The Postal Service: "Such Great Heights" Video
Despite many industry insiders' prediction that Death Cab For Cutie's incendiary "Why You'd Want to Live Here" would create a Pacific Northwest vs. Southern California indie-rock rivalry reminiscent of hip-hop's East Coast/West Coast conflict, no blood was shed over such lines as "Is this the City of Angels or demons?" In fact, you might say most people in Los Angeles couldn't care less that Seattleite Ben Gibbard was giving their city a good old-fashioned tongue-lashing. Silverlake denizen and Dntel mastermind Jimmy Tamborello certainly wasn't bothered - instead of hiring someone to lay Gibbard down for the dirt nap, he asked DCFC's leader to lay down vocals on a track for his upcoming album. A week later the electronipop masterpiece "(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan" (included on Dntel's 2001 full-length Life Is Full of Possibilities) was completed and the seeds for The Postal Service were planted. "It seemed kind of effortless," says Tamborello, who had never met Gibbard before the recording of "Evan and Chan." "He came down and sang it once and we were just really happy with it." "We did the song in an hour one afternoon," explains Gibbard, who was in L.A. visiting Tamborello's roommate, The Jealous Sound's Pedro Benito. "It was such an easy, fun way to work. The idea was spawned: Maybe we could do an EP of this kind of stuff. Then [Sub Pop A&R rep] Tony Kiewel brought '(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan' to the label and said, 'They're going to do a record of this kind of stuff - do you guys want to do it?' We just went from there." In December 2001, Gibbard started receiving CD-Rs from Tamborello filled with beatsy electronic music, which he manipulated in his computer before writing melodies and lyrics and recording vocals. He also added some guitar, drums and keyboards - much of which was recorded by Death Cab guitarist Chris Walla at his Hall of Justice studio - and then sent the demo back to L.A. Gibbard had to run his changes past Tamborello, but he more or less had the freedom to alter the songs to his liking. "It was really great to get a little package every month or two - 'Two new songs!'" says Gibbard. "Sometimes I'd say, 'I want to move that part and this part,' and it was really fun to have such autonomy in the writing; I could pretty much do whatever I wanted." Though Tamborello (also known for his work in Strictly Ballroom and Figurine) is no stranger to collaboration - everyone from Beachwood Sparks' Chris Gunst to That Dog's Rachel Haden to Slint/The For Carnation's Brian McMahan appeared on Life Is Full of Possibilities - this was the first time he had attempted a project with a relative stranger. "It was like having to work on the album and make friends at the same time," admits Tamborello. "In the beginning I was probably a little nervous about not wanting to say I didn't like something 'cause I didn't know him. But in the end it didn't end up ever being an issue. It seemed like I was always excited with what he did." Ten months, two trips to L.A. (to record vocals and finish mixing) and one big postage invoice later, Give Up was completed. And just like that, Gibbard & Tamborello find themselves standing alongside such giants as Morrissey & Marr, Lennon & McCartney and Anderson & Butler. All ten tracks are exercises in smooth beauty, with Gibbard's inviting voice perfectly complementing Tamborello's unique and charming programming and guest vocals from Jen Wood and Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis adding a gentle layer of sweetness to many of the songs. Though it's tempting to call it an "'80s-sounding" record because of its keyboard-driven pop sensibilities, there's nothing retro about Give Up, save for a few sounds here and there and "nothing better," a duet with Wood inspired by The Human League's "Don't You Want Me." On the other hand, fans of Death Cab will hear faint echoes of Gibbard's main band in The Postal Service, but overall it's a completely different experience. "Some of the songs are very much of a Death Cab mode, but people have been commenting, 'Wow, the lyrics are really different,'" explains Gibbard. "When somebody is just handing you music and you're supposed to sing over the top of it, it feels different than when you're sitting at home with a guitar trying to write a song." "'the district sleeps alone tonight,' 'brand new colony' and 'this place is a prison' are pretty much the only songs that border on autobiographical," he continues. "But everything else is just kind of daydreaming and coming up with ideas for songs that aren't necessarily based in reality, and I think that was a lot more fun for me to do because I'd never really done that before. It didn't feel right for all the songs to be break-up-type songs - they just felt more like the kind of songs that you would want to dance to and you wouldn't want to have a lyric that's super heavy, especially on 'such great heights.' I think 'such great heights' is the first time I've ever written a positive love song, where it's a song about being in love and how it's rad, rather than having your heart broken." Though Gibbard is still committed to Death Cab and Tamborello is already hard at work on another Dntel album, the duo has penciled in a late-spring tour and plans to record again in the future. "I told Jimmy, 'Whenever you start sending me stuff is when we'll start working on the next Postal Service record,'" says Gibbard. "I don't see any reason why it couldn't continue to be a project as long as Jimmy wants to do it." "It seems so easy to do them and it doesn't take any time," says Tamborello. "And at this point I think we could do it where he just records everything up there and we could do even more through the mail." - Marc Hawthorne, November 2002
James Figurine is one third of the techno-pop group Figurine. His new album features contributions from Jenny Lewis, Geoff McFetridge, Morgan Nagler, Erlend ?ye, John Tejada, and Sonya Westcott. He also plays in The Postal Service and Dntel.
