In early 2003, The Postal Service, featuring producer Jimmy Tamborello, Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie and Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley quietly released their one and only album, Give Up on the legendary record label, Sub Pop. The electronic “laptop” pop record soon became a cult favorite among indie rock fans, a hit on alternative rock/college stations/campuses, and to date remains the best-selling Sub Pop album since Nirvana’s debut album, Bleach.
The band’s name came after Gibbard and Tamborello mailed each other tapes of music to work on via the United States Postal Service between the end of 2001 and much of 2002 – they eventually met up in person in Los Angeles for a couple of recording sessions in the latter year. Lewis lived near Tamborello in LA, and added her sweet vocal harmonies to Gibbard’s lyrics and Tamborello’s electronic magic before eventually joining full-time as backup-singer, keyboardist, and second guitarist, with Gibbard taking lead vocal duties, along with guitar, keyboard, and drum duties. Indie artist Jen Wood also contributed vocal tracks to the album, and Gibbard’s Death Cab band mate Chris Walla played some guitars and piano. Walla and Tamborello produced the landmark album together, which was more in line with early ’80s new wave pop (such as early Depeche Mode) than the rather dark indie rock of the Death Cab records of the time.
The Death Cab connection did not end there, however, as bassist Nick Harmer was in charge of creating visuals for the live tour The Postal Service completed in the spring and summer of 2003, with elaborate lights and small films running throughout each show.
Both Gibbard and Lewis would go on with their main bands to achieve great success post-Postal Service, with Death Cab’s 2003 album Transatlanticism, later songs such as “Soul Meets Body,” and “I Will Follow You Into The Dark,” Rilo Kiley’s 2007 Fleetwood Mac-esque Under The Blacklight, and Lewis’s solo debut Rabbit Fur Coat from 2006 being among their most critically praised works in the last 10 years.
Now, the Postal Service has reunited and as of this month, has started touring again behind their recently reissued Give Up album, which comes complete with everything they ever recorded, including hits “Such Great Heights,” and “We Will Become Silhouettes,” along with two new tracks, “A Tattered Line Of String” and “Turn Around.” Essentially, it’s a 25-track 10th anniversary deluxe edition, with the original 10 tracks, and 15 extra tracks that include previously released b-sides, including Iron and Wine’s popular acoustic rendition of “Such Great Heights,” and their own rare covers, including John Lennon’s “Grow Old With Me.”
This indie rock supergroup is now among the most anticipated and popular acts in rock, especially on the festival circuit, having just completed their stint at Coachella. The group is set to play Lollapalooza in Chicago in early August, along with a slew of shows it is headlining across North America and Europe between now and then – nearly 20 shows have already sold out. You can get The Postal Service tickets now while they’re hot and keep up with the band’s activities via their official site at postalservicemusic.net. .