This weekend saw The Postal Service performing at Lollapalooza and then at The Metro in Chicago. Benjamin Gibbard announced, sadly, that these two performances would be their last. He took to Twitter following the band's final show, saying:
Thanks to everyone who came and saw @PostalService this spring/summer. It meant the world to us. And with that, we are closed for business.
It's saddening, knowing it was such a short-lived reunion. Yet, if you managed to see them live at some point this year, it was incredible to see Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello and Jenny Lewis together again. Below, watch them perform "Such Great Heights" and "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" during their final show at The Metro.
The Postal Service have been the focus of a lot of attention this year. Their reunion was a surprise for many, as the band—Ben Gibbard, Jimmy Tamborello and Jenny Lewis—released only one album, Give Up, and that was ten years ago. It seemed like the project would live on solely through that record. That, of course, changed, and this year has seen them headlining festivals, selling out arenas and proving that, ten years later, The Postal Service still means something. That feeling is central to The Creators Project's new documentary. Directed by Justin Mitchell, the short film examines the history of the group, from the release of Give Up to their recent resurgence. It's incredible to see the impact they have had, despite not existing as a group for so long. Watch below and transport yourself back to 2003.
Speaking on the film, Mitchell describes what he hoped to achieve with his aesthetic direction:
I've been looking for a project to use prisms on for a while and much like the multiple frames, I think they help to support the story of the band. For me the prisms represent a gathering of all the disparate energies that propelled the album upwards and onwards during the last ten years. The band might be the center of the image and the focus but for ten years they allowed Give Up to live its own life and somehow, all that outside energy resulted in a platinum album. Now, as Ben says, they get to reclaim it and I think the prism (which just looked so much cooler in slow motion) helps to show that."
No one likes doing their washing. I for one hate it. Putting it in the washing machine is fine, it's a 30 second job. Taking it out, hanging it up, folding it, now that's done you have to wait for it to dry. Seriously, it's just a pain in the ass. After watching the new video for The Postal Service's track "A Tattered Line of String" though, I don't think I've got it too bad. This guy has the worst laundry experience imaginable as the entire Laundromat he's using goes nuts and causes all kinds of problems. Next time you're feeling crappy about having to do your washing, think of this guy.
Monday arrived, the final day of Sasquatch! 2013. Despite worsening weather conditions, the upbeat attitudes were still going strong. After a decent Friday and memorable performances on Saturday and Sunday, day four continued to impress. Seriously, who could complain with bands like CHVRCHES, Disclosure, Alt-J, Steve Aoki, Dirty Projectors, Toro Y Moi, P.O.S and The Postal Service? The final day proved a worthy close to the festival, solidifying the heartiness of attendees and the strong breadth of its lineup. It also revealed the downfalls of four days of continuous music and intoxicants. Read below for my take on the closing day of Sasquatch!.
Photo by Christopher Nelson.
We awoke on Monday morning to the sound of pattering rain on our tents, a disheartening thought but not enough to completely dampen our spirits. Pulling together all of our leftover breakfast food—mostly bacon and eggs—we enjoyed one last feast at The Gorge. There was little time for me to hang around in the campground, though, as I had media duties to attend to. With a joint in one hand and my iPod in the other I began my solo trek to the festival grounds, striding eagerly to the upbeat sounds of Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros' "Man on Fire."
A while later I emerged from the media area, fully satisfied with the people I'd met and the interviews I had. Stoned, I made my way to Honda Bigfoot where CHVRCHES were throwing down a dynamic set on a rain-covered stage. Immediately impressive was lead singer Lauren Mayberry, a petite woman with a voice much more grand than expected. Whereas other bands had audio problems at this stage, Mayberry had no problem ensuring her vocals were the center of attention. Amidst fantastic electro pop production, she was able to completely command the surprisingly large crowd before them. There was no better example of this than the band's hit single "Recover," which had the whole crowd dancing in their rain jackets and ponchos. It was only once Mayberry took a step back that CHVRCHES started to falter. For one song, producer Martin Doherty decided to give an attempt at singing, but it really fell flat. He was honestly not good. It got me thinking about the other members of P.O.S in the crowd. Photo by Christopher Nelson.the band: Why hadn't they told him that his singing voice was... well, shit? Thankfully, it only lasted one song, with Mayberry returning to the mic for a few last closing tracks. Overall, it was a surprisingly good set.
