Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Best Band Ever*

*according to me, at this moment, subject to change

(yada yada witticism yada yada observation blah blah) and so The Postal Service is the Best Band Ever*
I'm not actually sure how I heard about this band, perhaps it was sometime in freshman year when somebody exposed me to them, though I can't remember who (and I wouldn't give them credit even if I did.) Anyway I just thought the myth of them, or what I was told at the time that they had never met but collaborated only through mail was like the coolest thing ever. I had never heard of Death Cab for Cutie and certainly not Dntel so I didn't recognize the "indie superbandness" of it all, what I knew then was that they had a kind of minimalist beeping electronic sort of futuristic sterility, as well as the distant lyrics which was very appealing to me.

The first song I think I stumbled upon of theirs (was that english?) was There's Never Enough Time. I suppose it was around one of those times that work and school stress as well as emotional b.s. was just suffocating and the calming pessimism of the track and the lyrics repeating:
In due time.
we'll finally see
there's barely time
for us to breathe.
was kind of soothing.

I then picked up their album Give Up from one of my friends and probably listened to it for like a week straight. And though a lot of their songs seems to be about pain and emotional distance I really think Such Great Heights that it is one of the more romantice and awww songs. I mean these lyrics
I'm thinking it's a sign
that the freckles in our eyes are mirror images
and when we kiss they're perfectly aligned
And I have to speculate
that God himself did make
us into corresponding shapes
like puzzle pieces from the clay

true, it may seem like a stretch
but its thoughts like this that catch
my troubled head when you're away
when I am missing you to death
when you are out there on the road
for several weeks of shows
and when you scan the radio
I hope this song will guide you home

They will see us waving from such great heights,
"come down now", they'll say
but everything looks perfect from far away,
"come down now", but we'll stay...

I tried my best to leave
this all on your machine
but the persistent beat it sounded thin
upon listening
and that frankly will not fly
you will hear the shrillest highs
and lowest lows with the windows down
when this is guiding you home

soo sweet. I loved the song so much I even enjoyed watching that M&M commercial with the Iron & Wine cover . Here is the original though:

Such Great Heights (mp3)
And Sleeping In with the sheer hopefulness of the dreams, that there aren't conspiracies and that global warming is actually a good thing (something I always like to believe when it was February and sunny.) I know I've tried to use the chorus as an away message constantly, though all too often no one pays attention and I end up being awakened way too early (grrr.) Anyway though this isn't the official video it still is a really well done, um...one

Sleeping In (mp3)
I think another reason I was hooked so immediately was because I knew Jenny Lewis (who I kind of want to be) worked with them. Like on the song Nothing Better a pretty amazing song of pleading for a second chance being met with rejection with such great lines as " Don't you feed me lies about some idealistic future/Your heart won't heal right if you keep tearing out the sutures." It is a huge favorite of mine (And I really kind of like this Harvard/Radcliffe Veritones a capella cover)

Nothing Better (mp3)
It was around this time when I started doing a little more background searching and trying to figure out what had made these two come together. Which led me to finally finding the Dntel album Life is Full of Possibilites which featured a song with lyrics written and sung by a Ben Gibbard called (This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan (a song which was apparently inspired by a dream with Chan Marshall, Cat Power, and Evan Dando from the Lemonheads...who knew?)

(This is) The Dream of Evan and Chan (mp3) And subsequently I acknowleged the greatness of Death Cab for Cutie ( my disdain towards everything "The O.C." related notwithstanding.)

The New York Post (I think) recently called this one of the 100 best covers of all time, though as I was thinking about it and I don't know if I can think of 100 really popular and well known cover versions. Anyway the song was featured on the soundtrack to Wicker Park, a movie that I avoided because I heard it was horrible. But the song Against All Odds makes me grudgingly give respect to Phil Collins

Against All Odds (mp3)

but I think my absolute favorite song by The Postal Service is The District Sleeps Alone Tonight. it is one of those songs where I can fully relate to the emotions behind the lyrics; I mean I don't know how often I wish I was a visitor and not permanent. And the idea of being so out of context, especially in gaudy apartment complexes, or maybe just the idea of sleeping alone. Anyway it's an utterly amazing song, that I'm sure all of you know. I actually think this was the first Postal Service video I saw and one that allowed me my fantasy of Ben Gibbard and Dntel having never been in the same room at the same time.

The District Sleeps Alone Tonight (mp3)

and so for all of those reasons, plus the fact they were Stuck In My Head yesterday with We Will Become Silhouettes, The Postal Service is the Best Band Ever*

Other goodies in mp3 form:
There's Never Enough Time

And the song Brand New Colony has such wow lyrics

I'll be the grapes fermented, bottled and
served with the table set in my finest suit
like a perfect gentleman.
I'll be the fire escape that's bolted to the
ancient brick where you will sit
and contemplate your day.

I'll be the waterwings that save you if you
start drowning in an open tab when your
judgement's on the brink.
I'll be the phonograph that plays your favorite
albums back as you're lying there, drifting off
to sleep... drifting off to sleep...
I'll be the platform shoes; undo what heredity's done to you:
you won't have to strain to look into my eyes.
I'll be your winter coat buttoned and zipped
straight to the throat with the collar up so
you won't catch a cold.

I want to take you far from the cynics in this town
and kiss you on the mouth.
We'll cut our bodies free from the tethers of
this scene, start a brand new colony.
Where everything will change, we'll give
ourselves new names. Identities erased.
The sun will heat the grounds, under our bare
feet in this brand new colony.
This Brand new colony...

Everything will change, Ooo ooo..

I mean if I was the swooning kind... what the hey ::swoons::
Brand New Colony (Live at KCRW) (mp3)

Buy Give Up (amazon)
The Postal Service - Give Up

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