Postal Service delivers first-class alt-rock

  • By Andy Rathbun Special to The Herald
  • Wednesday, July 10, 2013 7:00pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

The Postal Service has one of the least likely stories in the history of pop music.

The group was formed when Ben Gibbard, a singer for — at the time — the little known indie rock band Death Cab for Cutie, started mailing recordings back and forth with another borderline unknown, electronica producer Jimmy Tamborello.

The pair patched together 10 songs that way, releasing the album “Give Up” on Sub Pop Records as the Postal Service, a nod to the way they recorded the music.

The group toured after the release of the album, playing small venues, and then parted ways. The album peaked at No. 114 on the Billboard 200.

But fans didn’t lose track of the band. The group’s music became a staple on alt-rock radio, and then started popping up in commercials. Slowly, “Give Up” became Sub Pop’s second best-selling record ever, a platinum album that’s topped only by Nirvana’s debut.

Now, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of “Give Up,” the guys are back together. They released a few new tracks — the single “A Tattered Line of String” snuck onto the charts earlier this year — and are headlining arenas.

The group will play Seattle’s KeyArena at 7 p.m. July 18.

Tickets are $50.44 to $60.70 at ticketmaster.com or 800-745-3000.

Jimmy Eat World are also on the road, and will play the Showbox SoDo at 8 p.m. Monday.

The emo-rock band hit it big in 2001, when the buzzed-about group released its album “Bleed American” — a title that was changed shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The album became self-titled instead, and the group’s joyful single, “The Middle,” seemed wired into the Zeitgeist. Its springy lyrics and huge hook were a sugary consolation, as the group sang that, “Everything, everything will be all right.” It hit No. 1.

Since then, the group has established itself as one of rock’s more reliable acts, able to balance big guitar hooks with genuine sentiment. It is now touring behind its eighth studio album, “Damages.”

Tickets are $28 at showboxonline.com or 888-929-7849.

A string of shows will also draw crowds to the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville in the coming week.

First up is Chris Botti, who will play the venue at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The jazz trumpeter has established himself as a force, with virtually all of his new recordings topping the jazz charts since 2004.

His most recent record, “Impressions,” hit No. 1 last year. That album found Botti interpreting a diverse group of musicians, including Frederic Chopin, R. Kelly and Randy Newman, among others.

Tickets are $53.30 to $75.35 at ticketmaster.com or 800-745-3000.

Then, at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Counting Crows and the Wallflowers will play a sold-out show at the winery.

Both bands established themselves in the 1990s, tapping into a rootsy vein of music that found a big audience amid the explosion in grunge rock. Both groups also got a big boost from their charismatic frontmen.

Counting Crows, led by Adam Duritz, topped the charts with songs including “Mr. Jones” and “Round Here,” while the Wallflowers, led by Jakob Dylan, scored enduring hits such as “One Headlight.”

Tickets are sold out, but can be found at a mark-up at stubhub.com.

Finally, David Byrne — formerly of the Talking Heads — and St. Vincent will hit the Woodinville winery for a show at 7 p.m. July 18.

The two art-house favorites, both with vibrant solo careers, paired up in 2012 for “Love this Giant,” an avant-garde rock album that won critical praise and some commercial success — it reached No. 23 on the Billboard 200.

Tickets are $70.45 to $91.45 at ticketmaster.com or 800-745-3000.

The long-running punk band Rancid will wrap up its two-night stand at the Showbox SoDo with a concert at 8:30 Friday night.

Tickets are $27.50 at showboxonline.com or 888-929-7849.

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