As the CHVRCHES crowd diffused, it made room for fans of Doomtree collective's P.O.S to rush to the front barriers. Stefon Alexander made his way on stage, greeted by a mass of cheering admirers and an increasing downpour. The rain tooks its toll on him, as he slipped on the wet stage and fell onto his side. He quickly returned to his feet, joking that it was entirely "intentional." But that didn't affect him at all, as he began tearing into his new album We Don't Even Live Here. For the majority of the set Alexander was right up against the barriers, grabbing the hands of an excited audience as his verses and flows spewed out. The set was made even more energetic by the beats underlying his raps, some grimey, electronic production that got people dancing their asses off at three in the afternoon.
P.O.S left us in a great mood, such that all we wanted to do was party. Realizing our campsite was stocked with plentiful alcohol and good food, we headed back for some R&R. With rain pouring overhead, we happily ate spaghettti and smoked weed until everyone succumbed to the toll of a weekend's worth of drinking and lack of sleep. Unfortunately, while passed out in my tent, I missed a few shows I wanted to see—Dirty Projectors, Death Grips, Toro Y Moi, Twin Shadow and Odesza—but hey, sometimes there are sacrifices we need to make. Especially for the sakes of our bodies.
With food in my stomach and alcohol sifting through my liver, I gathered our group and we all headed to the festival grounds for one last night of music and partying. We had a very direct goal, to go directly to the El Chupacabra tent to see Disclosure. My girlfriend and I are huge fans of these guys and missed them while they were in Vancouver, so seeing them at Sasquatch! was a definite priority. The El Chupacabra tent was packed, but we edged our way around the outside straight to the left side of the stage. After one hour of body-jacking electronica, I just wanted Guy and Lawrence Howard to DJ the rest of the festival. I mean, holy shit, these brothers can really manipulate a crowd. The excitement felt when they began playing "Latch" and "White Noise" was electric, and every song played saw one brother plucking basslines on his guitar while the other triggered claps and high hats on his drum kit. It was a subtle inclusion that added a lot to the overall experience of seeing these guys live. It also helped that every song they played was fantastic.
Exiting the sweaty confines of the Chupacabra tent, we heard Alt-J plucking the first note of their set at the not-too-distant Bigfoot stage. Rushing over, our group found a good spot on the right side of the stage, just outside of the tightly-packed masses. I'm hoping it was Alt-J. Photo by Matthew Lamb.just because of our spot—it was at around a 170° angle facing out from the stage—but the band suffered from similar problems to others who performed at Bigfoot. You could hear the versatile talent of vocalist Joe Newman, but his voice lacked the punch it needed and was often overshadowed by a drum kick or bassline. Perhaps for the stage to sound perfect you had to be facing it directly, but it was still disappointing for these sound issues to appear again and again over the course of the weekend. Small gripes aside, I was still enthusiastic to hear Alt-J perform. Relying solely on their debut album An Awesome Wave, each song played was met with cheers from a crowd anxious to hear their favorites. "Tesselate," "Breezeblocks," "Taro," "Fitzpleasure," and "Matilda" were all there, and they were all great. I can't help but imagine how fantastic these guys would sound playing at a mid-to-large-sized indoor venue. Guess I'll have to wait till their fall tour.
