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Music

10 things you probably didn't know about the Postal Service

The Postal Service comes to Hard Rock Live, touring on the reissue of their indie classic 'Give Up'

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The story behind the Postal Service’s Give Up is one of those music industry fairy tales where record labels are saved (long live Sub Pop!), shoestring budgets turn into platinum sales and romantic-comedy type of timing (think dark indie ones like, say, Garden State?) puts the right people in the right places at the right time to create an unforgettable, trendsetting album. Its 10-track offering changed tastes and won hearts, so we thought we’d offer 10 pieces of Postal Service trivia to celebrate their reunion show this week.

  1. The United States Postal Service took issue with the trademark-infringing band name, but all the band really had to do to make things right was play at USPS’s National Executive Conference.
  2. Sometimes you reach such great heights by pinching pennies. Give Up joins standout low-budget albums like the Shins’ Oh, Inverted World as being surprising successes.
  3. Al Columbia was the artist behind the album cover, but he’s better known as the cartoonist innovator of the critically acclaimed graphic novel Pim & Francie.
  4. The Iron and Wine cover of “Such Great Heights” may have been featured on the acclaimed soundtrack to Garden State, but it was the Postal Service’s original version used in the film’s trailer.
  5. The band’s core members Jimmy Tamborello and Ben Gibbard were introduced by Tamborello’s then-roommate Pedro Benito of the Jealous Sound, who had been touring with Gibbard’s beloved project Death Cab for Cutie.
  6. Postal Service was different from the guys’ other music at that time, but super-fans looking to hear Give Up’s formative predecessors should check out the bands Strictly Ballroom and Dntel.
  7. The accompanying poster art depicting the “gaudy apartment complex” was created by Kozyndan, a husband-and-wife artist team, who also have made really adorable art using characters from Katamari Damacy that you can see at kozyndan.com.
  8. Jen Wood, who helped Gibbard turn “Nothing Better” into something special, is now on Tampa-based label New Granada with a new release due out this year. We’re practically neighbors!
  9. Tamborello has stated that Morr Music was a source of inspiration for him when writing the Give Up tracks. The German electropop label has put out records by a range of artists including Lali Puna, a major influence of the Postal Service, as well as current Florida acts like Jacksonville’s Radical Face.
  10. Even though they indeed gave up on putting out a follow-up, Postal Service fans can hear new music on the reissue of Give Up, with two new songs and a full disc of rarities. Reissues are kinda like a spoiled kid on Christmas: He’s pretty sure he’s going to get good stuff but he’s never sure exactly what. In this case, though, the Postal Service rang twice and delivered both times.

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