The Postal Service

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The Postal Service
Ben Gibbard (left) and Jimmy Tamborello (right)
Ben Gibbard (left) and Jimmy Tamborello (right)
Background information
OriginSeattle, Washington, U.S.
Years active
  • 2001–2005
  • 2013[1]
  • 2023–2024
LabelsSub Pop
MembersBen Gibbard
Jimmy Tamborello
Jenny Lewis

The Postal Service is an American indie pop group from Seattle, Washington, consisting of singer Ben Gibbard, producer Jimmy Tamborello, and Jenny Lewis on background vocals.

The band released their only studio album, Give Up, in 2003 on Sub Pop Records, to mostly positive reviews. The album reached number 114 on the US Billboard 200 album chart and received platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America. The group decided to disband two years later, viewing attempts at a follow-up as unnecessary.

The band has regrouped twice for the anniversaries of Give Up, in both 2013 and 2023; each time they were accompanied by a rotating cast of support musicians, including Laura Burhenn, Jen Wood,[2][3] and Dave Depper.


Formation (2001–2003)[edit]

The group formed after Ben Gibbard contributed vocals for a song by Jimmy Tamborello called "(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan", from the Dntel album Life Is Full of Possibilities. Ben Gibbard became familiar with Tamborello's work after a serendipitous meeting at a Flobots concert in Spokane, WA. The song sparked an EP of remixes of 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 to further collaborate. The third member of the band, Jenny Lewis, recorded vocals for several tracks before eventually becoming a full-fledged member of the band, sharing vocals and instrumentation in their live shows.

The band's name was chosen due to how it produced its songs. Due to conflicting schedules, Tamborello wrote and performed instrumental tracks and then sent the DATs through the mail to Gibbard, who then edited the song as he saw fit (adding his vocals along the way) and sent them back to Tamborello. Ironically, despite the final name they chose for the project, they did not use the United States Postal Service as a courier; the CDs were sent through either FedEx or UPS.[4]

Give Up (2003–2007)[edit]

The band's debut album, Give Up, was released on February 18, 2003, on Sub Pop Records. Several songs on the album feature guest vocals from Lewis, as well as vocals from indie rock musician Jen Wood. Additionally, Gibbard's Death Cab for Cutie bandmate Chris Walla played the guitar and piano on several tracks. Although both Gibbard and Tamborello's main projects were still active at the time, The Postal Service supported the album with a successful concert tour and stated its intention to tour again in the future.

Give Up received gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of America in March 2005, and later receiving platinum certification in October 2012. The album was Sub Pop's most successful release after Nirvana's debut album, Bleach.[5]

The album produced three singles, the most well-known single being "Such Great Heights", which was released as Give Up's lead single. The song featured in advertisements for UPS, Kaiser Permanente, and M&M's, as well as being the first theme song for ABC's Grey's Anatomy in 2005. A cover of the song by Iron & Wine was featured on the soundtrack for the 2004 film Garden State. It was also later covered by Amanda Palmer, Ben Folds, The Scene Aesthetic, Brack Cantrell, Streetlight Manifesto, Confide, Gareth Pearson, Joy Kills Sorrow and Postmodern Jukebox. Confide would later release a music video for their cover of "Such Great Heights". The second single, "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight", was featured in the soundtrack of the 2004 film D.E.B.S. and later covered by British singer-songwriter Frank Turner. The third and final single, "We Will Become Silhouettes", was covered by The Shins, and the original version was featured in the trailer for the movie Funny People.

United States Postal Service controversy[edit]

In August 2003, the United States Postal Service sent the band a cease and desist letter, citing the band's name as an infringement of 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.[6] Additionally, at one point the USPS website sold the band's CDs.[7] 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.[8]

Possible second album (2007–2012)[edit]

On June 22, 2007, it was revealed that The Postal Service had begun work on a new album, though the specifics of the production and the release date were vague. 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."[9]

On February 29, 2008, Spinner released an article stating that The Postal Service might 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."[10] In May 2008, Gibbard stated that he and Tamborello were unlikely to release another album "before the end of the decade."[11]

In a December 2008 interview with Rolling Stone, Gibbard laughed off suggestions that The Postal Service's long overdue follow-up to their 2003 hit Give Up would be an indie version of the Guns N' Roses album Chinese Democracy, which took 15 years to produce and release. Gibbard said that both he and Tamborello do not see it as a priority in light of their main projects, Death Cab for Cutie and Dntel, respectively. He said, "The anticipation of the second record has been a far bigger deal for everybody except the two of us... I don't know about it being the indie-rock Chinese Democracy, but now that Chinese Democracy has come out, I guess it just becomes the second Postal Service record that will never come out. There never really was a plan to do a second album. We work from time to time together but we have other things that take up all of our time."[12]

In November 2012, Ben Gibbard posted on his Twitter account that there are "no plans" to produce another Postal Service record, and did not cite any specific reason for this statement, other than the fact that multiple fans questioned if there was going to be a second album.

