This week is all about The Postal Service. We hear from Jimmy Tamborello and Ben Gibbard about The Postal Service, what they're doing these days, running, and other things.
Like all of the episodes of The Sub Pop Podcast, this one is brought to you via the talents of hosts and producers Alissa Atkins and Arwen Nicks. From the Sub Pop Podcast podcast gazebo.
This episode is all The Postal Service all the time. And half Los Angeles (the last half of three halves of Los Angeles—see Episode 5 for the first two halves). For this show, Arwen talked to the founding members of The Postal Service, Jimmy Tamborello in LA and Ben Gibbard in Seattle. Not accounted for in this episode is Jenny Lewis, who is also a member in good standing (if anyone is) of The Postal Service.
The Postal Service
The band The Postal Service started out as Ben and Jimmy collaborating long distance on writing songs, Jimmy in LA and Ben in Seattle (same as you hear in the show). Since they sent music back and forth in the mail, they named their group “The Postal Service.” Get it? (This was in the early 2000s. Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet.)
Their album Give Up was released on Sub Pop in 2003, and, as noted in the show, is one of the label’s better selling offerings, eventually reaching platinum status, meaning over one million units have been sold. Sub Pop released a 10th anniversary deluxe version of Give Up in… wait for it… 2013. This version deluxely combines the original album with live stuff, remixes, covers of The Postal Service songs by The Shins and Iron & Wine, and other types of things I’m not qualified to talk about.
In 2013 the band united (I won’t say reunited) to play some shows, maybe because most of those million people that bought their record and love their music never got a chance to see them in 2003. (They barely did any touring back when Give Up was released.)
A by-product of their 2013 tour was the documentary slash concert film, Everything Will Change.
You heard Ben talk about their almost-cease and desist letter from the United States Postal Service (a/k/a, “the postal service”). It turns out the paper of record wrote an article about that in 2004. Thanks to Al Gore’s efforts the article is still available to us now, 12 years later.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Give Up, Ben and Jimmy made this short documentary type thing, which, if you’re interested in any of this, is more than worth your 7 minutes.
See how Ben got in the band:
In 2013 it was announced that the final show of their 2013 tour would be their final show ever. We shall see.
Let’s talk about Dntel.
Jimmy Tamborello, besides being a member of The Postal Service, is also a solo recording artist under the moniker Dntel.
Dntel put out Life Is Full of Possibilities on Plug Research in 2001. (That record was deluxely reissued by Sub Pop in 2011.) Then came Dumb Luck for Sub Pop in 2007, then a couple of related EPs in 2010, also on Sub Pop. The most recent Dntel thing I know about is Human Voice on Leaving Records available through Stones Throw. For the up-to-the-minute up to the minute, it’s probably prudent to keep an eye on the Dntel soundcloud page.
Arwen tells me, “Here is a photo of Jimmy weaving and a finished tapestry of his on the wall in the background.”
And for fans of small-ish goats everywhere, and/or Dntel, and/or Jimmy himself, (Arwen again): “Here is one of the sweetest pictures ever.”
I’m not sure, but I think that might be a real goat, and I do not think that looks safe.
That is all I know about Dntel. Let’s talk about Jenny Lewis for a second.
Inconspicuously absent from this episode is Jenny Lewis, member of The Postal Service, and notably a very successful and prolific musician in her own right. She was in a little band called Rilo Kiley, has put out at least three records under her own name, and is currently having a band entitled Nice As Fuck.
The movie with Jenny Lewis with Fred Savage that Arwen can’t remember the name of during the show is, of course, the 1989 film The Wizard.
Ben Gibbard, besides being a member of The Postal Service, is also a member of an obscure band from the Seattle area called “Death Cab For Cutie”.
Ben Gibbard likes to run, a lot. Here’s a short interview with Ben in Runners’s World from 2011. It sounds like this is before he started to do the ultra long distance running.
Here’s Ben after finishing his first 100 miler. 100 miles, Yikes!
First 100 miler in the books! I had an utterly amazing, life changing experience this weekend running the Cascade Crest 100. There were highs and lows but I kept putting one foot in front of the other until I arrived back in Easton WA in 25:18:28. I am completely indebted to my phenomenal crew @racheldemy, @sarahmjurado and @grimdetermination as well as my pacers @gretchen_walla and @garyrobbins. I could not have done it without you guys. Thank you!!! Photo by @ethannewberry.
Ben mentions Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, which I’ve always wanted to read, mostly because of the allusion in the title…
Jimmy tweets too.
Both Jimmy and Ben’s instergrams are shown above, scroll up… What else is there?
This is the end. There were so many photos and videos this week, I need to put some of them in the “bonus” section. Consider this the encore.
If you’re Beyoncé this isn’t a big deal (or maybe it is… I don’t really know), but for Sub Pop to have an artist that has a video with nearly 10 million views on Youtube is kind of astonishing.
Of course The Postal Service deserve all of it for creating music that has touched so many people.
I was given this photo of Jimmy Tamborello and Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney among many, many other things) at what looks like a music festival. If I’m not mistaken, Phil Ek is in the background there.
And here is the GIFfy in a jiffy from John Atkins. Thanks again, John!!
To reiterate, I am not a Canadian, and neither is Arwen, allegedly.
Have a good day, please.
Songs from this Episode
- Mudhoney - Good Enough
- Chastity Belt - Joke
- Dntel - The Distance
- Dntel - Rock My Boat
- Dntel - Dumb Luck
- Dntel - After Parties
- Dntel - Life Is Full of Possibilities
- Deaf Wish - Calypso
- Tacocat - Bridge to Hawaii
- Daughn Gibson - Shatter You Through
- The Postal Service - Such Great Heights
- The Postal Service - Nothing Better
- The Postal Service - Brand New Colony
- The Postal Service - Natural Anthem
- The Postal Service - A Tattered Line of String
- La Luz - Black Hole, Weirdo Shrine
- Chastity Belt - Drone