And you will know us by our incredibly long name

The Austin quintet known as And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead—commonly referred to as simply Trail of Dead for short—are due to bless us with their seventh full–length studio album titled “Tao of the Dead.

The Austin quintet known as And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead—commonly referred to as simply Trail of Dead for short—are due to bless us with their seventh full–length studio album titled “Tao of the Dead.” The record is going to be released by their very own Richter Scale Records in North America on Feb. 8.

Trail of Dead made their debut in the music world in 1998 with their self-titled album, which was released on the label Trance Syndicate. The independent label—now deceased—was co-founded by King Coffrey, the drummer for the popular Texas band Butthole Surfers.

It is rather difficult to speak about Trail of the Dead without covering one of its most interesting and talented members. British born frontman Conrad Keely is a huge source of Trail of Dead’s creativity that drives the progressive punk band forward into new realms. Keely, and the group’s general ability to fluctuate between their instrumental duties, directly speaks to their acclaimed art rock talents. It is hard to say where Keely’s influences are concentrated because he has lived everywhere from the northern trenches of Olympia at Evergreen State to the depths of southeast Asia in Thailand. He is also a part of the Austin country-cum-folk group Brothers and Sisters.

“Tao of the Dead” is a record that is a unique throwback to what the true meaning of an album used to represent—the constant melodic groove and comfort—just as one would experience through the smooth transition between the ebb and flow of a tide. Keely, in an interview with Spin late last year, shed some light on the upcoming release of their next album.

“It’s the way I listened to albums when I was a kid, seeing as some of my favorite records were Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon,’ Yes’s ‘Relayer’ and ‘Close to the Edge’ and Rush’s ‘Hemispheres,'” Keely said. “I always liked listening to records that were just a continuous piece, like an orchestra or a symphony.”

Helping bring life to the vision that Keely has of creating an album that is more on the old-school side, the producers of this work were presented with a unique challenge. However, “Tao of the Dead” is graced with the production help of Chris “Frenchie” Smith, who also helped to produce their debut record, and Chris Coady, the producer for groups like Beach House and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The LP is split into two parts and—filling that nostalgic hole in Keely’s side—they are recorded with different tunings. Part one is in D, and two in F, and—just as an old record serves its purpose by acting as a book being read aloud as a continuous stream of thought—part one is divided up into 11 tracks that flow into each other just as well as the chapters of a book would do. Part two, masterfully produced by Coady, is a monstrous 16-minute long track that is comprised of six movements. The album was recorded in only 10 days this past summer in El Paso, Texas, at Sonic Ranch’s recording studio.

“We wanted to record it fast—really fast,” said Keely. “Many of our records have been painful to make and I…wanted to have fun. That approach made the whole record sound more spontaneous, fresh and quick to deliver. There’s no waiting around—[the sound] is immediate.”

Despite being known for starting their songs by slowly building up to their tracks’ crescendos, fans are going to be pleased to hear that on the new release, there are songs that do just that…and ones that don’t. “Summer of All Dead Souls”—the track that was released last November to originally help promote “Tao of the Dead”—is an example of a song that is claimed to be out of character for this group. It starts with an opening “get-right-to-the-point” drum line followed by a ear-smashing array of distortion, then proceeded by Keely yelling his lyrics that seem to color between the lines of global issues, ones revolving around the economy and what not. Regarding the lyrics of “Summer of all Dead Souls,” Keely had this to say to Spin:

“[It’s] inspired by a documentary I saw about China, or, as they’re calling it these days, Chimerica. It illustrated the ongoing struggle between the third world and the first world.”

“The Tao of the Dead” provides a terrific display of a surprisingly old band that has—without a doubt—something still to prove. ?