The Postal Service

There is truth! Love is real! The Postal Service are getting back together! The Ben Gibbard/Jimmy Tamborello duo barely spent any time touring behind their excellently starry-eyed 2003 sad-bastard synthpop classic Give Up, but the album went on to become massively cult-beloved anyway. For years, we waited on a follow-up, and one never materialized. And based on what Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello have been saying in interviews lately, we probably still won’t get a new album, but we might get a chance to see them live. The Postal Service now have a website, and the only thing up there is that graphic you see above. All we know, then, is that a reunion is happening; we don’t yet know what form it’ll take. But it’s probably not a coincidence that this news is coming out so close to the Coachella lineup announcement.

UPDATE: Billboard confirms the bands is planning a deluxe edition of Give Up and multiple live dates, including Coachella.

Comments (88)
  1. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

      What? Oh, were you acting like a heartless dick? Sorry, that always happens.

      • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

        • I’m generally critical of anything that puts soft vibes in place of real songwriting (there isn’t much chillwave or similar stuff I can tolerate and most quiet indie folk does nothing for me (though NMH, Elliott Smith, Cat Power, a few other are some of my favorite artists ever). I even mostly hate Death Cab. That being said, I’ll defend Give Up all day. I think what I find cloying about the same sort of music that you’re talking about, I find to be balanced and made thoughtful, compelling, and just generally beautiful by Jimmy Tamborello’s electronic flourishes.

        • Neutral Milk Hotel is quiet?

        • So does loud=deep? Tell us more about your amazing psychologies and abilities to judge groups of people with absurdly broad strokes. You seem to have an amazing understanding of all music, especially ones you don’t listen to because you need lyrics and musical ideas blared at you for them to seem interesting. Talk about irony.

          Music is like food in that one should take in a steady diet of variety. I can tell you that I don’t fall into your well-researched sample set of people that quickly laud anything, and I certainly don’t
          mostly listen to “folky” or “soft electronic” music.

          That being said, Give Up was a great album for its balanced and seamless blend of IDM and “indie rock” sensibilities. Others have tried beforehand and many have been influenced since…it’s rare to hear it come together without sounding contrived or corny. Give Up has its moments of trite lyrics and sing songy sappiness, but the overall delivery quickly gets you over the squirmy parts and there are so many subtle characteristics that grow in time. It’s full of creative samples, it’s got some tasteful guitar tones, plenty of manipulated synths, distorted drum sequences…and there’s so much going on between the obvious. It’s crafted far beyond some sugary auto-tuned bubblegum electro-pop record a kid can throw together in his parents’ basement with presets from plug-ins and cheeseball references to fireflies and oceans…it’ more organic than that, while maintaining a special grit and that uniquely happens when artists like Tamborello mess with audio. coombine that with the Ben Gibbard of that time, and you have a special album. It may not be for you but you can’t say it has no value. I don’t like Rush but I realize why they’re important.

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          • Keep trying, little guys. There’s a point to this argument somewhere.

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          • If this is a discussion, NMH is “quiet”.

          • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

          • So, to summarize the thread:

          • you lost me at “because being a louder band involves so many more elements at which one may excel.”

            try telling that to the “technically brilliant” jazz or classical (or countless other genres) virtuosos you just completely discounted. you clearly don’t know much about creating music.

          • Gershwin, are you lost? I’m not talking about any of those genres. We’re talking rock, folk, and pop bands with fairly straightforward song structures.

          • Stereogum: the official site of jazz and classical enthusiasts

          • Why so snappy? There has to be an easier way.

          • Nah, snappy is easiest around here.

          • The turtles and I agree that the act of classifying music in the distinct categories of “loud” and “quiet”, and further, attempting to identify defining characteristics of each, is a fruitless endeavor. This is a problem because we like fruit.

          • The point was never to merely classify music into categories of loud and quiet. The point was to highlight how the actual and perceived quality of songcraft is affected by one’s approach.

  2. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

      • Okay, I went too far with “beeps,” but I am not taking back “boops.”

      • I wanted to reply to your long post but there was no “reply” button. But here goes: Why do you have to over analyze it? What’s wrong with just making good catchy songs? This isn’t about re-inventing the wheel and who cares if it has electronics and can’t “rock their way out of a paper bag?” The songs are good. End of story.

        • You mean, “Why do you have to analyze it?” You are calling into question the very idea of thinking about art at all (ironically, on a site that exists for that purpose), which is something that people who don’t know what art is like to do. Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living, ” but I can see that you’re already daydreaming, so by all means, enjoy your random assortment of 192 kbps Britney Spears and John Mayer mp3s.

  3. Yes, it’s pretty much all but confirmed that they’ll be playing Coachella, but — and not to be the constant cynic — who here thinks seeing them play live on a stage as big as the main one or even Outdoor Theatre is actually going to be a really great experience? Gibbard isn’t really known to have an astounding stage presence even with Death Cab, and I can just imagine it will be two warm bodies standing on wide floor with an occasional Jenny Lewis guest spot to liven it up.

    Give Up was a great album when it came out, but I listened to it a few weeks back as I began anticipating this news, and I have to admit that in 2013, most of the simple electronic blips don’t age well, especially when you take into account this is the band who spawned the likes of Owl City into the world.

    • To clarify, I’m not against it, but I’m setting expectations to have my mind blown at a reasonably lower level than I did for say Refused last year or DFA1979 the year before. I went into Mazzy Star and ATDI expecting a lot more, and a year later, I forget either even happened.

    • that record is very poor indeed. a couple of good singles, of course, but that’s it. I’ll name maybe 20-30 better albums released in 2003.

      • do it. good luck not going overly mainstream, overly pitchfork, or too pompous and obscure in your listing now though. I’m ready regardless. bring it.

