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Performer Notes
  • Full performer name: And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead.
  • And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead: Kevin, Conrad, Neil, Jason.
  • Additional personnel: Julie Pomerleau (violin); Clay Embry, Carolyn Cremona,
  • Jimmy Burdine (horns); Steven Hall (drums).
  • On 1999's MADONNA, the Austin, Texas-based noise-rock ensemble And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead further hones its sharp sonic attack. As the group's first and only outing for the Merge label (recorded before being picked up by Interscope), MADONNA sounds like a test run for Trail of Dead's lauded SOURCE CODES & TAGS, with caustic guitar squalls washing over propulsive rhythms, creating mountains of sound. "Mistakes and Regrets" surges forward like one of Sonic Youth's most rocked-out tunes, while "Mark David Chapman" evokes a more epic Fugazi with its simmering sense of urgency. In keeping with its unpredictable nature, the quartet also offers up the exotic, eastern-tinged mood piece "Children of the Hydra's Teeth" and the dreamy, ominous "Aged Dolls." Along with SOURCE CODES, this fierce, restless record is essential Trail of Dead listening.
Professional Reviews
Spin (3/00, p.151) - 8 out of 10 - "...[Kicks] sheets of head-melting skree equal parts Texas rawk swagger and Pacific Northwest postpunk thunder. Everyone trades instruments...on divine screamers that aren't above driving the occasional melody with a buried xylophone..."

Q (8/00, p.96) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...An earnest, intense punk-metal racket which nevertheless rewards close and repeated listening....Engaging stuff."

Uncut (8/00, p.102) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Their music, a scrapyard of whining feedback and tumbling riffs, draws heavily on SISTER-era Sonic Youth..."

Alternative Press (2/00, pp.76-7) - 4 out of 5 - "...one of the more spirited post-punk outfits....assaults listeners with an unbridled blast of sweet noise....They're full of adrenaline and they know how to channel it - the dark melodies that enhance the experience are just icing on the cake."

Magnet (1-2/00, p.65) - "...flickers between fiery-yet-polished punk that burns blindingly bright and dramatic, film-score incidental mood music....absolutely bracing....MADONNA rocks."

Melody Maker (5/30/00, p.56) - 4.5 stars out of 5 - "...13 reconfigurations of what song-writing is capable of, rock functioning on a dizzy mix of the immediacy and instinct and an almost abstract expressionist stroke....an unimpeachably beautiful album for the end of the world-listening..."

Mojo (Publisher) (7/00, p.101) - "...It has its top-flight moments....'Perfect Teenhood', MADONNA's best track, ends proceedings on a cacophonous high, with a cheery string of [expletives], and a better indication of what this soon-to-be great band is capable of."
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