Classic Album Review :: & You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead — Source Tags & Codes

I fought with myself for a time about which one of the 10+ albums to write about. Minus one album, I fucking love everything this band has released, and the one album is not bad. It just doesn’t hold a candle to everything else this band has done. So, I thought I’d write about the first album that I picked up from this band. Unrelated, but this also stands as my favourite from this band.

On top of having the longest name of any band I revisit on a regular basis, & You Will Know Us By the Trail Of Dead (from here on referred to as Trail of Dead) is one of the most reliable bands that I have ever come across. They brilliantly fuse punk and folk, without sounding too pirate based. Somehow, their recording tone is always huge — larger than life, really.

For just being three main musicians on the recording, it’s a bit amazing. Yes, this album boasts having over 13 musicians in the studio, but the band was only a 3-piece at the time. And, regardless of how many people were in the studio: the drums are what make everything so bombastic. The kick drum in particular permeates every noise layered over it- almost like it is defying anything to try to drown it out.

Guitars are a beautiful drone. Yes, there are probably many layers of distortion and lead riffs, but they are used to create a beautiful miasma that guide the orchestrations from part to part. “How Near How Far” is a brilliant demonstration of this. Though the bass slides up and down the scales, and the guitars jingle through several notes, it creates this level of noise. Yes, there is definition. You need to find it, however. Rarely does an album challenge the listener this much to realize just how beautiful it is.

Now, when I saw challenge the listener, I am not saying that it is off-putting or not pleasant. I am simply pointing out how from afar it seems like a simple pop-rock album with strained vocals. It’s when you sit down and listen deeper that you notice the nuance and complexity that comes with this recording.

Second favourite opening for an album ever, by the way. The only album that takes it over is the album So Divided that Trail of Dead released 4 years later. The intro track is only 1:29, but it complexly disarms the listener before the chaos starts. If you wanted to discredit that track as the intro, the first song (It Was There That I Saw You) kicks the listener in the face right away. It is nothing short of an assault on the senses. As hard as it kicks in, the song moves into a lull by the 1:00 mark. It is an amazing piece, the the song as a whole has an almost classical orchestration.

I could gush over every song individually, but I should really think about wrapping this piece up. My end thoughts on this recommendation are as follows: if you know the band, this album is nowhere near surprising. If you don’t already have it, I question your taste in music. If you DO NOT know this band, do yourself the greatest favour ever and listen through this masterpiece.

Also, you’re welcome.

HEY! Did you know that I have released a book?

It’s a reedit of You’re Not Dead with a bunch of other short stories all wrapped up. The length has ballooned out to a nice 205 pages. It’s really inexpensive, and available most places that you would order a book from! Links here, but let me know if you find more and I will update accordingly!

IT'S OUT!

I still don’t have my copy, but the second edition of You’re Not Dead is now out on Amazon!

It’s triple the length!
Triple the good!
Way less spelling errors!
Has a sexy black cover on the physical versions!

Get yours today! Help me pay off debts that pressing this caused!

Classic Album Review :: Alexisonfire — Self Title

I just noticed that this album was almost 20 years old. I was in grade nine when then came out, I was just discovering scremo/emo, ska, and skate punk, I was very embroiled in the metal scene. Then, when watching some music video program way too late at night, I saw the debut for Pulmonary Archery. I did not get it, but Holy Fuck I loved it.

What’s absolutely brilliant about this album is how simple everything is if you remove the guitars. Yes, the guitar lines are incredibly ornate and demonstrate what can be done in punk music, but everything else is simple and fantastic! The bass drives the songs and keeps the structures attainable, the drums do little more than drive the beat, and the singing is just simple enough to get melodies trapped in your head forever. Even the screams are perfectly placed to ensure that you notice them.

Now, let’s get back to those guitars.

My prime example of how incredible the guitars are is the song Counterparts and Number Them. The parts individuly, though weird, are not difficult. The impressive part is in knowing they were ever not entwined. They bounce between being lead and rhythm every bar, and they never leave the listener bored. The best part about the guitar is that nothing, not even the drums, cast the dullest shadow.

There is something magical about how simple the drums are. They just compliment the music and never become overbearing. I think every not-real drummer in my high school could play Pulmonary Archery. Not as a slight! It just leant itself to being replicated.

