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Read Ben Gibbard and Mark Kozelek's emails about offending audiences

Musician Mark Kozelek has been in the music news a lot recently, but not exactly for his music: Kozelek was performing with his band Sun Kil Moon at a festival when he began to notice sound from War on Drugs’ nearby set bleeding into his own, so he responded by aiming some harsh words toward the band. This led to a “feud” that climaxed with Kozelek recording a song titled “War on Drugs: Suck My Cock.”

In a new interview with Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service, though, Kozelek vaguely addresses the incidents. “I think people choose to be offended by things as a way of bonding, as a hobby,” Kozelek said. “They embed some piece of information into their brain without thinking it through, because it’s easier. ‘Mark Kozelek is an asshole.'” READ FULL STORY

Death Cab For Cutie's 'Transatlanticism' turns 10 -- looking back at a classic indie-rock album


Earlier this year, the Postal Service celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its landmark one-off album Give Up

That album still holds up remarkably well, but it’s unfair to talk about Give Up without discussing frontman Ben Gibbard’s other landmark accomplishment from 2003: Death Cab For Cutie’s Transatlanticism, which came out a decade ago today.

The creation of Transatlanticism is not as romantic as the long-distance construction of the Postal Service’s Give Up, but Gibbard was working on both albums simultaneously, and it’s fair to think of the two as bookends; though there are thematic and tonal crossovers, they come from two very different places.

“Strangely, I don’t think the two records have much to do with each other as far as the emotional tone,” Gibbard told EW earlier this year. “I felt like I could shift pretty seamlessly between working on Postal Service and then turning around and writing a Death Cab song.” Gibbard allowed the tracks that Postal Service collaborator Jimmy Tamborello was sending him to dictate the emotional tone of the songs themselves, while Transatlanticism is the product of Death Cab’s collective hive mind.


The Postal Service's 'Give Up': An oral history of the indie side project that became an aughties touchstone -- and a platinum seller


Last week, the Postal Service released Give Up: Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition, a two-disc version of their platinum-selling (it only took nine years!) sole album, and they celebrated by kicking off a new tour that includes a prominent slot at Coachella.

EW caught up with all the principals involved in the creation of Give Up for an oral history that appeared in issue 1255/56, but we couldn’t get it all in in print, so enjoy this expanded version here.

2001 Jimmy Tamborello releases his first full-length album as Dntel, Life Is Full of Possibilities. The acclaimed indie electronic collection features a song called “(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan” with vocals by Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard.

JIMMY TAMBORELLO One of my roommates was in a band that went on tour with Death Cab for Cutie, so Ben and my roommate had become friends. Ben was going to come stay at our house for a couple of days for fun, and it was right when I was working on this album with different guest vocalists. So I asked him if he’d be up for it, and I sent him the instrumental and when he came to visit he recorded it. We hung out and had fun, and that’s where it started.

BEN GIBBARD It wasn’t as if we really connected personally all that strongly when we first met. It was just an interesting arrangement that he would send me this music and he would let me put whatever I wanted to put on it. “Evan and Chan” came together really quickly, and the only thing I had on it was vocals.

TAMBORELLO Ben brought up the idea of doing more together—like an EP or something.

GIBBARD Initially the idea I pitched to him was an EP, and it was only when Sub Pop started sniffing around that it turned into an album.

TONY KIEWEL, Sub Pop A&R Jimmy and I went to college together. He told me they were thinking about doing an EP based on the experience of “Evan and Chan.” I had just started doing A&R, and I had recently learned how the world treats an EP as opposed to an LP. Why would you waste time making an EP? If you’re going to do it, do a full album. People will review it, and you can sell it for three times as much. I told them for sure Sub Pop would want to do it if that was something they wanted to do.

GIBBARD The music has always been the more difficult thing for me to write, so the idea of somebody basically turning in what were mostly finished beds of music and then I could sprinkle other things on top of it and write melodies and lyrics was really appealing to me. He was nice and easy-going and a kind of shy quiet guy, and I’m a little more gregarious, so I think that worked too.

2002 Operating out of Los Angeles, Tamborello begins the process of sending Seattle-dwelling Gibbard music, which Gibbard would then send back with his additions—which included guitars, keyboards, and additional vocals by friends Jen Wood and Jenny Lewis. READ FULL STORY

The Postal Service drops first new song in 10 years: Hear 'A Tattered Line of String' here!


It’s been a good year for comebacks so far. David Bowie? Welcome back. My Bloody Valentine? Excellent to see you again. Justin Timberlake? You’ve been missed.

The excitement over the return of the Postal Service—the tracks-by-mail collaboration between Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard and electronic artist Jimmy “Dntel” Tamborello—is not quite as large as that for the above artists, but it’s just as fiercely passionate. The group’s first and only album Give Up came out in 2003 and found a surprisingly massive audience attracted to its combination of confessional lyrics, deeply-rooted melodies, and blippy electronic undercurrents. In a way, it’s quite trenchant—what song not called “Such Great Heights” has better melded the worlds of rock honesty and electronic cool?

Give Up sold over a million copies, and Gibbard and Tamborello have decided to dust the project off for some tour dates this summer. They’re not putting out new music per se, though they are resurrecting some songs from the Give Up sessions for a deluxe edition of that release. The first song unveiled is called “A Tattered Line of String.” Give it a listen below, and for a bonus 2003 callback, listen for the guest vocals of Rilo Kiley singer Jenny Lewis.  READ FULL STORY

Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard already misses former Mariner Ichiro Suzuki, releases song about him

It’s been a rough year for Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard: His marriage to Zooey Deschanel ended, the Westboro Baptist Church is coming after him, and now his beloved Seattle Mariners have parted ways with their most iconic player.

Yesterday, the Mariners traded their longtime outfielder and former batting champ (and MVP, All Star, and all-time single season hits record holder) Ichiro Suzuki to the New York Yankees in exchange for a pair of pitching prospects.

Baseball-wise, it’s probably a good move for Seattle; Ichiro’s productivity has been steadily declining and they need young arms if they want to compete next year in the pitching-heavy AL West. Still, it’s a bummer for Mariners fans, as Ichiro was the team’s most recognizable and beloved player since Ken Griffey, Jr. left Seattle.

In response to the news that Ichiro had been traded (and to the hated Yankees, no less), Gibbard unearthed a song called “Ichiro’s Theme” that he wrote and recorded in honor of the iconic Mariner.

“I wrote this a few years ago,” Gibbard wrote on his SoundCloud page. ” Today seems like the best day to let you all hear it. Thank you, Ichiro.”

You can hear the track below. READ FULL STORY

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