|04/15/07||Washington DC, DC|
|04/16/07||New York City, NY|
Letters. Remember those? You can’t knock the immediacy of email, it’s true, but most of us miss those hand-written communiqu’es from lovers, family or friends. Somewhere on the envelope was a postmark, testament to a passage across actual land or sea, rather than a rapid zap through cyberspace. “That’s why the name ‘The Postmarks’ stuck with us”, says Christopher Moll, one third of the Miami trio with that very moniker. “We liked the romantic notion of a postmark documenting a letter’s journey.”
Together with fellow multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Wilkins and singer/lyricist Tim Yehezkely, Moll crafts meticulously arranged, richly cinematic music with subtle nods to Bacharach, Brian Wilson, classic British indie and vintage French pop. Had The Sundays embraced a Baroque aesthetic or Van Dyke Parks orchestrated an especially autumnal-sounding Francoise Hardy album, it might have sounded something like The Postmarks’ self-titled debut.
“We aim to produce songs that sound like they’ve always existed and always will exist”, says Christopher of his band’s chic, sepia-tinted output, and with Yehezkely and Wilkins on board, all is possible. Tim, we should point out, is a gal with a boy’s name; a beautiful, yet inscrutable individual possessed of a soft-textured voice that’s simultaneously seductive and detached. When Tim Yehezkely sings, clocks stop, people listen, and ice cream refuses to melt.
How did an Anglophile/Francophile indie band come to form in the rock cover-versions hub that is South Florida? Well hold up – let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Let’s start by pointing out that, pre- Postmarks, the Miami-born Jonathan had played with Christopher in Brazilica music/Stereolab-influenced indie outfit See Venus. Prior to that, moreover, Jonathan had been based in San Francisco scoring music for independent films.
Christopher – born in The Bronx, NYC – had already established himself as a gifted composer, arranger and producer around Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. He also shared Jonathan’s passion for film music, and as Jonathan tells it, the pair’s friendship was sealed by a shared appreciation of the score for the 1973, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing-appointed gore-fest Horror Express, a flick they’d both seen as kids.
By 2004, See Venus was no more, though, and Jonathan was periodically DJ-ing at Dada, a West Palm Beach venue that sometimes had open-mic nights. One evening a girl with a boy’s name got up. It was Tim Yehezkely, of course, and when the enigmatic, Tel Aviv-born singer managed to silence then enthral the normally rowdy crowd, Jonathan made sure to approach her afterwards.
“That night was actually the first time I had performed in front of anybody”, recalls Tim. “I’d been writing songs and demoing them at home, but just for myself really. It was me with my guitar or me with my accordion.”
“I didn’t want to make her nervous”, adds Jonathan, so I arranged this kind of secret audition for the project I knew Christopher was working on."
“I think Jonathan had ulterior motives, actually”, chips in Christopher, laughing. “But yeah, he spoke to Tim, and the next time she was playing he lured me out from my cave to take a look for myself. She was amazing. I fell in love immediately.”
That ‘cave’ Christopher speaks of is his home studio in Coral Springs, North of Fort Lauderdale. You could call it an Aladdin’s cave, actually, for the place is festooned with vintage keyboards and all kinds of exotic instrumentation. It was there, overlooked by a poster of the sleeve art for John Coltrane’s Blue Train, that The Postmarks recorded a beguiling debut album scored for strings, brass and woodwind. During the daytime sessions, swarms of yellow/orange butterflies would sometimes flit past Christopher’s second floor window at treetop level.
It’s worth reiterating that the influence of film / film soundtracks on The Postmarks’ music cannot be overstated. “Our album has very few direct references as far as other bands go”, says Jonathan. “We’re much more influenced by composers like John Barry and Ennio Morricone, plus lesser-known guys like Les Baxter.”
When resident Francophile Tim is asked what inspired her impressionistic, evocative lyrics on the album, moreover, she’s quick to cite Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s magical 2001 film Am’elie as a touchstone. “I fell in love with that movie, that director, and Yann Tierson’s music for the film”, she says. “Something about the world Am’elie creates and the emotions the film brings out just resonated with me.”
You’ll remember that, earlier on, we mentioned Miami being sorted for bar bands playing cover versions. Jonathan points out the city has never had its own music genre ‘scenes’ as such, and that this probably explains why successful acts from the Florida locale – hello Marilyn Manson, Gloria Estefan and Tom Petty – have tended to be a musically diverse bunch.
