do at all. Does it get better later in the discography?

days of being riled (zchyrs), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 18:25 (eight months ago) link

yeah, i'm pretty much right there with you (down to having the same initials, i think?). i loved ST&C, and a show i saw around then still ranks as one of the best shows i ever saw. they were FERAL. madonna is quite good as well. i haven't been able to get into anything since.

Karl Malone, Tuesday, 11 December 2018 18:27 (eight months ago) link

Almost every album after WA is superior. I'd skip straight to Tao of the Dead and see if that strikes your fancy at all.

resident hack (Simon H.), Tuesday, 11 December 2018 18:49 (eight months ago) link

Thanks to Simon for the good advice. Tao is leagues better. Now I'm listening to IX which is really surprisingly quite good. Also, this band is ideal for blocking out office noise.

days of being riled (zchyrs), Friday, 14 December 2018 17:30 (eight months ago) link

IX is like my second favourite of their albums tbh

imago, Friday, 14 December 2018 17:35 (eight months ago) link

Lost Songs is also great and I'm annoyed it's not on Spotify

resident hack (Simon H.), Saturday, 15 December 2018 17:05 (eight months ago) link

three months pass...

On tour again. Anyone seen them recently? Worth dropping 20 bones on?

Simon H., Monday, 18 March 2019 18:28 (five months ago) link

only saw em once in 2011 to a mostly empty club, they rocked, I say go for it because you'll probably regret not going whenever they call it a day

flappy bird, Monday, 18 March 2019 18:50 (five months ago) link

back then it was like half new album, half old favorites, of course they closed with Richter Scale Madness... I remember Surfer Blood opened for them, and I guess most of the crowd came for them because by the time Trail of Dead came on there were maybe 40 people left. Didn't deter them at all, didn't even look pissed or disappointed, just happy to rock for whoever was left.

flappy bird, Monday, 18 March 2019 18:51 (five months ago) link

sold. I've wanted to catch them live since catching that "Mistakes and Regrets" performance on that show Matt Pinfield hosted (lol)

Simon H., Monday, 18 March 2019 18:54 (five months ago) link

they were great on the source tags tenth anniversary tour which uh i guess we're creeping closer to the 20th

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Monday, 18 March 2019 18:55 (five months ago) link

yeah this year marks the 20th of Madonna

incidentally I relistened to the s/t today and while it's badly in need of a remaster, it's still great. "Novena Without Faith" is so beautiful

Simon H., Monday, 18 March 2019 18:57 (five months ago) link

Hate to say it, but they were absolutely dreadful when I saw them a month ago. I don't go to concerts a lot anymore, but I really wanted to see these guys. But It. Was. Bad. A huge disappointment. It was billed as a ToD plays Madonna/ST&C concert. They did play Madonna from start to finish, but bailed after three or four ST&C songs. Not that it mattered: they were horrible. They pulled up a wall of sound that obliterated all melody, everything that makes their songs such great songs. I know Madonna by heart so I know which song follows which song, but you couldn't make out the songs they were playing at times. Too much feedback, too much noise, a great injustice to what makes them so great.

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Monday, 18 March 2019 19:27 (five months ago) link

oh no :/ hopefully they've got that sorted by May

Simon H., Monday, 18 March 2019 19:35 (five months ago) link

Hope so too. You can always go and buy a nice hand-drawn Keely drawing at the merch stand, that's something.

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Monday, 18 March 2019 19:46 (five months ago) link

A buddy of mine saw them a few weeks ago in Vera, Groningen and according to him they were great. Loud, but great.

Marty8501 (Marty Innerlogic), Monday, 18 March 2019 20:12 (five months ago) link

That was the same show I was at :) It was loud, and terrible. The loudness obliterated what I find ToD's strength, which is melody. They did not find that balance, at all. There's no need for them to be this loud. It felt like they tried to obscure bad vocals/bad play by just blasting their songs out there. Plus: bailing three songs into ST&C - my fave ToD album - was nagl, to say the least.

Idk, ymmv, but I was bitterly disappointed by one of the bands I admire most.

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Monday, 18 March 2019 20:25 (five months ago) link

one month passes...

They played well in TO last night - their drummer in particular is great - but the mixing and tone was absurd. Specifically, their lead guitarist was so amped up (both in terms of amplitude and maxing out distortion) that it drowned out everything but those drums! Conrad was literally inaudible. Completely baffling choices. The set was Madonna plus a couple Source Tags tunes, though it took me a full 45-60 seconds each to figure out what those were due to the sound.

Simon H., Thursday, 9 May 2019 12:51 (three months ago) link


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