Is now finally out. Meaning: you can buy it online. We did all covers for our side. Our Poppet cover is on the last post (Poppet covers us on her side, too! It’s like they used to do on split 7″‘s in the 90′s!) and here’s another. Something we never ever thought we would do. But sometimes you get so upset and the lyrics of pop radio songs start to make a whole lot of sense.
There’s always this idea that things will get said on the road. We’ll do things and then tell people about them. But, alas, doesn’t seem to happen. So here are some brief words about this last tour: the kindness of friends and fans is stunning. People really did us well this time around. So many great venues, bands, and people putting us up in their homes. So appreciated, there’s almost too many to name, so hopefully you know who you are and you know how much that meant to us. The tour was maybe the loosest Letters has been in years – it being a stripped down line-up with a small repertoire for most of it, we tried out a lot of things (new and old) on the road, sometimes successfully and sometimes…not so much. Six people played in Letters at different points and every night was a little different. We played some really straightforward shows and some really performance-based odd shows. There were flower burials, lipstick smearings, on stage haircuts, yarn connections, many crown bestowings, not to mention all the amazing things we did with Poppet.
It’s good to be home. Expect some Northwest shows with the more guitar-driven line-up of Edmond Lapine and Ben Hargett in the months to come. And there will be an Olympia Timberland Library show in May when our favorite Letter (Alexis Wolf) returns from her time abroad for a couple months.
Here’s a song of our tour split tape with Poppet, soon to be released to those of you that didn’t catch us on the road.
Another round of the road. And, this time, with our dear Poppet. Shows are almost totally booked and can be kept up-to-date on over here. Some details are still falling into place. Facebook event is made, tour flyers go out tomorrow. This is something good.
What can you expect this time around? I think it will be a variety show. Trying to fit as many genres into one set, perhaps? No theme, just a little bit of everything. Danielle Rodeo Warhola will be along for the whole thing, Molly (Poppet) will be playing on songs here and there, Ben Hargett and Edmond Lapine will be playing the Northwest shows. Ben and Edmond make it rock a little more than I’ve heard Letters rock in a while. It’s nice. Outside the NW might be a little sparse instrument-wise, but hopefully we’ll be constantly finding new ways to make it interesting. Will probably be getting a little weird along the way, but we’ll see what comes. Ideas are overflowing, but time is getting close, so some things might need to get put on hold for next time.
We’ll also have Letters/Poppet split tapes! Coming just in time for tour. Along with a bunch of other cool handmade merch. Many projects and interesting things in the works. We’ll also be doing some performance art and dance routines for Poppet’s sets. Come to the Olympia and Portland shows if you want to see (former Letter) Bob Schwenkler work his amazing choreography for Poppet songs! It’s pretty awesome. He’s the best.
So, dear west coast friends, we’ll see you soon.
When I first read Gertrude Stein’s Useful Knowledge, it changed how I looked at words. It might have been one of the first times I thought about performance and what words mean when you say them out loud and don’t just read them on a page. Though perhaps a challenge to read too much of at any given time, her work serves as a constant inspiration for me. A reminder to embrace the absurd, look at the words we use in a different way, and (most of all) to always do what you want and make the art you want to make.
With all that build up, here’s just a little something. A small passing moment.
is my very favorite Carter Family song. And, when America Salutes the Carter Family was first coming together, I showed it to Ariel Birks and we ended up doing a cover of it together. The album just came out and we’re proud to sit alongside such a fabulous line-up. I like Markly’s liner notes of this song: “There are so many fantastic musicians in my neighborhood that I could have easily done this entire project here. Take for instance Joshua James, AKA Letters, and his friend Ariel Birks, whom I ran into while walking to band practice one fine summer day. We walked over to my bandmate Sara’s place where they sat in the dining room, opposite the laundry room, and they cranked out this little number at the dinner table. What a song! And Ariel sings like a bird.”
All the Adventures to See Them I Will was reviewed in the new issue of Performer Magazine that came out today. Not on their website in full quite yet, but can be viewed on the PDF they have up (page 22 if you’re interested). Here’s some of it…
“What’s clear and fruitful from this album is the band’s ability to master a variety of arrangements and sounds. The lo-fi folk suits Letters well, but songs like “Holiday” and Musk of This Ink” share touches of electro-acoustic and gentle experimental noise, bringing out James’ and Wolf’s singing, brewing a storm you get caught in, but can’t help to sway and dance to. Letters are lyrically influenced by poetry: the track “Rachel” is a beautiful, sea shanty song of paralysis and worship. “Rare Beast” closes the record with an electronica beat and muffled lyrics that form a docile ocean of dream-pop ambiance. Like a telegram or that rare personal letter in the mailbox, this band is something to take in, digest and treasure.” –Performer Magazine
Our 2009 collaborative album with If It Ain’t Breakfast Don’t Fix It, Scattered Areas Where a Thousand Follow in Likeness, is now sold out in the physical realm, so we’ve decided to give it away for free on our Bandcamp. I listened back to the first few songs while opening at work this morning and was pleased to find that I still really like this album. So it makes me even happier to say, “yes, please take it. It’s enjoyable.”
Our dear fellow Letter, Danielle Rodeo Warhola, has always said it to be her favorite and got really upset when we sold out of the copies we’d brought on our last tour when we were just a couple shows in.
It got a few really nice reviews when it came out, Foxy Digitalis gave it a 10 out of 10 and said it was like being in a building that’s about to be demolished (which means ‘awesome’ when refering to music, but is actually a very terrifying situation), Fensepost called it brilliance (which was really flattering), and Slug Magazine said that we had the right idea. Those are the ones that I remember in the moment.
In other news, I saw the dear Ms. Kendl Winter today in Olympia, back from seven weeks of tour with The Blackberry Bushes and she said that Mr. If It Ain’t Breakfast Don’t Fix It himself will be back in the Northwest soon. Which absolutely warmed my heart.
“The DIY folk of Letters works almost too well with the wild noise of If It Ain’t Breakfast. The collective has created something outstanding that can only be dubbed lo-fi noise folk… I said it for the last album and I’ll say it again: pure brilliance.” -Fensepost