As Alt-J's set drew to a close, the sounds of Steve Aoki at the El Chupacabra tent took over. We meandered over, lifted up the side of the tent and crawled under. When we emerged, it was to the sight of Steve Aoki popping champagne bottles all over the crowd, an inflatable boat with a girl in it skimming the tops of the audience. It was a raging party, and props to Aoki for his undeniable talent at partying, but it really emphasized an issue I have with a lot of producers. So many of them are great at making music, at using production programs to remix and create fantastic beats. But, and this is a big but, they rarely have a clue of how to be a live performer. Sure, Steve can blast his electronic stylings and revel in the drunken crowds ready to consume, but he's not really doing anything. He's mostly pressing play, fiddling with knobs when the song is about to drop and then crowd-surfing on an inflatable boat. It's fun, yeah, but it's not impressive from an artistic standpoint. There's no talent in pressing play.
I wasn't about to dedicate the rest of my time at Sasquatch! to Steve Aoki, so I opted for The Postal Service instead. A much better choice, I think. It's been ten years since I got hooked on their lone album Give Up, but I never got the chance to see Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello (aka Dntel) live. I jumped on the opportunity this time around. With ten minutes to go until the band's set time, the main floor of the Sasquatch stage still offered pockets of space ready to be occupied. My friends and I found one with ample view of the stage and held our place. Applause was overwhelming as the newly reunited outfit took to the stage, comprised of a svelte Gibbard, an upbeat Tamborello and the beautiful Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley).
They performed nearly all of Give Up's ten tracks, as well as a fantastic rendition of "A Tattered Line of String." I listened in excitement as Gibbard hopped on the drums for "This Place Is a Prison," or as Lewis and Gibbard exchanged playful looks as the sung a duet on "Nothing Better." The crowd's excitement elevated my elation, cheering wildly as "Brand New Colony" began with its echoing synthesizers or as "Clark Gable" shifts from soothing melodies to quick-tempoed synth pop. The sound during this show was simply outstanding, and each element—the bass, vocals, guitars, drums and synthesizers—came through crisp and clear. Even though the bass was loud it didn't take away from Gibbard's singing. It all resonated perfectly. Ten years later, I'm still a sucker for Gibbard and Tamborello.
The Postal Service. Photo by Matthew Lamb.Returning to Vancouver, we were exhausted, wet and hungover. Despite this, there was a definite sense of fulfillment. No matter how battered and bruised we were, we left The Gorge feeling more excited than when we arrived. All this thanks to so many incredible performances, (mostly) good weather, cheap alcohol and great friends. Sasquatch! 2013 was memorable in a lot ways, so many that it deserves a return visit. I will gladly return to The Gorge again soon.
Only one day left until Sasquatch! commences. Today and tomorrow will see thousands of avid music fans journeying to The Gorge Amphitheatre in George, WA, prepping their campsites, stocking up on alcohol and drugs in anticipation of dozens of amazing performances. This year's lineup boasts some fantastic talent, such as The xx, Vampire Weekend, Sigur Rós, The Postal Service, Disclosure, Arctic Monkeys, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros and many, many more. It's a lineup worth salivating over.
As the festival quickly approaches, I've put together a list of some of the best acts playing each of the four nights. Each band comes with some recommended listening, because there is no better way to prepare for a festival than sampling what each band has to offer, whether you know them or not. Take a look at our most anticipated artists for days one and two here, and check out days three and four below.
Day Three (Sunday):
Danny Brown - 3:15-4:00pm @Sasquatch
Danny Brown is a crazy dude. Very crazy. His ridiculous presence on his albums and mixtapes should equal an incredibly energetic live show. Did I mention that he got a blowjob onstage during a recent performance and didn't miss a beat?
El-P - 5:30-6:30 @Honda Bigfoot
Last year's Cancer 4 Cure marked El-P's return after five years of absence. It was an amazing album that showcased his talent at bringing humor, wit and dark themes together into a cohesive hip-hop sound. On top of that, if featured some incredible production. I can't imagine his live performance will disappoint.
Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros - 7:10-8:10pm @Sasquatch
Have you ever seen live footage of Edward Sharpe and his hippy cohorts performing live? If you haven't, do it now. One thing you'll notice quickly is the unreal energy that this group has, and that is guaranteed to transfer straight to the crowd. If you make it to the main stage on Sunday night, expect the audience to be partying just as hard as Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros.
Earl Sweatshirt - 8:15-9:00pm @Honda Bigfoot
Earl has made a huge return this year. After a long-rumored and now confirmed absence in Samoa, the Odd Future member is back working on a new album called Doris. He's already debuted new material during his ongoing festival circuit, so hopefully he offer up something new this weekend.
Baths - 9:00-10:00pm @El Chupacabra
Baths has created some quirky electronic beats for years now. His debut album Cerulean was great from start to finish, an eclectic and refreshing collection of synthesizers and samples. With his sophomore album Obsidian set to release next week, what better time for the Los Angeles musician to unleash a swath of new tunes.
Grimes - 10:00-11:00pm @Honda Bigfoot
Vancouver turn Montreal musician Clair Boucher has quickly garnered praise from across the music industry. She's a charming woman with a penchant for the oddities, and her music is a direct reflection of this. Her electronic productions are captivating and at the same time so very weird, but it's exactly this that makes her so intriguing. What better place to be won over by Grimes than the gorgeous vistas of the Gorge?
Killer Mike - 9:10-9:45pm @Yeti
Killer Mike is poised to dominate over the next year or two. This year, he'll be releasing a collaborative album with El-P, who produced the excellent R.A.P. Music, and next year he'll release not one but two albums. With El-P performing at the festival and a ton of new material in the works, you can expect Killer Mike's show will be pretty memorable.
The Presets - 12:00-1:15am @El Chupacabra
The Presets are fantastic live. I've seen them twice now and they do not disappoint. They tweak and expand beyond what is featured on their albums, and turn what could be a simple dancey live set into a body-jacking, floor-thumping experience. Let The Presets occupy your eardrums in the late hours of the night.
Day Four (Monday):
P.O.S -2:25-3:10pm @Honda Bigfoot
P.O.S is representing the Doomtree collective at Sasquatch! this year, bringing the bluesy hip-hop sound of Minneapolis to Washington state. Hopefully we'll hear tracks from throughout his career, including last year's We Don't Even Live Here. Personally, I'm hoping for a bit o' "Sarah Silverman."
Dirty Projectors - 4:30-5:30pm @Honda Bigfoot
Swing Lo Magellan was one of my favorite albums of last year, and I've heard great things of Dirty Projectors' live performance. Don't pass up the chance to hear David Longstreth and Amber Coffman's incredible and expansive vocal talents in person.
Death Grips - 5:50-6:50pm @Honda Bigfoot
This is the show that'll be burned into your memory for a while. My roommate, who unfortunately can't make it to Sasquatch! this year, said this was his most anticipated artist, and for good reason. The duo of rapper Stefan Burnett and producers Zach Hill and Andy Morin are crazy sons of bitches, with the verses of the former equalling the insanity of the beats of the latter. This is intense rap, no question about it. If you go see Death Grips be warned, a most pit is inevitable.
Toro Y Moi - 6:00-7:00pm @El Chupacabra
Chazwick Bundick has put out some amazing albums these past few years. This past January he gave us his third, Anything In Return, and while much of it crept into mindless pop (I'm mostly referring to the lyrics) there are plenty of gems to be found. He combines such an eclectic taste, drawing influence from pop, hip-hop, R&B and electronic. The result are incredible songs like "Rose Quartz," "Say That" and "Never Matter." Personally, I can't wait for Bundick to bring these to the Sasquatch grounds. Hopefully you're on board too.
Twin Shadow - 7:10-8:10pm @Honda Bigfoot
Twin Shadow evokes the best of the '80s. Leather jackets, wild haircuts, and bringing confessional lyricism together with '80s guitar licks and glittering synthesizers. It's pretty fantastic, and if you're in the mood for an '80s throwback this is the show for you.