“At times we felt like we were on a desert island”, says Christopher picking up the theme of musical isolation. “We had to set this flare off to let people know we were alive. When we finished recording the album we firmly believed we were onto something, but we wanted to bring in a bigger name to mix it – Someone we respected. That’s where Andy came in.”
Ah, yes – Andy Chase. Though the likes of Richard Hawley and Sean ‘High Llamas’ O’Hagan also had dealings with The Postmarks, it was Chase – founder of Unfiltered Records and esteemed producer of acts such as Ivy and Tahiti 80 – who mixed the rather wonderful CD you hold in your hands. Andy was particularly taken with “Goodbye”, a choice nugget that would bed-down beautifully on a solo album by Mama Cass, and which has since benefited from a magical animated video courtesy of Kirby McClure and Julia Grigorian, AKA acclaimed Los Angeles-based directing duo, Radical Friend.
At the time of writing, The Postmarks have finished working on By The Numbers, a 12-part series of cover songs that US website eMusic are offering as free MP3 downloads on a month-by-month basis. Christopher, Tim and Jonathan have already filed unique takes on Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” and John Barry’s “You Only Live Twice”, and currently have David Bowie’s “Five Years” in their sights.
The group’s ace debut album is out in the UK 28th July so maybe The Postmarks will venture here soon? “That would be great!” says Jonathan, audibly excited at the prospect. “If Mr Branson could avail us of one of his airplanes or balloons we’d love to!”
If the Postmarks’ delightful, weather-obsessed, self-titled 2007 debut didn’t quite catch fire, blame the times. As bands of musicologist types fronted by fetching lady singers go, the Miami trio doesn’t quite have the cosmopolitan chic of seductive NYC labelmates Ivy nor London’s dance culture-conscious Saint Etienne. Yet they’re not nearly as homespun as any number of pleated-skirt, jangly indie pop acts that live or die by the tambourine, either. Up the shamble factor, and they could well be regulars at Indietracks and the NYC, Athens, and New England Popfests, not selling many records but cultivating a cultishly devout international fanbase happily adorned in “Tim Postmarks” one-inch buttons. Put on a little more polish, and they might find themselves music-supervisor darlings, routinely opening sold out concert hall tours for, say, Pink Martini. Instead? They’re in some kind of listener-demographic limbo, a Venn-diagram sliver between “professional” and “adorable”— and in today’s caste culture, that can spell utter obscurity.
The problem isn’t lost on the Postmarks, who, rather than dial it down DIY-ward, have ramped it up to the rafters with their second full-length collection of originals, Memoirs at the End of the World. In case the title and cover art didn’t clue you in, this is the Postmarks hopped up on some Mancini/Morricone/John Barry axis of cinephilia (something they touched on on last year’s cover outing By the Numbers) and embracing all the bold horns, cascading strings, and percussive panache that come with it. Lavish and evocative are the keywords here; there’s even a harpsichord effect on “Go Jetsetter”, a jazz trumpet outro on “Theme From ‘Memoirs’”, and some sitar business on the sumptuously arranged “All You Ever Wanted”. Several tracks also showcase a hitherto unheard grit: “Don’t Know Till You Try”, with its electronic chirps and dramatic brass, starts out sounding like a lite version of Broadcast’s “Pendulum”, while “For Better…Or Worse?” has all the tension of a spy thriller chase sequence, complete with a timpani-accented finale. Some more discerning listeners might rightly accuse the band of studio arsenal overkill, but for the most part Memoirs congeals into a thing of pristine orchestrated pop beauty. There isn’t a misstep on here, even if you probably won’t hear an out-and-out single either.
With the cinematic leanings, it’s tempting to position the Postmarks of Memoirs alongside Portishead, and, especially, the later Hooverphonic records, but vocalist Tim Yehezkely is in a decidedly different league. Rather than play the vamp here, Yehezkely sounds like the comely girl staring wistfully out the window on the cover of the first Postmarks disc. This is not a bad thing, and in fact can make for a compelling dialectic, akin to movie star theory’s great paradox that stars seem simultaneously “just like us” and of another world altogether. Yehezkely, with her limited range and slightly detached delivery, effectively bridges that gap between the music’s indulgent/escapist tendencies and our desire to connect with it despite that distance. With her the Postmarks very well may have found a way to speak to both of the indie pop worlds they once seemed so precariously caught between: an unlikely marriage of craft and unpracticed charm, and a music made for dreamers and by dreamers. Can’t wait for the sequel.
