Letters Have No Arms have packed their bags, put their travel hats on, and moved to a new land!

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

The difficulty of being And You will know Us by the Trail of Dead

One truly has to feel for And You will know Us by the Trail of Dead
When you start off (around 1995), everyone loves you, you don't have that many fans, but the ones you have adore you. You're known for your incendiary (i.e. they often destroyed their instruments at the end of shows) live shows, and make a few incredible albums, culminating in (major label) Source Tags & Codes, famously awarded a 10 by Pitchfork.

And in truth, what the hell do you do after that?


Blow it all on coke and strippers?

Play one final show in which you not only destroy your instruments, but burn and snort their ashes?

But instead of succumbing to inane rock clichés (and perhaps the easy way out), the Trail of Dead continued, forced to come down from their high pretty fast with their (significantly) less well received follow-up albums. That same Pitchfork now gives you a 5.5 and a 4, for So Divided and Worlds Apart respectively, and suddenly you've become Weezer. Your sound is now described as 'overblown', 'bloated', and you've apparently entered 'November Rain' territory.

So they started their own label, did some other stuff on the side and made another album (on their own label this time). Said album will probably be released towards the end of the year, but they just released a taster in the form of the Festival Thyme e.p.

Buy it from insound


Jeremy said...

You know? I really like this new material. Throw out all of that history you just recounted, take the songs on their own terms, and there's some very fascinating stuff here.

e static said...

been a fan of the band for awhile, as well as a townie, so its been pretty easy to follow the career w/o following the hype. these songs are strong, always admired their songwriting, and the structure shows maturity in my opinion. guess thats what happens over 13 years ---

Steven B. said...

I've loved them right from the start, their first self titled album and Madonna are two of my all time favourite albums. I thought Source Tags & Codes was somewhat overrated (and that Pitchfork 10 probably fucked them more than it did any good), but you're both right, they've been a consistently fascinating band, while live they're just incredible. I hate to see such an amazing band face such neglect now. They deserve far more (attention/hype/respect) than what they're getting...