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Trail Of Dead Trudges Forward On New Album
Bouncing back from 2005's delayed and critically maligned "Worlds Apart," Texas rockers ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead have completed their third album for Interscope.Bouncing back from 2005's delayed and critically maligned "Worlds Apart," Texas rockers ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead have completed their third album for Interscope. The as-yet-untitled set will arrive Oct. 3 and was recorded at the band's Mob House studio in Austin.
Trail Of Dead principal Conrad Keely admits he's still stinging from the events surrounding the release of "Worlds Apart," which was originally due in the fall of 2004 but was bumped to early 2005 to accommodate higher-profile releases from the Universal Music Group stable. The album has sold less than half of its acclaimed 2002 predecessor, "Source Tags & Codes."
"I put everything I had into that record, and recording it was a miserable ordeal," Keely tells Billboard.com. "After its reception I was pretty much ready to retire from music and find another career, convinced that I wanted nothing more to do with making music for anyone. But when we started this new album, which was meant to be an EP, I had a different attitude. Mainly, I tried not to care at all, and approach it with a more 'I don't give a f*ck' outlook."
"Of course, it's impossible for me not to care, and when work got underway with this album I became just as emotionally involved as before, and it was another miserable ordeal," he continues. "But at least I don't work at a coffee shop."
Keely says bringing several guest vocalists into the fray, including the Dresden Dolls' Amanda Palmer and members of the Austin band Brothers & Sisters, gave the new album "a diversity that I like. We used a lot of sounds from sample libraries, like native instruments and the like, and relied heavily on Logic Audio as a compositional tool."
One track, "Wasted State of Mind" is "based around a Tahitian drum rhythm which involves lots of log drums," according to Keely. The drum parts were later re-recorded by Kim Crimson's Pat Mastelotto.
Although he's proud of the band's new material, Keely remains conflicted about how the consumption of music has evolved in the digital era. "We write albums, or things that are meant to be listened to from cover to cover, side A to side B," he says. "But we don't live in that age -- that age is over. I'm as much a victim of disposable culture as anyone else, and my attention span has been shattered as so many shards of glass, with no hope of regaining focus. Our culture is just as fragmented. I think the schizophrenic tone of our new album reflects that."
Details are still coming together, but look for Trail Of Dead to hit the roads this fall with the Blood Brothers. "These days it seems we end up playing older songs more than new songs, but that might change," Keely says. "It's going to be particularly hard playing some of these new songs without the help of the backup singers we used in the recording. I wouldn't mind taking a break from touring all together, and possibly starting a family, somewhere far away like Australia or Venus."