Dead Letter Office

Dead Letter Office

Dead Letter Office would be essential listening even had it only included the five songs that make up the 1982 Chronic Town EP. That it also features the band running through Velvet Underground songs among other b-sides and rarities makes it an abundance of riches. Chronic Town hadn’t even been part of the original LP; it took the CD era for it to be appended to Dead Letter Office. The chance to hear higher-fidelity versions of “Wolves, Lower,” “Gardening at Night,” “Carnival of Sorts (Boxcars),” “1,000,000,” and “Stumble” is one worthy upgrade. The band’s run-through of Aerosmith’s “Toys in the Attic”—the b-side of “Fall on Me”—is an odd take on an arena-rock standard, while covers of The Velvet Underground’s “There She Goes Again,” “Pale Blue Eyes,” and “Femme Fatale” aren’t just the band’s speed but also their reason for existing. “Windout” appeared on the soundtrack to the Tom Hanks film Bachelor Party, while country singer Roger Miller’s “King of the Road” had been the b-side for the “So. Central Rain” single. 

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