TOUR: Dead Letter Chorus

Not to be confused with Dead Letter Circus (you’ll get a surprise there), Aussie folksters Dead Letter Chorus have just announced a small number of shows in support of their sophomore album Yearlings, which is released on the 26th of August. Dead Letter Chorus infuse folk style instrumentation with strong, simple rhythms, and have a special strength in their vocal melodies. Sound quite nice? It is.

Check them out if they’re passing you by.

16th Sept – Speakeasy @ The Villa, Perth
30th Sept – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne w/The Hello Morning
1st Oct – Kings X Hotel (FBi Social), Sydney
6th Oct – Old Museum, Brisbane

Not sure about it all? Take a listen to one of the more popular singles from the release: “Run, Wild”.

FEATURE: An open letter to The Living End

Hi Andy, Chris, Scott,

How’s it going? I hear you guys are doing pretty well, especially with the new album – I can’t wait to pick it up on Friday!

Anyway, I wanted to tell you guys about someone. His name is Alex Hingston. Conflict of interest here: yeah, he is my best friend, but he is also the most naturally talented musician I personally know, and the biggest The Living End fan I’ve ever met.

This is a person you’ve had a huge influence on. Since early highschool, he’s become incredibly skilled at drumming and playing bass (both guitar and double-bass), and the number of times I’ve visited and seen him jamming his way through your back catalogue are countless. This is a person who lines up hours before your gigs to get a top spot. This is a person who owns your DVDs, your albums, and knows all of the b-sides you’ve recorded. This is a person who has introduced hundreds of people to your music through amazing school showcase performances. This is a person who stayed up ’til midnight to stream The Ending Is Just The Beginning Repeating, even though he had to leave for work the next day at 7. This is a person who has 28 videos where he covers your songs, uploaded on his YouTube channel (two of them are of your latest tracks, “Machine Gun” and “The Ending Is Just The Beginning Repeating”).

This is a person who will be driving for four hours to see you guys play in Canberra in September.

I’m writing this because I know firsthand how much it would mean for my friend to get to meet you guys. Even just to have a chat. Maybe to even have a little jam with you at soundcheck. Possibly to play a song with you on stage… – well you can’t blame me for trying, right? ; )

Alex has nothing but love for you and your music. I know you can’t just let anyone backstage because they say they’re a massive fan, because that gives an expectation to other fans too. All I can hope is that you see how much of an impact you’ve had on his life, and give him a chance to meet you somehow when you play in Canberra.

Enough of my words. If you (Andy, Chris, and Scott) have actually read this, thanks for your time. Here’s just one example to support what I’ve said: you’ll find many more uploaded on his account.

And don’t worry, I’m not trying to gain any leverage by publishing this here – I only get about 20 hits a day anyway. I just figured that writing here is my best chance to get you to see this.

If by some incredbile chance you’re keen to make this happen, send me an e-mail: jeremy.stevens@live.com.au

FEATURE: Albums Of The Year – 2010

2010 was one of those odd years where I can’t say I listened to a whole heap of new albums. For example Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs only got a few spins, despite how good I think it is, just because I got distracted I guess. Anyway, without further ado – my top few releases of 2010, and some not from 2010 too.

Album of the Year: Los Campesinos! – Romance Is Boring

I think I knew months ago that this would be my favourite. RiB displays LC!’s true talent in crafting amazingly evocative, relatable, indie-pop/twee music, and the size of the band (they’re an 8-piece) adds another dimension to their music. From start to finish this album doesn’t let up, and I really see it as the culmination of their hard work on previous releases. A brilliant album, well worth trying.

Notable mentions:

The National – High Violet

Birds of Tokyo – Self-titled

Dead Letter Circus – This Is The Warning

Delphic – Acolyte

Los Campesinos! – Alls Well That Ends [EP]

Johnny Foreigner – You Thought You Saw a Shooting Star But Yr Eyes Were Blurred With Tears and That Lighthouse Can Be Pretty Deceiving With the Sky So Clear and the Sea So Calm – EP

There are other releases out there I listened to, but not enough to really appreciate or develop a real opinion of – so I’ll leave them out.

The rest of the year was spent appreciating Johnny Foreigner’s two albums, which are absolutely brilliant. They have cemented themselves as one of my favourite bands in the past three months, and hopefully will one day get the recognition they deserve. I also discovered the rapper P.O.S. who is amazing, with a great delivery and provocative lyrics.

For those interested, the past twelve months on Last.fm show my top artists as:

  1. Los Campesinos! – 2471 plays
  2. Karnivool – 1354 plays
  3. Johnny Foreigner – 1264 plays
  4. The National – 959 plays
  5. Radiohead – 853 plays
  6. Birds of Tokyo – 787 plays
  7. Dead Letter Circus – 664 plays
  8. Bloc Party – 523 plays
  9. We Are Scientists – 325 plays
  10. Death Cab For Cutie – 258 plays
  11. Thom Yorke – 253 plays
  12. Queens of the Stone Age – 231 plays
  13. Josh Pyke – 223 plays
  14. Modest Mouse – 198 plays
  15. P.O.S. – 182 plays

Happy New Year everyone!

REVIEW: Dead Letter Circus – "Disconnect And Apply"

Dead Letter Circus’s debut album, "This Is The Warning", is going to be released on May the 14th, and on the announcement of their album launch tour (through late May to early June) I thought it seemed appropriate to introduce them to those of you who haven’t heard of this excellent band. It’s been a long wait for many fans for their first LP, but when it’s in the hands of Forrester Savell (who’s worked with Karnivool and The Butterfly Effect, the former for which he produced a brilliant sophomore album) I’m sure they needn’t worry too much.

After a small exploration of their work, it’s evident that Dead Letter Circus are heavily influenced by the growing number of quality Australian hard rock and progressive acts that are emerging. Which isn’t a bad thing at all. So if you’re a fan of Cog or Karnivool, this might just be your kinda band.

"Disconnect And Apply" opens with a flying guitar riff and pounding drums. Right off the blocks and the song seems to be going at 100 miles an hour. Building up to an expansive chorus, there is a great deal of talent evident in the vocal melodies, which lift the song up. Moving between the rushing verses, the song leaves you hanging just for a moment, before one last explosive chorus. Tying it all up, Kim Benzie yells "See you at work on Monday", before fading out. It might come in at just over 3 minutes, but it’s enough. The song doesn’t feel like it’s cut short. This is 3 minutes of quality music.

Whether they’re touring near you or not, I urge you to give Dead Letter Circus a go. Even though "Disconnect And Apply" won’t be on it, I really think (and am hoping that) "This Is The Warning" could be a landmark point in another great Australian band’s career.

Score: 9/10

Grab a free download of "Disconnect And Apply" here.

Worth checking out are both their new song, "Here We Divide", which you can stream on their website (just scroll down a little bit for the post), and "The Space on the Wall", which you can watch here. Watching Luke Williams play the drums with bread rolls and what appear to be leeks is kinda funny. It’s a good song too.