Source Tags & Codes

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Source Tags & Codes
Studio album by ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
Released February 26, 2002
Length 45:54
Label Interscope
Producer Mike McCarthy & ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead chronology
Relative Ways
Source Tags & Codes
The Secret of Elena's Tomb

Source Tags & Codes is the third full-length album and major-label debut of ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead on Interscope Records. It was released to wide critical acclaim in early 2002 and is generally considered their finest work. The album reached #73 on the UK Album Chart.

Music videos were produced for "Another Morning Stoner" and "Relative Ways", which saw airplay on MTV2.

Recording and production[edit]

After releasing two albums on indie record imprints, Trail of Dead signed a multi-release deal with Interscope Records and began recording a followup to 1999's Madonna with the same producer, Michael McCarthy.[1][2] Their major label budget improved recording quality and allowed intricate orchestral pieces, yielding a sound texture unlike previous records.[3]

The song 'Baudelaire' refers to the French poet, Charles Baudelaire, and 'Days of Being Wild' is named after the Hong Kong film of the same name. "After the Laughter" samples the song "Someday (You'll Want Me to Want You)" written by Jimmie Hodges and performed by Mary Margaret Ragan.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (85/100) [4]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [5]
Entertainment Weekly A− [6]
NME (8/10) [7]
Pitchfork Media (10/10) [8]
PopMatters 9/10 stars [9]
Robert Christgau (dud) [10]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars [11]
Stylus Magazine A [12]
Tiny Mix Tapes 4.5/5 stars [13]

Source Tags & Codes was met with critical acclaim; it received a score of 85 out of 100 on review aggregate site Metacritic, indicating "universal acclaim".[4] Several publications, including Pitchfork, and Nude as the News awarded the album perfect scores. Matt LeMay wrote for Pitchfork that "Source Tags & Codes will take you in, rip you to shreds, piece you together, lick your wounds clean, and send you back into the world with a concurrent sense of loss and hope. And you will never, ever be the same."[8] Source Tags & Codes was later placed at #100 in Pitchfork's list of "The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s".[14] heralded the album as Trail of Dead's "finest record to date and the most blistering, blissful album to be released by anyone in years."[15] Nude as the News stated that throughout Source Tags & Codes "Trail Of Dead make off like indie rock legends at the top of their game".[4] Yancey Strickler of Flak Magazine proclaimed Source Tags & Codes is "an important record, a landmark".

In a very favorable review, Billboard stated that "what makes Source Tags & Codes such an amazing album is how the band teeters on the edge of this implosion but always yanks its songs back from collapse at the very last second."[16] E! Online stated: "There are times when Conrad Keely's scabrous vocals are more grating than ingratiating, but this is mainly stunning stuff."[4] The Austin Chronicle called Source Tags & Codes "an album that absolutely cannot be ignored."[17] Uncut stated: "Compared to so many noisemongers, TOD understand that restraint enables unleashed firepower to be exhilarating and awesome."[4] Blender called it "Another assault of angular, Sonic Youth-style guitar and earnest anger that's more leftfield than most punk, and more engaging than many of [TOD's] post-rock peers."[4] Yahoo! Music UK said of Trail of Dead: "they don't make a better sound than your average bunch of Sonic Youth fanatics, but they make it feel better, make it seem more important, more romantic almost."[18] The A.V. Club also gave it a favorable review and stated that "The group plays imaginative alt-rock with intense passion, and Source Tags & Codes lets the pressure build exquisitely."[19] Almost Cool said that the band members "make use of their obviously higher budget and Source Tags And Codes sounds more rich and layered because of it, but like Modest Mouse with The Moon And Antarctica, they've used these new elements to accent their music, not destroy it."[20] Alternative Press called it "The band's most obviously emo album to date."[4] Mojo gave it a positive review and said it was "Not a crossover record, but invigorating."[4] The Village Voice also gave it a positive review and said that the album "captures the fuzzy-math sound from too many gray-area indie bands--and it rocks hard where geezers like Mercury Rev just drift away."[2]

Among average reviews, Q stated that "...Trail of Dead have reached a point where the need for convention outweighs the joy of using guitars as weapons.".[4] American rock critic Robert Christgau labelled the album a dud, the lowest possible score in his album rating scale.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead. 

No. Title Length
1. "Invocation" (co-written with James Olsen) 1:32
2. "It Was There That I Saw You"   3:57
3. "Another Morning Stoner"   4:33
4. "Baudelaire"   4:16
5. "Homage"   3:29
6. "How Near How Far"   3:55
7. "Life is Elsewhere"   0:55
8. "Heart in the Hand of the Matter"   4:48
9. "Monsoon"   5:53
10. "Days of Being Wild" (co-written with James Olsen) 3:27
11. "Relative Ways"   4:03
12. "After the Laughter"   1:15
13. "Source Tags & Codes"   6:08
14. "Blood Rites" (bonus track) 1:58

"Invocation", "Life is Elsewhere" and "Blood Rites" are not included on the North American release of the album.


  • Conrad Keely - lead vocals (on "It Was There That I Saw You", "Another Morning Stoner", "How Near How Far", "Relative Ways", "Source Tags & Codes" and "Blood Rites")
  • Jason Reece - lead vocals (on "Homage", "Heart in the Hand of the Matter" and "Days of Being Wild")
  • Neil Busch - lead vocals (on "Baudelaire" and "Monsoon")


  1. ^ "Artist Biography - ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead". Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  2. ^ a b Echlin, Hobey (2002-03-05). "Atomic Prog". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  3. ^ "Flak Magazine: Trail of Dead's Source Tags & Codes, 02.28.02". Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Critic Reviews for Source Tags & Codes". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  5. ^ Allmusic Review
  6. ^ Hermes, Will (2002-03-08). "Source Tags & Codes Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  7. ^ Segal, Victoria (2002-03-01). "Album Reviews - And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead : Source Tags And Codes". NME. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  8. ^ a b LeMay, Matt (2002-02-28). "And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead: Source Tags and Codes". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  9. ^ Garrett, Jon (2002-02-25). "...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead: Source Tags & Codes". PopMatters. Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  10. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead". Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  11. ^ Wolk, Doug (2002-02-19). "And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead: Source Tags & Codes : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2008-03-24. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  12. ^ Gwillim, Keith (2003-09-01). "And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Source Tags And Codes - Review". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  13. ^ Tiny Mix Tapes Review
  14. ^ Pitchfork staff (September 28, 2009). "The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 200-151". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved October 1, 2009. 
  15. ^ Womack, Andrew (2002). "...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead: Source Tags & Codes". Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  16. ^ Zaleski, Annie (2002-02-25). "...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead: Source Tags & Codes". Billboard. Archived from the original on 2002-04-09. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  17. ^ Chamy, Michael (2002-04-12). "...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead: Source Tags & Codes (Interscope)". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  18. ^ Watson, Ian (2002-03-04). "And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - 'Source Tags And Codes'". Yahoo! Music UK. Archived from the original on 2004-08-20. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  19. ^ Murray, Noel (2002-03-29). "...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead: Source Tags & Codes". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  20. ^ "And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Source Tags And Codes". Almost Cool. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 

External links[edit]