...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead is putting the finishing touches on its sixth album in New York with producer Chris Coady.

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead is putting the finishing touches on its sixth album in New York with producer Chris Coady. The as-yet-untitled set is due in January via the band's own Richter Scale label through the Universal-distributed Justice Records.

An EP, "Festival Time," will precede the album in October. In addition to the title track, it will feature an unconventional cover of the Replacements' "Within Your Reach" as well as the instrumental "The Betrayal of Roger Caseman and the Irish Brigade" and the dark, riffy "Bells of Creation," which will appear on the album in a different form.

During a break from mixing, group members Conrad Keely and Jason Reece told Billboard they feel revitalized after exiting Interscope, which released three of the group's albums between 2002-2006.

In fact, Keely says he doesn't consider the band's major-label swansong, 2006's "So Divided," to be a proper Trail Of Dead album. "It was almost like an exercise in different pastiches," he says. "We allowed ourselves to be really free with the material. We didn't say no to any ideas. For it being that kind of record, it exceeded my expectations. But it wasn't in the tradition of our making of records, where we have a concept and we're going to be really ambitious with it."

To that end, Trail Of Dead this time around parted ways with longtime producer Mike McCarthy and teamed with Coady, who has worked closely with acts such as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV On The Radio, Foals and Grizzly Bear.

The material previewed for Billboard is indeed more hard-hitting than on the past two Interscope albums, with "Inland Sea" building from a measured, midtempo rocker to a furious instrumental finish and the snappy "Fields of Coal" conjuring an inspirational chorus that Reece says reminds him of the Summer Olypmics. Another untitled track is fast and punky, with an Unwound-style feedback barrage.

"On the last two albums, we were really meticulous recording to click-tracks and doing overdubs," Keely says. "This time, we threw all that out. We learned the songs and all tracked live."

Trail Of Dead isn't planning to tour until early next year, but tonight (Aug. 25) at New York's Santos' Party House, Keely and Reece will perform as a two-piece for the first time in a decade. "We have no idea what we're going to play," Keely says with a laugh. "Maybe we'll just hash out some old disagreements from high school."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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