— Matthew Solarski, August 12, 2009
Gimmicky yet compelling, the delicate second album by Miami’s Postmarks presents 11 numerically titled covers in ascending order, plus Sesame Street’s cute “Pinball Number Count.” Languid Tim Yehezkely sings like she’s dissolving into the mist, staying true to the elegant anxiety of Bowie’s “Five Years” and transforming Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” into a touching reverie. If the Byrds’ “Eight Miles High” seems limp, the Bond theme “You Only Live Twice” and the Ramones’ girl-group ode “7-11” highlight the trio’s gift for mining genuine emotion from quaint styles.
Everyone loves a good cover, and we think this one is number 1. Check out The Postmarks latest offering, By-The-Numbers, a collection of cover songs from Miami-based indie-pop darlings. No mere collection of favorites, the tracks on By-The-Numbers carries lead singer Tim Yehezkely’s breathy vocals over titles consecutively numbers from one to eleven, including everything from the Cure (Six Different Ways) to the Jesus and Mary Chain (Nine Million Rainy Days). Pick it up through the band’s site.
South Florida’s The Postmarks made quite a splash with their 2007 self-titled debut, receiving glowing reviews from local outlets in addition to Rolling Stone and Pitchfork, the influential indie music webzine.
The core members are singer/lyricist Tim Yehezkely (a woman) and instrumentalists Jonathan Wilkins and Christopher Moll, who live throughout Palm Beach and Broward counties. In both albums, Yehezkely’s breathy vocals are layered over lush sonic landscapes, blending elements of French pop, cinematic scores and ’60s girl groups. The result is an offbeat, dreamy indie-pop that’s perfectly lounge-inducing.
The group’s sophomore album, “By-the-Numbers” (recorded in Fort Lauderdale), covers 12 songs by artists as varied as David Bowie, Bob Marley, The Byrds, The Cure, The Ramones, Blondie and The Pointer Sisters. As implied by the title (think paint by number), The Postmarks rely on the musical framework established by the original artists, but they’re not limited by it. The trio—with the help of guest artists like trumpeter Eddie Alonso and cellist/violinist Courtney Yeates—uses the original songs merely as a jumping off point. (You’ll also notice that each song, except the last, has a number in it corresponding to the track number. Plus, the images on the cover tie into the songs, too.)
Take Marley’s iconic “Three Little Birds,” for example. The Postmarks slow it down and stretch it out, transforming this bouncy reggae hit into an ethereal, airy lullaby. On The Cure’s “Six Different Ways,” background sounds of rain and thunder reflect the singer’s inner turbulence, while Yehezkely’s vocals remain mysteriously cool and detached.
It’s safe to say that The Postmarks have evaded the sophomore slump with this release, which further establishes them as one of South Florida’s most refreshing and promising musical acts. Catch them live at March’s Langerado festival in Miami (click here or visit langerado.com for more information).
It’s not very often that a covers album is done in the unique direction taken by Miami’s indie-pop darlings The Postmarks. The 12 covers, including compelling selections from David Bowie to The Cure, each contain a number in the title from one to 11 and yet they don’t seem gimmicky at all. Perhaps it’s because it doesn’t even feel like a covers album with the breath-taking chanteuse Tim Yehezkely shaping each track to their signature lush, noir-like style that sounds like it could be straight out of a Twin Peaks episode.
Recommended if you dig … Peter Bjorn & John or Cat Power.
After The Postmark’s self-titled debut last year, the Miami pop trio decided to undertake an intriguing project in which they digitally released a cover song for each month of 2008. Covers in and of themselves aren’t particularly groundbreaking, especially for newer bands. But The Postmarks took things a step further by choosing tunes with numbers in their titles to correspond with each month of the year. For January, “One Note Samba” by Antonio Carlos Jobim was chosen. June, the sixth month of the year, was paired with The Cure’s “Six Different Ways.” And now, for November, the group has settled on Blondie’s “11:59.”
