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Strange Bedfellows
November 4, 2004 8:57 AM   Subscribe

Would the real Postal Service please stand up?
The Postal Service named their band to reflect the fact that its album was created by mailing tracks back and forth between collaborators. But about a year ago, it received a cease and desist order from that other Postal Service, as in, that one that actually delivers the mail. Well, a year later, instead of crushing the synth-wielding weaklings, the two entities have actually kissed and made up. The Postal Service gets to keep its name, and in exchange, the USPS gets a house band for its upcoming conference and maybe a soundtrack for its next tv spot. Somewhere, Moby is nodding approvingly.
posted by UncleDave (32 comments total)

 
The same thing happened to Chicago (the band) back when they were called Chicago Transit Authority, IIRC.
posted by jonmc at 8:59 AM on November 4, 2004


Just to be clear, I don't think I've ever even heard a track from this band. It's not a fan post. I just thought it was a pretty grown-up move on the part of the United States Postal Service. Actually, pretty grown-up all around.

Oh, and 'via Pitchfork'
posted by UncleDave at 9:01 AM on November 4, 2004


I think it's kinda cool, actually. At least they didn't have to change their name, and might actually get some cash out of the deal. Good for them.
posted by me3dia at 9:03 AM on November 4, 2004


I wish something similar would have happened with Manitoba Caribou.
posted by dobbs at 9:06 AM on November 4, 2004


that's pretty cool. Thanks for pointing it out. The Postal Service is a damn good band.
posted by philcliff at 9:16 AM on November 4, 2004


Which move retains more artistic integrity:

1) Changing your name because the USPS tells you to
2) Making a deal with the USPS where you play a postal worker conference and co-brand your recordings with them

I'm really on the fence with this one. If this was my band I'd call myself "The Postal Service UK" and we'd all laugh until our next album failed miserably.
posted by neustile at 9:18 AM on November 4, 2004


Good to see people working things out in a sensible way.
posted by dig_duggler at 9:19 AM on November 4, 2004


Who wants to join my band: The Department of Homeland Security?
posted by jpoulos at 9:27 AM on November 4, 2004


I'm starting a band called The Blue States, myself.

(and The Postal Service album is great)
posted by papercake at 9:31 AM on November 4, 2004


That first link to adage requires registration.
posted by smackfu at 9:33 AM on November 4, 2004


As long as they don't change their music, who cares what they call themselves, neustile? How does this affect their "artistic integrity"?
posted by kenko at 9:39 AM on November 4, 2004


Sorry 'bout that. I used Bugmenot to get in. Here's the registration I used:

ID: clarus84@hotmail.com
Pass: fpdcB2B

For whatever reason, I thought it was allowing me to directly link to inside pages, but I guess it just remembered my password.
posted by UncleDave at 9:42 AM on November 4, 2004


Oh, that's so great! Nice to see a happy ending to a story that starts with a cease-and-desist. I love the Postal Service... if you haven't heard them, you should give 'em a listen. There's a free mp3 on their site. I read someone call them "emotronica," which is sorta right. Insidiously catchy and lovely.
posted by kittyb at 10:00 AM on November 4, 2004


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

--The Postal Service, "Such Great Heights"

It's nice to see a fairly obscure band I like get some well-deserved publicity. I wish every cease-and-desist letter could be worked out so nicely.
posted by wanderingmind at 10:08 AM on November 4, 2004


kenko: I wasn't suggesting it did. I think it's a valid question. They decided that it was more important to them to keep their name, so they obv. felt that changing it would affect them somehow.
posted by neustile at 10:10 AM on November 4, 2004


ps wanderingmind: they're on their way to selling a million records. That's not obscure by any stretch of the imagination.
posted by neustile at 10:12 AM on November 4, 2004


Somehow, I don't think it would have worked out this way if the Postal Service wasn't, you know... relatively popular and selling plenty of records.

Then again, they probably wouldn't have received the cease-and-desist, either.
posted by neckro23 at 10:18 AM on November 4, 2004


The Postal Service are pretty far from obscure, but they're still a really, REALLY kick-ass group. One of the best albums released last year, no doubt. I still listen to "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" and DNTEL's "(This is) The Dream of Evan and Chan" regularly. Those of you jumping on the Rilo Kiley bandwagon can hear some great back-up vocals from her throughout the album, especially in "Nothing Better." Here are some MP3s, I found on the net--sorry if they don't work.

The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
Such Great Heights
posted by lotsofno at 10:30 AM on November 4, 2004


It would be great if the band The Postal Service has slapped a cease-and-desist on the mail-carrier postal service...and won, forcing the mail-carriers to change their name to...Dokken. Or something.
posted by tpl1212 at 11:03 AM on November 4, 2004


man! i just started a similar band called The Gmail Servers, and we suck just as much as The Postal Service (the band, thank god for snail mail)

seriously tho, that band is painful to listen to... dont be fooled
posted by Satapher at 11:47 AM on November 4, 2004


somewhere Moby says "oh wow! what a great sound" and everything makes sense
posted by Satapher at 11:51 AM on November 4, 2004


seriously tho, that band is painful to listen to... dont be fooled

I just listened to the album again after reading this FPP and enjoyed it... again. I hate when I get fooled like that.

Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks.
posted by papercake at 12:03 PM on November 4, 2004


and so on and so on and scooby doobie doo

yeah im sorry, im a caricature of myself
posted by Satapher at 12:09 PM on November 4, 2004


The Postal Service is incredible. Ben Gibbard's voice is really a hit-or-miss sort of phenomenon. If you like the stuff, check out his main project, Death Cab for Cutie, an equally dominant force in the pseudo-indie movement.

Now for the gem: KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic had a special showing of the band. You can stream the full album or watch the in-studio performance here (RealPlayer). My girlfriend and I cuddle up under some warm sheets with hot cocoa and watch it together all the time. Very enchanting.
posted by Mach3avelli at 12:13 PM on November 4, 2004


That'd actually be pretty sweet if USPS could pull off an ad that meshed their message of delivery with the Postal Service's 80's 'tronica video vibe. Beats that campy, uncomfortably patriotic "fly like an eagle" theme any day.
posted by superfem at 12:42 PM on November 4, 2004


Somewhere, Moby is nodding approvingly.

I have no idea what this means.
posted by mr.marx at 12:48 PM on November 4, 2004


Also, if you like The PS, check out Stars as well.
posted by papercake at 12:55 PM on November 4, 2004


Which move retains more artistic integrity

If only artistic integrity could be measured like heat. Then maybe it wouldn't be subjective bullshit designed to make us feel superior.
posted by botono9 at 1:41 PM on November 4, 2004


The Postal Service is a great band. But I too don't know why Moby is nodding his head approvingly. And I read the whole Moby wikipedia linked page.
posted by bingo at 6:29 PM on November 4, 2004


mr.marx - the reference was because Moby managed to license every track on his album Play to advertisers before it had even been released.
posted by Spacelegoman at 6:37 PM on November 4, 2004


(and The Postal Service album is great)

At least, until it becomes anymore popular. Then they will become sellouts, like those Modest Mouse charlatans.
posted by weston at 9:15 PM on November 4, 2004


The same thing happened to Chicago (the band) back when they were called Chicago Transit Authority, IIRC.

Except that in this case the band got to keep its name. So really, not the same thing at all.
posted by jjg at 4:54 PM on November 5, 2004


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