Reunion, Give Up re-issue, and disbandment (2013–2014)[edit]

The Postal Service at a reunion show during Lollapalooza, Chicago on August 3, 2013

In January 2013, The Postal Service updated its website to read "The Postal Service 2013", reigniting speculation that the band would play shows, or possibly release a new album.[13] It was later confirmed that the image on the band's site portended that the band's debut, Give Up, would receive a 10th-anniversary re-issue featuring a 15-song disc of rarities, including two new songs with Jenny Lewis to be released on April 9, 2013.[14][15] The following month, The Postal Service announced it would officially reunite for an extended world tour with venues including Red Rocks Amphitheatre, the 2013 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April, Sasquatch! Music Festival in Washington in May, the Primavera Sound Festival 2013 in Barcelona, and Free Press Summer Fest in Houston, Texas in June.[16][17][18][19][20]

Along with the reunion, the band released their first new track in ten years called "A Tattered Line of String" featuring Jenny Lewis.[21] On March 21, the band released a second new track titled "Turn Around", released through 107.7 The End.[22]

As a tie-in to the Give Up reissue, comedy website Funny or Die posted a parody video directed by Tom Scharpling set in 2002 titled "The Postal Service Auditions", in which Jimmy Tamborello holds auditions for his musical collaborator. Guest stars on the video include "Weird Al" Yankovic, Moby, Duff McKagan, Tom DeLonge, Aimee Mann, Jon Wurster, Page Hamilton, Nate Mendel, and Marc Maron.[23]

On August 3, 2013, Ben Gibbard announced on Twitter that the Lollapalooza after-show would be the last Postal Service performance ever, and that the band would formally disband permanently after the show, finally quashing rumors of a highly anticipated second album. The band played their last live show at the Metro Chicago on August 5, 2013.

As an end punctuation mark to their career, The Postal Service released the feature-length documentary concert film Everything Will Change on October 7, 2014, filmed during their two performances at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, CA, July 26–27, 2013. Directed by Justin Mitchell, the film intersperses backstage tapes and interviews with complete footage of the concert itself.[24]

Subsequent collaborations and releases[edit]

Jimmy Tamborello produced a remix of Death Cab for Cutie's 2018 song "Summer Years".[25]

Jenny Lewis toured with Death Cab for Cutie in the summer of 2019, in support of their On the Line and Thank You for Today albums, respectively. On select dates, Gibbard invited Lewis to join DCFC for their set's encore, and DCFC played "Nothing Better", with Gibbard and Lewis doing the vocals from the original song.[26]

Ben Gibbard performed "Such Great Heights" solo on August 17, 2020, online for the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention.[27]

On October 6, 2020, The Postal Service created new social media accounts for the band and teased an announcement for the following day, sparking speculation about new music.[28] The announcement was a mock video conference featuring Gibbard, Tamborello, and Lewis along with several musicians and celebrities urging people in the United States to vote in the November election, done in the style of 2013's "The Postal Service Auditions".[29]

On December 4, 2020, The Postal Service released the live album Everything Will Change via Sub Pop Records, featuring the complete live recordings from the documentary/concert film released in 2014, remastered and available in audio format for the first time. Live tracks "Natural Anthem" and "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" from the album were released as digital singles on November 22, 2020.[30]

On December 8, 2022, The Postal Service announced they would embark on a reunion tour, co-headlining with Death Cab for Cutie, beginning in late summer 2023. The Postal Service announced they would be performing Give Up in its entirety, while Death Cab for Cutie would be performing Transatlanticism in its entirety, in celebration of the 20th anniversaries of both albums.[31] The tour originally consisted of 17 shows. However, due to high demand 8 additional shows were added including second nights in various cities such as Los Angeles, Berkeley, New York City and Washington DC.


