By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
Okay, so, being the clichéd high school brat I was, I first gave . . . And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead (please don't call them that, by the way. Trail of Dead, please. Or maybe AYWKUBTTOD? Thanks!) a go based purely on their name, which the band still refuses to wholly confirm the origins of—the most common explanation attributes it to something about an ancient Mayan ritual chant. Or was it Egyptian? And you're a liar if the name doesn't capture your attention, too. Liar.
The Austin band has a reputation for being a totally destructive group in more ways than one: their music is loud, dramatic, (purposefully) rough, intricately layered and—over time—has developed an almost orchestral, anthemic vibe. Some might even call it confidently obnoxious. And in juxtaposition with Conrad Keely and Jason Reece's hazy, dreamy vocals, the end result is this near-epic (oh, yes, I used the word epic) amalgamation of hot and cold, loud and quiet. Just when you think you're done reeling over the initial astonishment of the staggering boom of their tracks, you start noticing the little things too, which only sends you staggering further. Oh, and I guess their tendency to completely annihilate their instruments onstage helps with that whole destructive label too.
After their first two full-length records garnered attention from major labels, Trail of Dead's 2002 Interscope debut, Source Tags & Codes, amassed critical acclaim, even managing to pilfer the somehow coveted 10.0 from Pitchfork. Seriously. Look up the review for an example of a musically induced e-orgasm, rivaled only by the essay that is their review for Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.
And opening for Trail of Deadis the easy-to-hate-but-give-'em-a-chance Blood Brothers, whom I once saw a naked man spin in circles to at the Smell some years ago. A roommate of mine once compared lead singer Jordan Billie's vocals to Cartman, but the, uh, "post-hardcore/art-punk"—double sigh—band's tracks are a remarkable blend of commercial appeal (featuring actual melodies!? You don't say!) and well . . . the pretentious.
. . . And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead with the Blood Brothers, Celebration, and Brothers and Sisters at the Glass House, 200 W. Second St., Pomona, (909) 865-3802; www.theglasshouse.us. Sat., 7 p.m. $20. All ages.