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. The video-game-addled audience at the Boston stop of last fall's Nintendo Fusion Tour focused solely on the group instead of on the Metroid console in the lobby, but the rest of the world isn't quite so interested. With little to no fanfare, radio airplay, or mainstream press interest, 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 -- 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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