Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Trail Of Dead Discovers The Weight Of The Sun

Trail Of DeadAustin-based alternative rock band ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead (Trail of Dead) seems rightfully anxious to release its seventh album, Tao of the Dead, on Feb. 8 and 9 (Feb. 15 on iTunes). Who isn't ready for it? Ever since Jason Reece and Conrad Keely started pursuing their indie roots and regained their independence two years ago, they've only gotten better.

Joining Reece and Keely this time around are longtime friend Chris ‘Frenchie’ Smith (producer of the band's seminal 1998 self-titled LP) and indie producer Chris Coady (Beach House, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Blonde Redhead) on a 16-minute opus titled Tao of the Dead Part 2. Part 1 is 11 tracks or chapters, with each track standing on its own or played together as one long song.

The format not only pays homage to Keely's childhood influences but could also resurrect the allure of well-composed albums. There is an art to something like that, an increasingly rare art as most people sample albums one single at a time. That's not to say there haven't been opportunities to sample.

Trail Of Dead Teases With Weight Of The Sun (Or The Post-Modern Prometheus).

The second single released from the upcoming long play album, Weight Of The Sun (Or The Post-Modern Prometheus) seems to have a little less buzz than the first, Summer Of All Dead Souls, which was released last November. The new tease is an equally strong — I'd say stronger — introduction to their new stripped four-piece sound.

Tao Of DeadThere is something to be said for fast-track recordings when masterful musicians enter the studio. Recorded in 10 days, but obviously extensively pre-rehearsed before stepping inside the booth, Trail Of Dead have captured a flair for immediacy. Combined, the two singles set an energized pace for what is likely to be a breathtaking album.

The entire album is hard boiled into a science fiction storyline set in a steampunk milieu. The music can stand on its own, but the art is equally inspired, bridging a 6th century Tao Te Ching into the fantastical future imagery inked by Keely and foreshadowed on a special Tao Of Dead reveal site (check out Conrad Keely too). Along with the art and contents as part of the build up, Trail Of Dead has been sharing roughly produced acoustical snips of the upcoming album.

The one shot bedroom acoustic sampling pales in comparison to the final production. The single Weight Of The Sun starts as a simple melody before drifting into its dramatically rhythm-infused chorus. What the acoustic does do is slip into the melody and lyrics with a spontaneity seldom shown by artists.

No surprise from Reece and Keely. Despite their successes, they have never been ones to take themselves overly seriously even if the idea of resurrecting the rock sympathy stylings of previous decades, complete with a graphic novel, might play that way.

Weight Of The Sun Weighs In At 8.1 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

If Weight Of The Sun (Or The Post-Modern Prometheus) is any indication of what to expect in February, Trail Of Dead won't disappoint anyone. Whatever Keely, Reece, Autry Fulbright, Aaron Ford, and "an unspecified person we will simply call R" composed in Connecticut has all the makings of a riveting compilation. I'm already looking forward to revisiting it all once the album is out.

In the meantime, Weight Of The Sun (Or The Post-Modern Prometheus) is on iTunes. You can also find Summer Of All Dead Souls there. Weight Of The Sun and Summer Of All Dead Souls are also on Amazon.
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