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. It is often cited among fans to be 'Trail of Deads best album, however, the band continues to deny it to this day, claiming that their best album is the one they are currently working on. [1]

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]

Source Tags & Codes was recorded in Cotati, CA and mixed in Nashville, TN. The album had a budget of 150 000 dollars.[2]

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. The song "Homage" is a homage to Unwound. On the day "Homage" was recorded, producer Mike McCarthey woke Keely up that morning by throwing cold water in his face for him to be aggressive enough to record the drum track.

In the song "It Was There That I Saw You": "Keely had intended to conjure up the intoxicating thrill of living in Austin Texas in the mid-nineties, before America had gone to shit. The inspiration came from a girl he used to work with that he had a crush on, and several late nights spent in the company of people on drugs" [3]

The title of "Another Morning Stoner" refers to getting an erection in the morning or smoking marijuana. The song is inspired by Keelys relationship with his ex-girlfriend who was raised Christian. "It recalls a moral dilemma he underwent when he realized that eventually theology would drive them apart more than anything else, because of his strong negative feelings towards organized religion."[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 85/100[4]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[5]
Alternative Press 7/10[6]
Blender 4/5 stars[7]
Entertainment Weekly A–[8]
NME 8/10[9]
Pitchfork Media 10/10[10]
Q 3/5 stars[11]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[12]
Stylus Magazine A[13]
Uncut 4/5 stars[14]

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."[10] Keely considers this rating preposterous, as "it is clearly nowhere close to a perfect album".[5] Source Tags & Codes was later placed at #100 in Pitchfork's list of "The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s".[15] 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."[16] 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". Kludge included it on their list of best albums of 2002.[17]

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."[18] 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."[19] 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."[7] 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."[20] 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."[21] 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."[22] Alternative Press called it "The band's most obviously emo album to date."[6] Mojo gave it a positive review and said it was "Not a crossover record, but invigorating."[23] 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.".[11] In The Village Voice, Robert Christgau awarded the album a "dud" ((dud)) rating,[24] indicating "a bad record whose details rarely merit further thought."[25]

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 "Reviews for Source Tags & Codes by ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead". Metacritic. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  5. ^ Phares, Heather. "Source Tags & Codes – ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead". AllMusic. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead: Source Tags & Codes". Alternative Press (164): 72. March 2002. 
  7. ^ a b "...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead: Source Tags & Codes". Blender (5): 110. March 2002. 
  8. ^ Hermes, Will (March 8, 2002). "Source Tags & Codes". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  9. ^ Segal, Victoria (March 1, 2002). "And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead : Source Tags And Codes". NME. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b LeMay, Matt (February 28, 2002). "And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead: Source Tags and Codes". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead: Source Tags & Codes". Q (187): 104. February 2002. 
  12. ^ Wolk, Doug (February 19, 2002). "And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead: Source Tags & Codes : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on March 24, 2008. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  13. ^ Gwillim, Keith (September 1, 2003). "And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – Source Tags And Codes – Review". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  14. ^ "...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead: Source Tags & Codes". Uncut: 111. April 2002. 
  15. ^ Pitchfork staff (September 28, 2009). "The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 200-151". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved October 1, 2009. 
  16. ^ Womack, Andrew (2002). "...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead: Source Tags & Codes". Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  17. ^ "The Best of 2002". Kludge. Archived from the original on July 22, 2004. Retrieved November 25, 2015. 
  18. ^ 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. 
  19. ^ 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. 
  20. ^ 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. 
  21. ^ 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. 
  22. ^ "And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Source Tags And Codes". Almost Cool. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  23. ^ "...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead: Source Tags & Codes". Mojo: 114. March 2002. 
  24. ^ Christgau, Robert (June 10, 2003). "Consumer Guide: Eating Again". The Village Voice. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  25. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Key to Icons". Retrieved January 30, 2014. 

External links[edit]