        • Obscure? No, i’m pretty mainstream guy. So, in no particular order.

          Elephant. Speakerboxx/The Love Below. Chutes Too Narrow. Hail to the Thief. Boy In Da Corner.

          The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place. Ghosts of the Great Highway. The Disintegration Loops II/III/IV. You Are Free. Rounds.

          Radio Amor. The Meadowlands. Frengers. The Black Album. Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts. That’s already 15.

          Guitar Romantic. Dear Catastrophe Waitress. 6. Lesser Matters. Transatlanticism.

          O. Happy Songs for Happy People. Streetcore. Transfiguration of Vincent. Wonderful Rainbow. Fever to Tell.

          Michigan. Room On Fire. Mount Eerie. The Lemon of Pink. Keep On Your Mean Side (though not sure about this). 30!

          also, man, what a year..

          • To bring back things to what’s really important, Dead Cities, Red Seas & Losts Ghosts is fucking epic.

          • Favorite M83 record.

            You mention Transatlanticism. I always figured that album plus Give Up went hand in hand. Gibbard was on the same lyrical tear at the time (read: he was writing really good lyrics).

            I saw Death Cab on the Outdoor Stage at Coachella in 2004 and it was VERY entertaining. However, that was 9 years ago. Ben is a lot older and whatever Jimmy does for the band live may indeed end up being boring live. But there is something magical about seeing a band knowing they’ll only be playing songs that are 10 years old.

            Everything on Give Up is timeless in my book. I likely don’t relate to it as much as I did years ago, but I’ll be damned if “Brand New Colony” didn’t nail down the video game sound that so many bands in the later half of the 2000s adopted so quickly (Neon Indian, Crystal Castles, etc.)

          • Room On Fire? More like your pants are on fire.

          • “just kissed my baby” owned you on that list, visiblenoise. admit when you are owned. u got owned. it was pretty bad.

            let’s also not forget the criminally underrated Songs Ohia album Magnolia Electric Company. Also, Hearts of Oak and Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re gone and the first BSS album.

            Give Up is still a good album.

        • Its wasn’t even the best duet-album-by-two-guys-from-other-bands-with-a-lead-song-about-dying-in-nuclear-fallout released that year, add Hymie’s Basement to the list.

  4. Man, so much negativity, I think this is great! There’s nothing mediocre about that record, it’s a beautiful idiosyncratic thing and I for one am super pumped about this.

  5. I love the album, think it’s aged very well. That said, I am not excited for this. I just can’t imagine it will be good.

  6. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  7. The last Dntel record ruled..
    Tamborello isn’t exactly a one hit pony, I have faith in him to create something worthy of the name.

  8. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  9. By no means is Give Up a complete album……A few duds exist.

    However, they are responsible for creating some all-time classics that will forever remain close to my aching, midwestern heart.

    The Postal Service needs money?

    Not exactly breaking news.

    • “There’s no mail today due to the holiday, but the Postal Service still finds a way to deliver — The story coming up on INDY News at Six…”

  10. Well this is a pleasant surprise.

  11. Dissenting be damned. I’m excited for this!

  12. I’m also excited and pitching my tent in the land of the pleasantly surprised. Live performances would be cool, for sure, but I’m really hoping the release another album this year. Then we could just assume that the third one will be in 2023.

  13. I would love to get excited for this, but Give Up didn’t exactly blow me away. A couple gems, a couple duds, as others have already said. It’s interesting to see very negative assholes complain about getting downvotes for being negative assholes. There is a way to disagree or voice your opinion without being condescending or snobby or accusatory.

    • I downvoted you because you named yourself after the worst NBA point guard in the last ten years.

      • what do you mean “Named myself after”? And I can think of plenty worse.

        • I refuse to believe the real Smush Parker would be smart enough to understand how the internet works, let alone turn on a computer.

          Also, I’ve watched a lot of Lakers games with Smush playing the point and well, I hope he’s having a great time working the counter at Taco Bell.

    • That’s nice in theory and all, except it doesn’t exactly hold true. People down vote for no reason at all. They down vote without making a comment. They’ll stalk your user ID and down vote just because they’ve decided they don’t like you, even if they agree with what you’re saying. And they certainly don’t JUST down vote negative assholes.

      You’re correct, there is a way to disagree or voice your opinion without being condescending or snobby or accusatory. I’ve made that same point myself. on more than one occasion And if you don’t share an opinion with someone that doesn’t necessarily mean that either of you are being a negative asshole. Unfortunately, people use the down vote to be just as condescending, snobby or accusatory as they do with words. As a system, it’s fairly entertaining and it does serve to hide the comments from consistently dickish troll types. But it has not intrinsic value beyond that and it’s about the farthest thing from fair imaginable.

      • I mostly agree with you. I was definitely over-generalizing. The upvote/downvote system is very bizarre and becomes some sort of popularity contest. It’s not always fair. Sometimes it’s downright mean. I guess I was talking about the people who constantly say belittling and negative things and then are shocked when they receive negative feedback. You know exactly the sort I’m talking about. I’m all for disagreement and debate, but there is a way to do it without being an asshole.

  14. They should have Discovery co-headline.

  15. Put Jenny Lewis in the touring band and I’m stoked!

  16. Do we live in a world where Owl City fans will accuse them of ripping him off? I sure hope so.

  17. i just read this whole thing and its absolutely demented.

  18. oh please..whatever..who cares..its so nauseatingly “suburban hip”

  19. Interesting thing about Postal Service and Give Up is that in the coming decades, pretentious music snobs will still be arguing about their relevancy and influence (pro and con) with the same heated debate going on right here–key words being “coming decades”. I argue and will be arguing as one of the pretentious ones on the side of “relevant and influential.”

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