Now I sound like an arrogant asshole so MOVING ON.

I started to write this, decided against it, and then discovered that they were inspired by Quicksand. I love that band to no end, but never hear anyone talk about them. I was forced into writing this because of that fact alone.

Seeing as there has been nothing this hard hitting in the punk-scene since Refused, and this is a fantastic tribute. I recognize that there have been other near-hits in regards to this sound, but nothing is near as iconic.

Torn

I have two pieces broken into pieces that just need to be organized. Both projects are about music, because of course they are. Both pieces I think are very important because the stories around each of the bands is strangely satisfying.

Band one is the good ol’ Canadian group Alexisonfire. I love this band, and I think they have done so much for music as a whole. Not to mention that they solidified genres, inspired millions, and created (arguably) one of the biggest acoustic acts in Canada to ever exist.

Band two is …And You Will Know Us By the Trail Of Dead. Not only does the band have one of the greatest names of all time, they have 25 years of history, released two of my favourite albums, and are just amazing through and through. Also, Wasted State Of Mind is quite possibly one of the greatest songs ever recorded. PLUS they just announced a new album recently. I cannot say that I’m too excited about that, seeing as I haven’t really cared for one of their albums as a whole since So Divided (2006).

So, that is a breakdown of what is dividing me right now. I am ignoring the fact that my book gets released this week because I could just write endlessly about that and I want to keep everything excited and everyone interested.

ON A SIDE NOTE: I am looking for a publishing agent. For an example of the work I have completed, read the book. I have another idea in the works already, and I hope to have the next book ready by this time next year.

I am going to post my two favourite songs from the albums I want to write about below. If you have an opinion on which one I should write about, let me know!

This week.

I am letting you know release dates as I learn them.

I just confirmed layout today, and printing is supposed to be starting with the book being available on Friessen Press’ website. Copies will be sent out through Amazon soon after, but distribution may take a while still.

I will state this again, in bold letters this time: I WILL BE POSTING LINKS FOR PURCHASING WHEN I GET THEM.

If anything comes up in the time before proper release, I will let you know!

Music Review :: Yell the Burden — Lost & Found

I know I usually write about stuff that came out forever ago, but this album just got noticed. It may have just been released.

Anyway, this band is fantastic. I played with them several times, and they are bred from Krhaemer. Krhaemer being one of the first bands that I ever saw. What’s amazing about this band is how they make being ridiculous sound normal. I am getting ahead of myself.

This album has some of the cleanest vocals this band has produced. The vocals are like a less annoying Choke. In fact, this band is like a less annoying several things. Take the best things that the classic punk scene could produce, and distil it all together. That’s right: the best of all the best. Now make it better.

Dillinger Escape Plan meets Belvedere meets Choke meets Fall of Troy. That would be the easiest way I could describe this band.

OH! AND SINGLE KICK! somehow. Seriously, how? The drummer is literally inhuman. When listening to the EP knowing that it’s single kick, you can fathom it. If you had no idea, you assume he used double. To substitute the potential extra hits, his hands strike toms between beats. His hands are so bloody fast.

Have I mentioned the bass yet? One would be put to talk to find jazz with bass this complicated. For the best example, listen to Leaving Shippinsburg and thank me later. The entire thing is just scales and melody’s that shouldn’t be possible.

…and you know that ever part of the band is fantastic if I talk about the ridiculous guitar player last. Considering he is the lead vocal last I saw them, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around playing and singing the songs.

At the end of this short review where I don’t point you to a song but beg you to enjoy this 20 min EP, I am reminded why I usually stick to writing about classic albums. I can delve into political movements and the greater ecosystem that is the music industry. I can examine trends and maybe recommend a track that was ignored by charts and fandom’s. It doesn’t change the fact that if you are a punk fan OR a math-metal fan, you need to listen to this album. You need to explore this bands full back catalogue, but this album is a fantastic place to start.

Download or just listen here.

I miss you…

I hate that I miss you.

You were only in my life really for about a year. I knew you before, but as passing friends. We had about 10 hours of conversation saved up over the five years that we knew each other existed, and about 5 hours of that was sarcastic quips and mockery. We started talking more after we both left hospital and discovered that we had sickness in common.