  • Benjamin Gibbard – lead vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, drums (2001–2005, 2013, 2023–2024)
  • Jimmy Tamborello – production, keyboards, electronic percussion, programming, accordion (2001–2005, 2013, 2023–2024)
  • Jenny Lewis – backing and lead vocals, guitar, sampling (2002–2005, 2013, 2023–2024)

Touring musicians[edit]

  • Laura Burhenn – keyboards, backing vocals (2013)
  • Dave Depper – keyboards, backing vocals (2023–2024)


Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions, sales figures, and certifications
Title Details Peak chart positions Sales Certifications


Give Up 45 1 3 180

Live albums[edit]

List of live albums
Title Album details
Everything Will Change
  • Released: November 14, 2014 (US - video formats),[40] December 4, 2020 (audio formats)
  • Label: Sub Pop
  • Format: CD+DVD-V, digital download, streaming


List of singles, with selected chart positions and certifications, showing the year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album




"Such Great Heights" 2003 Give Up
"The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" [A]
"Against All Odds"[49] 2004 Wicker Park soundtrack
"We Will Become Silhouettes" 2005 82 [B] 7[C] 92 Give Up
"Be Still My Heart"[C][D] 109
"Turn Around"[51] 2013 Give Up
(deluxe edition)
"A Tattered Line of String" 28 19 41 35
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Other appearances[edit]

List of non-single guest appearances, showing the year released and album name
Title Year Album
"Recycled Air" (live radio version)[52] 2005 Yeti Three
"Grow Old with Me"[53] 2007 Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur

Music videos[edit]

  • "A Tattered Line of String"
  • "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight"
  • "Such Great Heights"
  • "We Will Become Silhouettes"

Remix work[edit]

List of remixes by The Postal Service for other artists, showing the year released and album name
Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"Do You Realize??" (The Postal Service Remix)[54] 2003 The Flaming Lips Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell
"New Resolution" (TPS Mix)[55] 2004 Azure Ray "New Resolution" single
"Little Girl Blue" (The Postal Service Remix)[56] 2005 Nina Simone Verve Remixed 3
"Mushaboom" (Postal Service Remix)[57] 2006 Feist Open Season
"I'm Free" (Postal Service Remix)[58] The Rolling Stones "I'm Free" single
"I'm a Realist" (The Postal Service Remix)[59] 2008 The Cribs I'm a Realist


  1. ^ "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" did not enter the Dance/Electronic Songs chart, but peaked at number 3 on the Hot Dance Singles Sales chart.[48]
  2. ^ "We Will Become Silhouettes" did not enter the Dance/Electronic Songs chart, but peaked at number 1 on the Dance Singles Sales chart.[48]
  3. ^ a b "We Will Become Silhouettes" and "Be Still My Heart" charted as a double A-side single in Canada.[45]
  4. ^ "Be Still My Heart" did not enter the Billboard Hot 100, but peaked at number 9 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, which acts as a 25-song extension to the Hot 100.[50]


