FeaturedXI: Bleed Here Now

July 15th, 2022


…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – XI Bleed Here Now – First Impressions of Austin, TX band’s 11th LP

Does everything Trail of Dead do have to be so epic?  Yes.  Yes it does.  Forget the Quadrophonic studio sound.  Forget the orchestration.  Forget the lyrics.  It’s all really just one big epic noise, woven through 22 tracks that ebb and flow, with darkness and light, beauty and fury, that aims to gut you and leave you writhing on the sidewalk, left to drown in your cold, cold blood.  The music always hits hard even when the pop and beauty are evident as they are throughout.  My take on their modus operandi I interpret as their desire to either pummel the listener into submission with the might of their wrath regarding their heavier moments, or lull the listener into a deceptive trance with their beautiful ones before decimation. Their albums are always dark and weighty stabs of brutal excess, but I mean that in the best possible way.  This one is no exception.  On one hand, there’s the melodic pop sounds of ‘Field Song’or ‘Penny Candle’, complimented by the sludgy yet heavy psych rock of 70s influenced songs like ‘No Confidence’, and rounded out by the beautiful acoustic balladry of ‘The Great Divide’ or the orchestral and string laced ‘English Magic’. Bleed Here Now pushes seamlessly through different influences, genres and periods of time in rock music, while sounding cohesive all at once, and still all very much classic Trail of Dead. And just when you thought you’ve heard it all, there’s the grandiose and triumphant sounding Golden Sail or Contra Mundum, or the full on 60s brit pop influenced anthem “Salt In Your Eyes” which is sure to please your die hard indie rock fan but also fans of classic The Beatles or Queen. Somehow, it all just works, and the album exemplifies Trail of Dead at their most creative to date, while still being undeniably melodic and catchy in classic TOD form. Quite frankly, Bleed Here Now really has it all, something for any true music lover.

My recommendation…This album should be played straight through without interruption and at maximum volume, through a set of higih quality speakers or headphones to do it justice.  You’ll rock, you’ll groove, you’ll cry and swoon.  The album elicits extreme emotion that puts the listener through joy and trauma simultaneously. All just one crushing epic movement. I was transfixed listening to its glory.  Ultimate Progcore and a modern day take on Classic Rock. A very good listen and another outstanding chapter to the bands illustrious career. And don't let the 1 hour and 22 min run time intimidate you. Yes, it’s long and dense and requires patience at times. However, it absolutely deserves your strict attention, is well worth your time, and before you know it, you'll be hitting Play/Repeat all over again.


By Jason Gordon
Jason Gordon image

Austin’s …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead announce their first quadraphonic surround sound studio album – XI: Bleed Here Now – due out July 15, 2022 via Dine Alone Records in North America and Century Media in Europe. The new LP is their 11th, was produced by Trail’s own Conrad Keely and Jason Reece alongside Charles Godfrey who also produced 2020’s X: The Godless Void and Other Stories, and was mastered by Scott Sedillo and KamranV at Bernie Grundman Mastering. XI: Bleed Here Now is QUARK encoded to play in both stereo and Regular Matrix quadraphonic sound.

XI: Bleed Here Now follows January 2020’s X: The Godless Void and Other Stories – an album that also marked the band’s 25th year together. Trail of Dead were supposed to spend 2020 touring with their newly assembled five-piece live lineup in support of X and celebrating their career milestone, but were sidelined by the pandemic. After the shock wore off and months of very little to do, they decided to start working on a new album. Looking to recapture the Golden Age of rock and give the listener a more immersive experience, they connected with KamranV who has been working with spatial sound since the early 2000’s and introduced them to QUARK – a plug-in that makes creating an album in quadraphonic sound possible. While this takes place during the mixing stage, the intent led to broader recording decisions, for example setting up the mics with the idea they could mix them into four channels when tracking Tosca String Quartet for the live string arrangements on the opening theme “Our Epic Attempts” and the string performance on “Millennium Actress,” which also features the band’s old friend Amanda Palmer. When doing the vocals for “Growing Divide” they brought in Spoon’s Britt Daniel, with Keely adding, “…we thought how cool it would be to have our friend Britt Daniel come in to sing one of the harmonies, so that we could have four different voices separated out between two stereo mixes.”

XI: Bleed Here Now bridges the gap between artistry and technology, giving listeners an immersive and transportive experience. “Art has a role to play in the upcoming decade(s): it needs to point humanity towards solutions. Our hope is that by expanding the ways we listen and hear; we expand our own inner (my parents would say spiritual) potential for the problem-solving to come,” commented Keely. 

The first Two Singles “No Confidence” and “Salt In Your Eyes” from the forthcoming LP can be streamed below.