You were my unicorn. I had not heard, at the time of our meeting, anyone else who had ever lived with viral meningoencephalitis. Not to belabour the point, but to find someone in my circle who had survived the first year within my circle was absolutely mind blowing. I can not express how important just knowing anyone else who was diagnosed was.

I am not saying we are the same in any way. You would hate that. You always expressed how comparison of sickness was pointless, and I carry that idea with me to this day. You would be proud of the idea that I haven’t done so since you last talked to me about how pointless it was.

The last conversation we had, we laughed about how messed up the world is. We seemed to share an appreciation for the humour that comes with this life. You were part of the inspiration for my continued writing.

Anyway, it would be ironic if I used your passing back in November for advertising. To push your name as a banner for my book is the most horrible and disrespectful thing ever. That is why I have not mentioned your name up to this point, and I won’t by the end of this post. I promise. That is the least I could do.

I did, however, dedicate the book to you. To your family. To your friends.

I am re-releasing the first one, fixed up and not as horrible. I am putting all the short stories I had released before the turn of the decade in a form you could have read. That I wanted you to read.

You always gave me shit for not having them in print. I hope this is a decent dedication to your memory.

Happy Birthday.

The Book

My plan is to make this my last post until the release, just because information for the next week will be slow and minimal.

Yes, I am reissuing the book I released a few years ago. With that said, I am going to be more than doubling the length. I fixed so many stupid and dumb mistakes that were in the initial release. I filled out at least two chapters, and added the first year of anewsin releases (plus a couple more). The digital copy will be the same cover as the original, but the hard/soft covers will be black with white writing.

This book marks the initial release of the anewsin volumes that I plan to release every couple of years. The format that I used is a lot of fun to write, and it lends itself to releasing short stories with keeping some sort of cognizant flow.

I AM STILL RELEASING STORIES ON HERE EVERY TWO MONTHS.

The released versions will be perfected and cleaned up further than what I have on here. As for editing, I plan on using Luka’s talents for as long as I can. At the very least, she makes everything so much easier to read because I tend to ramble and get lost in my own thoughts. (Not to mention that I make stupid mistakes…)

Anyway, the next post I make will be updating everyone with links and further information.

KEEP IN MIND:
all Patreons who donate for more than two months, regardless of amount, get their names in the thanks at the end of the text!

So, please: tell everyone who might be interested! I will do my best to keep you up-to-date with information when I get it! I love you!

Music Review :: Dear & the Headlights — Small Steps, Heavy Hooves

I was torn whether I label this as “Classic” or not. The album is over ten years old, but no one knows this band. I find this a travesty, though I do understand.

Small Steps, Heavy Hooves is a fantastic album by Dear and the Headlights. It was released through Equal Vision records at the WORST possible time ever. On Letting Go by Circa Survive was getting all the marketing and this album was being released in a post-Transatlatism world. This album did not have a chance, but really should be loved by everyone.

It is the perfect combination of pop rock and (I don’t want to say) country (but I have to). The guitar lines can either be simple and magical, or complex yet griping. The guitar players are some of the best you can find in this style, and that ability does transcend through every other member of the band. Nothing is mind blowing levels of complex, but nothing in distasteful in anyway.

The “weakest” link is the vocalist. He jumps between notes, and his transitions are rarely clean. I put weakest in quotations because it is actually more of a stylistic choice as opposed to a lack of ability.

CAN I GO BACK AND JUST TALK ABOUT HOW FANTASTIC THAT BASS PLAYER IS?!

I am going to put this song as the sample at the bottom, but the bass line in “Sweet Talk” is possibly the coolest bass line I have ever heard. Jazzy, but perfectly encapsulates the sound of the entire album. I don’t say this enough, but I think this bass player actually makes this band.

Anyway, this album changes tone with every song. Not in a whiplash kind of way, more just ensuring that you won’t be bored with future listens.

Jesus, I’m rambling. I’m sorry, I just love this album so much.

My point is simply that I love this album, and I really feel like it was under appreciated. It still holds up, and I know that people would love it. Recommended for fans of Death Cab for Cutie or any other of the myriad of bands that came around that time. Perfect the remember that sound, but find something that sounds completely unique.