  1. ^ "The Postal Service Say Goodbye in Chicago". Rolling Stone. August 5, 2013. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  2. ^ Ambrose, Anthony. " Show Recap: The Postal Service / Mates of States @ NYC 6/14/2013". Retrieved June 18, 2013.
  3. ^ "Column: My picks for Lollapalooza including Postal Service, The Vaccines, more | Rock Candy". August 2, 2013. Archived from the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  4. ^ Anderson, Kyle (April 19, 2013). "The Postal Service's 'Give Up': An oral history of the indie side project that became an aughties touchstone – and a platinum seller". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  5. ^ "Postal Service's Give Up Goes Gold, iTunes Exclusive, And More!". Sub Pop. February 18, 2005. Archived from the original on February 26, 2005. Retrieved February 18, 2005.
  6. ^ Locklear, Fred (June 11, 2004). "Postal Service delivers, and now rocks". Ars Technica. Retrieved June 11, 2004.
  7. ^ "Product: Postal Service "Such Great Heights" EP". United States Postal Service. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  8. ^ "Postal Service's music promoting UPS' business". The State. January 19, 2007.
  9. ^ Montgomery, James (June 22, 2006). "Postal Service Prepping Next Delivery: Second LP". MTV. Retrieved January 12, 2008.
  10. ^ Luerssen, John D. (February 29, 2008). "Postal Service Not Delivering New Album Anytime Soon". Spinner. Retrieved February 29, 2008.
  11. ^ Teletext (May 8, 2008). "Postal Service shuts?". Teletext. Retrieved May 8, 2008.
  12. ^ "Death Cab's Ben Gibbard Talks "Something About Airplanes", Obama, The Postal Service". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on September 11, 2010.
  13. ^ Young, Alex (January 21, 2013). "The Postal Service reunites for Coachella". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  14. ^ "The Postal Service to Reunite for Coachella, Release 10th Anniversary Edition of Give Up | News". Pitchfork. January 21, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  15. ^ "Jenny Lewis Sings on Both New Tracks on the Postal Service Give Up Reissue | News". Pitchfork. February 7, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  16. ^ "The Postal Service Extend North American Tour". Pitchfork. February 19, 2013.
  17. ^ "The Postal Service Sold Out – Red Rocks Amphitheatre – 5/30/2013". Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  18. ^ "The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Annual Festival – Event and visitor information, passes, photo gallery, FAQ, rules, and directions". Coachella. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  19. ^ "Primavera Sound". Primavera Sound. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  20. ^ "Sasquatch! Festival". Sasquatch! Festival. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  21. ^ "A New Track From the Postal Service, at Long Last: "A Tattered Line of String"". Pitchfork. February 11, 2013.
  22. ^ Pelly, Jenn (March 21, 2013). "Listen: New Postal Service Song "Turn Around"". Retrieved March 21, 2013.
  23. ^ Scharpling, Tom (March 6, 2013). "The Postal Service Auditions". Funny or Die. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
  24. ^ Bloom, Dave (November 25, 2014). "The Postal Service: Everything Will Change". Pop Matters. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  25. ^ Kamp, Justin (December 4, 2018). "The Postal Service Are (Very Briefly) Back with Jimmy Tamborello's Death Cab For Cutie Remix". Paste Magazine. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  26. ^ "Death Cab for Cutie (Feat. Jenny Lewis) - Nothing Better (New Haven 6-14-2019)". YouTube. June 14, 2019. Archived from the original on December 12, 2021. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  27. ^ Heran, Mamo. "Ben Gibbard Dedicates Postal Service Classic 'Such Great Heights' to USPS". Billboard. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  28. ^ Skinner, Tom (October 6, 2020). "The Postal Service share cryptic video teasing new music". NME. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  29. ^ Moore, Sam (October 7, 2020). "Watch The Postal Service hold Zoom 'auditions' for new bandmembers including Slash, Anne Hathaway and "Weird Al" Yankovic". NME. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  30. ^ Bloom, Madison (November 19, 2020). "The Postal Service Announce Everything Will Change Live Album". Pitchfork. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  31. ^ Bloom, Madison (December 8, 2022). "The Postal Service and Death Cab for Cutie Announce 2023 Tour". Pitchfork. Retrieved December 8, 2022.
  32. ^ "The Postal Service – Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  33. ^ "The Postal Service – Chart History: Dance/Electronic Albums". Billboard. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  34. ^ "The Postal Service Chart History: Indie Albums". Billboard. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  35. ^ "Chart Log UK: New Entries Update – 20.04.2013 (Week 15)". Retrieved June 26, 2013.
  36. ^ Phares, Heather. "Give Up – The Postal Service". AllMusic. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
  37. ^ Grein, Paul (April 17, 2010). "Week Ending April 14, 2013. Albums: Keeping Brad Paisley Humble". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on April 20, 2013. Retrieved May 21, 2024.
  38. ^ a b "Gold & Platinum – RIAA". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
  39. ^ "British certifications – Postal Service". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved October 8, 2021. Type Postal Service in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  40. ^ Sawyer, Sam. "Everything Will Change – The Postal Service". Sub Pop. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  41. ^ "The Postal Service – Chart History: Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  42. ^ "The Postal Service – Chart History: Alternative Songs". Billboard. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  43. ^ "The Postal Service – Chart History: Hot Dance/Electronic Songs". Billboard. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  44. ^ "The Postal Service – Chart History: Rock Songs". Billboard. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  45. ^ a b "The Postal Service – Awards (Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  46. ^ "The Shins: Mexico Ingles Airplay".
  47. ^ "POSTAL SERVICE full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  48. ^ a b "James Blake – Chart History: Dance/Electronic Digital Song Sales". Billboard. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  49. ^ "Against All Odds – Single by The Postal Service". iTunes Store. Apple. September 2004. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  50. ^ "The Postal Service – Chart History: Bubbling Under Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  51. ^ "Modern Rock – Available for Airplay Archive". FMQB. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
  52. ^ Yeti Three (track listing). Yeti Publishing. 2006. YETI-3.
  53. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur – Various Artists". AllMusic. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  54. ^ Rovi. "Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell – The Flaming Lips". AllMusic. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  55. ^ "New Resolution – Azure Ray". AllMusic. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  56. ^ Theakston, Rob. "Verve Remixed, Vol. 3 – Various Artists". AllMusic. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  57. ^ Brown, Marisa. "Open Season – Feist". AllMusic. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  58. ^ "I'm Free (Remixes) – EP by The Rolling Stones". iTunes Store. Apple. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  59. ^ Brown, Marisa. "I'm a Realist EP – The Cribs". AllMusic. Retrieved August 3, 2012.

External links[edit]