As the major-label feeding frenzy continues over bands that flaunt more hair dye than a local PTA chapter, more and more groups that should have experienced their growing pains on the indie circuit are finding themselves launched into the big leagues at Warped Tour velocity. Count Letter Kills among the not-ready-for-prime-time players. The quintet coalesced in 2002, when vocalist Matt Shelton left Texas for sunny SoCal climes and immediately hooked up with guitarist Timothy Cordova and drummer Paul Remund. With little to no fanfare, radio airplay or media attention, Letter Kills released its major-label debut, The Bridge, last July. Depending on whom you ask, this low profile might have something to do with Bridge's similarity to the latest efforts from other bands saturating the airwaves -- Brand New, Story of the Year and Thrice, for starters -- or its stubbornly offbeat (but welcome) influences: AC/DC slam-a-thons, coiled springs of pop punk, and vicious metal lightning rods.
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