The Postal Service is an American electronic indie pop band composed of vocalist Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie and producer Jimmy Tamborello of Dntel, Headset and Figurine.
The group formed after Gibbard contributed vocals for a song called "(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan" from Dntel's album Life Is Full of Possibilities. The song sparked an EP of remixes by other artists, such as Lali Puna, The Flaming Lips, Safety Scissors, Barbara Morgenstern and Superpitcher, and was so well received that the two artists decided that further collaboration was in order.
The band's name was chosen due to the way in which it produced its songs. Tamborello wrote and performed instrumental tracks and then sent the DATs to Gibbard, who edited the song as he saw fit (adding his vocals along the way), sending them back to Tamborello via the United States Postal Service.
The band's debut album, Give Up, was released on February 18, 2003. Several songs on the album feature guest vocals from Jenny Lewis, the solo artist and lead singer of Rilo Kiley, as well as vocals from indie rock musician Jen Wood. Dntel and Chris Walla produced the album. Walla played the guitar and piano on several tracks. Though both artists' main bands were still active at the time, The Postal Service supported its full-length album Give Up, with a successful concert tour and has stated its intention to tour again in the future. The album was the Sub Pop label's most successful release since Nirvana's debut album Bleach. The album's most well-known single was "Such Great Heights", which was featured in advertisements for UPS and Kaiser Permanente. The song was later covered by Amanda Palmer, Ben Folds, Brack Cantrell, Confide, and Iron & Wine. The latter version appeared on the soundtrack for the film Garden State, as well as a commercial for M&M's.
In 2004, the United States Postal Service sent the band a cease and desist letter, citing its trademark on the phrase "postal service". After negotiations, the USPS relented, allowing the band use of the trademark in exchange for promotional efforts on behalf of the USPS and a performance at its annual National Executive Conference. Additionally, the USPS website sells the band's CDs. In 2007, "Such Great Heights" appeared in the background of the "Whiteboard" advertising campaign for one of the federal establishment's private competitors, the United Parcel Service.
In January 2006, Josh Melnick and Xander Charity, who had produced the "Such Great Heights" music video, created a commercial for Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) and Intel using similar footage. While strikingly similar to the music video, the commercial did not contain imagery of the band or a recording of its music. On January 19, 2006, Gibbard stated on the band's website, "It has recently come to our attention that Apple Computers' new television commercial for the Intel chip features a shot-for-shot recreation of our video for 'Such Great Heights' made by the same filmmakers responsible for the original. We did not approve this commercialization and are extremely disappointed with both parties that this was executed without our consultation or consent." The band did not take legal action against Apple or the filmmakers.
In August 2006, a purported demo from a new Postal Service album, The Importance of Being, appeared on the Internet. Tamborello dispelled rumors about the song having anything to do with Postal Service.
On June 22, 2007, it was revealed that The Postal Service had begun work on a new album, though the specifics of the release date were ambiguous. Gibbard stated, "We're slowly starting. We're crawling right now, and whether that crawl turns into a walk remains to be seen. But we'll know more towards the end of the year. I've just been touring so much and trying to find time to make it happen and make our schedules line up." Tamborello added, "We're talking about wanting to finish an album by sometime next year, because we have to work with Death Cab's schedule and stuff. I definitely want to do another one."
On February 29, 2008, Spinner released an article stating that The Postal Service may not release a new album. Ben Gibbard stated, "Jimmy and I are still throwing ideas back and forth, but as time goes on, we find ourselves busy with our own music. ... We have some stuff, but it's been difficult to find the time and the drive to do the record. I'd love to finish it at some point and maybe even do some performances. If it's meant to be, it's meant to be."
In May 2008, Gibbard stated that he and Tamborello were unlikely to release another album "before the end of the decade."
In a December 2008 interview with Rolling Stone, Gibbard laughed off suggestions The Postal Service
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