...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead were formed in late 1994 by singers/guitarists/drummers Jason Reece and Conrad Keely, longtime friends who originally met in Hawaii before settling in the perennial indie hotbed of Olympia, Washington, where Reece drummed for the notorious Mukilteo Fairies. After relocating together to Austin, Texas, the duo began playing shows as "You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead," eventually adding both the conjunction and the ellipsis to the band's name. The pair also recruited guitarist Kevin Allen and bassist/sampler Neil Busch, thus transforming the group from an indie two-piece into an arty quartet. After issuing a live cassette on the local Golden Hour label, AYWKUBTTOD -- already legendary in indie circles for their anarchic concert sets -- released their self-titled full-length debut on Trance Syndicate in early 1998. Following the label's collapse, the band moved to Merge's roster and issued Madonna in the fall of 1999.