The singles were available online for much of the year and they’ve recently been compiled into a sophomore album, appropriately titled By-the-Numbers. There’s obviously a familiarity in covers, but don’t expect to easily hum along to these 12 right away. They’ve all been skillfully adapted, with reggae (Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds”) and surf rock (“Slaughter on Tenth Avenue” by The Ventures) being turned into the gently sashaying pop gems The Postmarks do so well. And the effect wouldn’t be nearly so charming without singer Tim Yehezkely’s sweetly innocent vocals (don’t be fooled by her name – this Tim is actually a woman).
Music fans will certainly recognize most, if not all, of By-the-Numbers. Hopefully, the project will inspire listeners to also dig into The Postmark’s original work, such as their excellent 2007 debut. Any band that turns “Eight Miles High,” originally by The Byrds, into an alluring Spaghetti Western piece deserves the extra attention.
A covers record usually signals one thing: That a band is fresh out of ideas, skint for inspiration and making do with what’s at hand. It’s usually a no-brainer, a trip into the studio armed only with a few favorite singles and a lot of stall-for-time hope.
Not with The Postmarks. With a clever, if somewhat gimmicky, theme to tie everything together and a style that’s able to overhaul each song in a major, major way, By the Numbers is a lot more than a quick under-the-influences rundown of what’s in The Postmarks’ collective record collection. Organized around a playful notion that catches the band tackling a song with “one” in its title in the first track, “two” in its title in the second and so forth, there’s a loose, if somewhat forced logic to the direction By the Numbers takes.
You won’t have to admire the band’s song selection to get into this 12-cut cover-a-thon, though. The Postmarks’ bedroom pop masterfully obliterates just about everything that stands in its way. More involved with reinterpreting its songs than merely performing them, The Postmarks don’t just touch on these songs. They own them. They make them their own.
Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” loses its Caribbean spices and becomes a dream-pop number that’s just as full of optimistic sunshine as the original. The Cure’s “Six Different Ways” becomes only more ethereal, as, led by singer Tim Yehezkely’s breathless vocals, The Postmarks’ lush arrangements naturally unfurl to match the song’s soul. A cut by Ride (“Ox4”) and The Jesus and Mary Chain (“Nine Million Rainy Days”) also fluidly make the transition into the band’s shy and restrained, yet full-bodied sound. It needs a little more effort to deconstruct The Ramones’ “7-11” past its ‘60s pop riffs and Blondie’s “11:59” takes on new life in pearls of heavily textured bedroom/dream pop.
The Postmarks aren’t just phoning in an easy makeshift set: The act crafts By the Numbers with all the care it’d take to build a Postmarks song from scratch. If there’s a little of the originals lost in the conversion, that’s OK: By its very nature, By the Numbers is much more of a celebration of The Postmarks’ musicianship than its influences.
Last year’s self-titled debut by sumptuous South Florida trio the Postmarks was full of songs that sounded like they might’ve been covers. Christopher Moll and Jonathan Wilkins, both previously of a Stereolab-leaning outfit called See Venus, crafted lavish, loungey arrangements that merged bossa nova, John Barry film scores, Burt Bacharach, Brian Wilson, and vintage French pop within direct, pure-pop songcraft enamored of romance and rainy days. Tel Aviv-born singer Tim Yehezkely’s shy whisper was a perfect final ingredient, evoking twee-poppers like the Softies or Camera Obscura as well as the seductive sophisti-pop of Unfiltered label chiefs Ivy.
The Postmarks’ second full-length actually is a covers album— and a fine one, at that. By-the-Numbers follows the band’s beguiling online-only recordings of Astrud Gilberto’s swoonsome love song “Dreamer” and, more adventurously, Ministry’s “Everyday Is Halloween”. The project began as a monthly series of cover songs to be posted on eMusic, but by September the group had realized they had enough material for another proper album instead. There’s one (yes, slightly precious) organizing principle: Each of the songs has a number in its title, counting up from 1 to 11, until the finale, the counting-to-12 “Pinball Number Drop” originally sung by the Pointer Sisters for “Sesame Street”.
Even if you didn’t pay any attention to the song titles, By-the-Numbers would still be a collection of good-to-great songs performed in the swoonsome style the Postmarks made their signature on their first record. Yehezkely’s understatement suits the less-is-more theme of “One Note Samba”; based on Antoni Carlos Jobim’s version, the cover is a natural fit for the Postmarks’ already Brazilian-tinged sound. Yehezkely’s softness also settles nicely into the whirling strings of the more stridently Nancy Sinatra-sung Bond theme “You Only Live Twice” (familiar to those of us of a certain age and radio-listening habits as sampled in Robbie Williams’ dire Y2K cash-in “Millennium”). These slippers were made for walking to bed.
