(I see that lasting exactly 26 minutes before My Favorite Gothtard says "Nobody puts Baby in the corner!" and swishes his sassy bespoke’d backside back to New York. Actually, it would probably be something closer to "I can't continue to be a contributor to this exercise unless I'm to be included in a revisionist reinterpretation of the historical process of this band's formation and ultimate demise. By the way, Schopenhauer is rad and poststructuralists are completely iconoclastic intellectual despots. And I'm from Jersey and use my expensive education and painfully over-constructed prickly exterior as a lint-free, yet cushy security blanket to cover the fact that I'm a sensitive milquetoast who just wants a real girl to really like me, but don't tell anyone, because it would tarnish my deliberately developed and self-aggrandized reputation as a debauched egomaniacal weirdo.”)
But anyway, back to Trail of Dead proper and tales of Twinkies and Darkness. Alas, I cannot take credit for deducing that the aforementioned Hostess product and darkness are the median sustenance for Trail of Dead because the true coiner was Cindy, in response to a former coworker's hopeless fangirl love for Conrad Keely; and that's a level of unholiness that we're not even going to discuss because Twinkies and lust aren't so mixy in my book. Arsenic and old lace are, though -- which applies to certain things that will not be discussed here, as well as Conrad Keely's illustrative gummylump fantasmagorias. And, “Zingers and Darkness” just doesn’t have the same ring.
So yeah, Jason Reece who once gallantly squired Cindy and myself across the 8th and Red River intersection complete with masterful stopping of traffic and a polite send-off—for the record, we were northbound and he was trotting toward Club de Ville—has recently married himself off. He and his lovely bride are the proprietors of the locally franchised incarnation of the Beauty Bar. Assumptions can be made Conrad is still in “arm’s reach of the black remote,” that Kevin is off doing something that doesn’t involve making coffee for other people [ed note: We all remember when he was the sassy barista at BookPeople, right? NB from Pinkie: No, I think that was just Jason when Little City had the space and he was subbing for D. ed note: Oh, that's right. God, that was a MILLION years ago.], and that a friend of a friend is still dating that new guy who isn’t Carlos D but is playing bass nevertheless.
Somehow, in the midst of this, Trail of Dead slouched toward Bethlehem scoring the best of the best of weird session musicians, and made that record slated to be the one that makes World’s Apart known as the most awesome Trail of Dead record ever. A/K/A: The record before the record that makes friends and people who we see out on random Tuesday nights stupid famous. (See also:Kill the Moonlight.) And I say this realizing, more or less, that Trail of Dead are stupid famous (two nights at Irving Plaza?!), but the Austin perspective is a bit skewed as they still play outside at Emo’s and haven’t yet crossed into Stubb’s territory. Though Trail of Dead are on a major, in the grander scheme of things, they really have yet to conquer the Hot Topic generation, and fortunately for them—and unfortunately for weirdos who expect their musician friends and mentors to languish in obscurity and continue to have “real” jobs as some sort of exercise in indie “cred”—So Divided might be it … even though Trail of Dead quit their day jobs long ago. So we could look at “so divided” as a metaphor for what this record is going to do to Trail of Dead fans, or we could look at it as a meaningless title since titles are public domain and only serve a purpose when you’ve already had a self-titled release.
Dear My Chemical Romance, “Stand in Silence” is how it’s done. It has all the same formulas that you’ve relied on since before the days of “I’m Not
Okay (I Promise)” and are still working, to great aplomb with the new record. Mad excellent ROI, guys. However, what Trail of Dead, et al are doing that you haven’t been able to grasp with Liza Minnelli, the other cast of thousands, or your friend Sara, is to make Art. There’s art made for popular consumption—don’t they call that “public works?”—and art made for deeply private introspective moments—I think that’s called “experimental music” and “IDM”—but then there’s Art that means far more than rocking your new high-lift platinum emo haircut like a cut-rate not-so-dark-side Brian Molko. “I had a band / I had a song.” That’s all Conrad had to say (sing? emote? bleat?) to suck the listener back into Trail of Dead’s Eastside land of discontent at being content with what being a discontented musician is offered via advances and checks that have brought the steady income and clean, well-lighted room of one’s own that most of us take for granted.
And if Trail of Dead continue to build a career on self-referential social criticisms, odes to Baudelaire and Bosch, and media-bomb multi-media manifestos rich with Darger-esque visual collage paraphernalia, the Trail of Dead Land of Make Believe Art Park might yet open. But I bet the rides would be scary. Still, they’d probably have Twinkies. Meanwhile, three years from now, My Chemical Romance—if they’re still together—will be playing the amphitheatre at Great Adventure, back in New Jersey, whence they came, while unsold CDs fill cut-out bins. A larger purpose my not be served by comparing Trail of Dead to the Agents of Glammo (or is it Gloth?), but the same kids will buy both records, so it’s really not too far a stretch…especially not in that move toward monoculture (or lack thereof) that Cindy has been talking about.
So yes, Trail of Dead. Yes, So Divided. Yes, totally awesome Guided by Voices cover that gives us a glimpse at a kinder, gentler Trail of Dead and a window on those guys who are still out on random Tuesdays when they’re not running their scenester bar or at home watching TV. But what, pray tell Mr. Pollard, is a “queen directory?” It wouldn’t be a Rich Girls post without a nod toward The Gay! or a reference to gender politics, so is it not inappropriate for me to ask if a “Gold Heart Mountain Top Queen Directory” is an index of Denver-based tranny hookers with hearts of gold? Totally inappropriate.
Stream the entirety of So Divided at Trail of Dead's Myspace abode. (Twinkies and darkness not included.) Or, check out the following:
Trail of Dead -- So Divided
Trail of Dead -- Gold Heart Mountaintop Queen Directory
What’s the scoop on the job, you ask? Unlike Cindy, my own professional field is totally boring. I work in international exchange and facilitate visa processes. If you’d like to sign up for a completely informal and un-authoritative All About Immigration workshop, take me out to dinner. I also like rock shows. NB—I cannot give immigration advice as I am not an attorney, but I am fully versed in the “What Not to Wear” of getting here and working here in accordance with consular regulations and all rules and policies thereunto appertaining. See? Boring.