This isn't the first time the Austin-based foursome And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, which appears December 4 at the15th Street Tavern, has attempted to play Denver. But the tour that had the band swinging through town last year was ill-fated, to put it mildly: Days after the players hit the road, their van, which was loaded with equipment, was nicked in New Orleans. Shortly thereafter, the label to which the band was signed, Trance Syndicate, went belly-up. These cursed events forced the group with the ponderously gothic name to regroup. They hastened home and wrote new material, which eventually became the LP Madonna. Merge Records, an indie label not known for its roster of blistering noise, found the album artful, for all of its aggression, and agreed to release it. Back in action, the Trail of Dead specializes in early Sonic Youth riffs, blank expressions, flying instruments, black mod mops, melody and madness. To be determined: whether in this post-Columbine pre-millennium tension, these Texans will have the exquisite bad taste to perform their new tune "A Perfect Teenhood," an adolescent murder-for-kicks fantasy. Remember catharsis? -- Amy Kiser
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