There's something about an emo band that talks shit about emo -- the genre dedicated to self-deprecation -- that seems overly appropriate. The Letter Kills are that band. The Southern California five-piece is highly vocal about its disapproval of the notion that being classified as emo makes one popular. Sure, that doesn't make much sense, but give the Letter Kills a break -- they're merely a rock band. Cloudy insight aside, the emo-phobes write catchy songs with a pop-punk flavor. Vocalist Matt Shelton's adoration of classic country vocalists (i.e., Johnny Cash), and guitarist Timothy Cordova's love for melodic metal make for a blend that appeals to both rockers and Top 40 fans.
These musicians may claim Pedro the Lion as a musical influence, but they are much more like hardcore favorites Bleeding Through when it comes to contagious onstage energy that gets the crowd into a fervor. At the Warped Tour last summer, fans at the Letter Kills' stage created an insane circle pit that didn't stop despite the desert heat. Luckily for those who couldn't handle the sunshine in June, the band will be playing indoors this time. So, no excuses. Not even from the emo kids.