Disclosure - 7:30-8:30pm @El Chupacabra
Guy and Howard Lawrence are a talented pair of brothers. Every song they put out is fantastic, whether it's "White Noise" with AlunaGeorge, "You & Me" with Eliza Doolittle or even the brand new track "When A Fire Starts To Burn" (which just debuted today). Even though their set is a bit earlier than I hoped—they would have been a perfect late-night set—it's one of my most anticipated performances of the festival. Get ready to get down and dirty at this one.
Alt-J - 8:30-9:30pm @Honda Bigfoot
Alt-J is a strange band. Really, they are. But this strange aura around them they are incredibly accessible. Hell, they won the Mercury Prize for their debut album An Awesome Wave. It's their broad scope and diverse but fantastic sound that draws in a huge fanbase. You can expect their show at Sasquatch! to be just as diverse.
The Postal Service - 10:00-11:30pm @Sasquatch
What better festival for The Postal Service to headline than Sasquatch!, taking place in Ben Gibbard's home state of Washington. Ten years after releasing their lone album Give Up, Gibbard and Dntel came together for a reunion tour and a re-release of the LP. When that album first came out I was still in middle school, and all that teenage angst found solace in the moody electronic stylings of The Postal Service. I have a nostalgia with the band, as do so many others, and I highly doubt they'll disappoint that nostalgia.
The drive to Sasquatch! is a lengthy trip for most of the attendees, and what better time to get familiar with the bands you'll be seeing at the festival? That's where we come in. We've plucked 36 artists from the festival lineup and chosen a song by each, resulting in two-and-a-half hours of fantastic music. This is SKOA's essential Sasquatch! mix. This is the We Found Sasquatch! Mixtape.
The mixtape features plenty of amazing talent, including Vampire Weekend, Disclosure, Tame Impala, Alt-J, Surfer Blood, Dirty Projectors, Father John Misty, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, Bloc Party, Empire of the Sun, Toro Y Moi, Holy Ghost!, The xx, El-P, P.O.S, CHVRCHES and more. For your convenience, the mixtape is available to stream below via 8tracks, or you can download all 36 songs in one, two, three parts. Check it out and hopfully it makes the journey to Sasquatch! a little bit easier. The full tracklisting is after the jump.
The first weekend of Coachella flew by, and there were lots of memorable moments. Hell, R. Kelly joined Phoenix onstage in a surprise moment of the festival. Given the nature of the festival, with its well-established live streaming and eager fans with cameras in hand, it wasn't long before a decent amount of videos hit the web. After the jump, you can check out a whole swath of these uploaded videos, including full sets from The xx, Earl Sweatshirt, Blur and Vampire Weekend along with shorter clips from so many more. The joys of technology.
The xx (Full Set):
Earl Sweatshirt (Full Set):
Blur (Full Set):
Vampire Weekend (Full Set):
Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Performing "Maps"/"Heads Will Roll"):
Beach House (Performing "Zebra"/"Wishes"):
James Blake (Performing "Voyeur" and "Digital Lion"):
Tame Impala (Performing "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards" and "Elephant"):
Modest Mouse (Performing "Be Brave" and "Dramamine"):
Alt-J (Performing "Fitzpleasure" and "Breezeblocks"):
Major Lazer (Performing "Get Free" with Amber Coffman):
The Postal Service offered up their first new music in over a decade a few weeks back with the song "A Tattered Line of String", one of two new songs from the upcoming tenth-anniversary reissue of Give Up. Today, Seattle radio station 107.7 The End points us to the second new song, titled "Turn Around". Stream it below and let us know if Ben Gibbard and Dntel fit into the 2013 mould.
The Give Up Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition reissue is set to drop on April 9th on double disc CD or Triple LP. Check here for the full details of the release, and head here to see The Postal Service's full 2013 tour schedule.