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Album Review

Intricate and reflective as well as gripping and raw, Source Codes & Tags marks And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead's leap from the venerable indie imprint Merge to Interscope's major-label territory. It's a seamless transition, mixing the sweeping, fearlessly anthemic qualities of their previous work with a newfound sheen that actually makes the music's earnest roughness stand out more. Sculpted, gorgeous-yet-gritty melodies drive quintessentially AYWKUBTTOD epics like "Another Morning Stoner," "How Near, How Far," "Relative Ways," and the title track. But Source Codes & Tags isn't so much a more accessible version of the band's sound as it is a more streamlined one; the surging guitars on songs like "It Was There That I Saw You" are even more powerful for their economy. Yet the album's more refined sound doesn't prevent the group from expanding and experimenting — driven by a stomping rhythm and a raunchy riff, the dangerously sexy "Baudelaire" is the most straightforwardly "rawk" thing And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead has done to date, while "Days of Being Wild" and "Homage" mix old-school hardcore with sullen, dreamlike passages. The band hasn't forsaken its artiness, either, linking nearly every song with interludes of found sounds and adding strings, accordions, and other unique flourishes to the arrangements. A driving, incredibly solid album, Source Tags & Codes proves just how much more the members of AYWKUBTTOD have to say — they're just as combustible as they were on their debut, but now express themselves with a clarity that makes their intensity all the more breathtaking.

Biography

Formed: 1994 in Austin, TX

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

An unlikely but powerful combination of punk fury and prog rock ambition, ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead were formed in late 1994 by singers/guitarists/drummers Jason Reece and Conrad Keely. The longtime friends originally met in Hawaii before settling in the indie hotbed of Olympia, Washington, where Reece drummed for the notorious Mukilteo Fairies. After relocating together to Austin, Texas, the duo began playing shows as "You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead," eventually adding...
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Source Tags & Codes, ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead
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