This week on the Buzz Report, the great East Coast/West Coast Intern Beef of 2007 begins. Where will it end?
Academy Award winner Robert Towne ("Chinatown") writes and directs "Ask the Dust," set under the brutally sunny skies of Depression-era Los Angeles. Based on novelist John Fante's masterpiece, Towne's interpretation focuses on a city exotic and vulgar, glamorous and raunchy - a place of heat and dust. Full of imports - palm trees from Egypt and people from everywhere in search of health and wealth, fame and fortune - L.A. is the city of first and last resort, where all dreams are supposed to come true. So it is for Arturo Bandini (Colin Farrell), a son of Italian immigrants who dreams of becoming a famous novelist and marrying a beautiful blonde, and Camilla Lopez (Salma Hayek) a Mexican who longs to marry a WASP and shed her last name. In a time when Anglo-Chicano relations hang by tattered threads, Bandini and Camilla collide with one another, fighting the city and themselves to make their dreams come true.
Jeff's back with a full E3 report! Taking the good with the bad, Jeff runs through the ups and downs of the show and why he won't likely return to the City of Angels anytime soon. We'll also talk about Microsoft using the Kinect camera to target ads based on your emotions, the future species, and TV ratings coming to streaming sites like Hulu and CBS.com.
Three years after releasing debut album "Pilotinstaller," Slovenian extraordinary Ales Uratnik a.k.a. NON FINIRe mai, produced a new masterpiece entitled "Katzenjammer". It's inspired in part by the Rudolf Dirks comic The Katzenjammer Kids. The Katzenjammer Kids from 1897 featured Hans and Fritz, twins in the battle against any form of authority. The extended meaning of this word today is unhappiness, depression, the more general sense of what one might call a case of the willies. Alternate songs present computerized and complex compositions without musical barriers and genre fixations. With electro acoustic compounds, NON FINIRe mai is a true trail blazer of free form sonic art. The album features experimental drummer and percussionist Adam Kriney (ex. The National Blue) from New York City as well as mastermind Camden Chamberlain (Deliccato) and his lovely wife Vanessa (Geisha Glory) from Salt Lake City. This CD presents a cocktail of avant rock, electronic, jazz, industrial, folk and experimental music. It's beautiful, darkly seductive and absolutely brain busting.
Honda's previously announced U3-X electric personal mobility device was on full display at the 2010 Geneva auto show, the futuristic powered unicycle effortlessly piloted around the Honda stage.
In another effortless demonstration of his irresistible charm, CNET editor Dong Ngo manages to single-handedly bring the cloud totally down to earth with the WD My Cloud, and then he smiles at it, or at us all!
Microsoft's Steve Ballmer and Steven Sinofsky announce a line of tablet devices at press event in Los Angeles Monday. The Surface tablets, running Windows 8, feature 10.6-inch touch screens wrapped in a magnesium case. They also feature a magnetically-attached, 3mm-thick Touch Cover that folds down and functions as a full touch-screen keyboard.
Watch clips from Top 5's Donald Bell as he gets tongue-tied, gets angry, and gets down.