A full two years ago, I raved about a little band from Olympia called Letters. Their music featured simple melodies played by complex and unique instruments. Vocals, too, focused on patters that caught the ear and pulled a listener in. It was this combination of elements that made them so intriguing. And intriguing they were, are and will likely continue to be as we speed forward into the future. Their latest effort is simply titled “A Free Sampler” and, true to their nature, it includes plenty of grit and catch, an abundance of lo-fi and pomp, and just enough spacer interludes to make the listener question.
Letters, too, have always been a band centered around brevity. They create these minuscule masterpieces that are over in under two minutes. “Pock” comes in at 82 seconds, and it’s an absolute surprise to see a few topping 4 minutes and one live track, the closing “Canned Fruit Excerpt” at a whopping 6:47! Then again, their music lends toward experimental creativity and folk improvisation would not seem too uncommon in a live setting.
“A Free Sampler” hints at all the things I fell in love with upon first hearing In Case We Lose What We Have. And it should, as it is a mix of live tunes, interludes, and full songs created by the band over their few-year-existence. In that time they’ve pieced together five albums, and seemingly countless compilation contributions.
They relate themselves to underground greats like CocoRosie, Mount Eerie and local (to me) favorite Karl Blau. And while all these RIYL are totally fitting, Letters is so much more than a mere reference and relation. Their music is truly unique, and they do an exceptional job creating it to be just so. Their lo-fi experimental folk meanderings are entirely refreshing, and when Joshua and Alexis add dual vocals, perfection is achieved.
A Free Sampler, featuring 20 songs from Letters’ collection of work, is available as (no surprise) a free download on BandCamp.
Download: “Pock” by Letters
Download: “You Make Me Feel (Like The Island I’m Not)” by Letters
[audio:101020-letters-you-make-me-feel-like-the-island-im-not.mp3|titles=You Make Me Feel (Like The Island I’m Not)|artists=Letters]
Download: “Debts (feat. Eleanor Murray)” by Letters
[audio:101020-letters-debts-ft-eleanor-murray.mp3|titles=Debts (feat. Eleanor Murray)|artists=Letters]
Download: “Owls (Part Two)” by Letters
[audio:101020-letters-owls-part-two.mp3|titles=Owls (Part Two)|artists=Letters]