When the Postmarks have to stretch more to make the songs their own, the results are no less satisfying. Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” might have stood out like a fat white guy in a rastafarian hat, but instead it’s a slow-motion highlight, with gentle guitars and wide-screen percussion. Rock-style drums and shimmery guitar lines do show up to grace the Postmarks’ takes on Ride’s “OX4” and the Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Nine Million Rainy Days”, but both manage to convey the nuance within the group’s style rather than deviating too much from it— if Air could soundtrack a Sofia Coppola film, why not these cats? Blondie’s “11:59” is a bit of a reach, but getting more upbeat doesn’t hurt the Postmarks here. An Ennio Morricone-flavored remake of the Byrds’ “Eight Miles High” is the only track that doesn’t quite cohere, although David Bowie’s regal croon is missed on “Five Years”.
One revelation is the Ramones “7-11”, which ends up sounding less like a deadpan punk-pop reference to girl-group classics than a sincere and all-new teenage symphony. “Whatever happened to the radio?/ And where did all the fun songs go?” Yehezkely murmurs, per Joey R., embodying the song’s tragic “Leader of the Pack”/“Last Kiss”-esque conclusion as if there had never been a “Leader of the Pack” or “Last Kiss”. By-the-Numbers probably wouldn’t have ever been played much on the radio in the past couple of decades, and its mood is more relaxing than fun, but it’s a lovely set of covers that sound like they could’ve been originals. Hey, somebody give the Postmarks another number.
Despite the variety of genres that are being drawn from, the result is a cohesive and hauntingly beautiful work of art…In less talented hands their style would be banished to elevators and lobbies, but The Postmarks have created something transcendent…Even when performing covers, The Postmarks are an instant classic.
The last time anyone made ’60s pop revivalism this sumptuous was in the ’90s. And with the ’90s slowly becoming the new ’80s, these indie-pop sophisticates may find themselves on the leading edge. Based in Miami and represented by Orlando’s Foundation Management, the Postmarks are defined by dulcet chamber drifts and the stylish remove of chanteuse Tim Yehezkely’s voice.
This sophomore LP is a playful take on the concept album: all covers, all but the last song with a number in the title, arranged in ordinal progression. Such urbane concepts live and die by degree of taste, but their selection of source material flaunts a keen palate.
The collection represents wider stylistic expression for the Postmarks. Fairly rocking by their standards is the remake of Ride’s “OX4,” which casts a broad, gorgeous sky of guitars reminiscent of Darklands. They magnificently push the nostalgic teen sentimentality of the Ramones’ “7-11” to the logical extreme of Phil Spector’s symphonic girl-group splendor. The Byrds’ “Eight Miles High” is turned into a sweeping spaghetti-Western score, the Ventures’ “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue” into an echoing Del Shannon-esque instrumental and Blondie’s “11:59” into brisk pop evocative of prime Saint Etienne.
Sadly, there are a few underdeveloped tracks that result in mere pastels of some great songs (David Bowie’s “Five Years,” the Cure’s “Six Different Ways” and the Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Nine Million Rainy Days”). But most are interesting, well-executed transformations.
By-the-Numbers boasts the Postmarks’ most thoughtful, cinematic arrangements yet. Instead of relying solely on cool detachment, the album charms with a sense of whimsy. Most important, their stiffness is gradually melting away.
It is physically impossible — and I’ve looked this up — to find anything unpleasant about Florida’s the Postmarks. From their gentle indie pop sound, to Tim Yehezkely’s lovely turn as the band’s frontwom an, they bounce along like an autumn breeze.
Their ful-length, self-titled debut was one of last year’s out-of-nowhere surprises (it likely sounded great after you soaked in your Lavender Diamond discs), and their latest effort “By the Numbers” is a colection of covers that alcon tain a number from 1-12. It’s quite precious, actualy, as are these re-interpretations, which the band dashes with its trademark sounds, and Yehezkely cuddles with her breathy, deli cate voice. “Three Little Birds,” one of Bob Marley’s more recognizable songs, takes on an altogether different costume, dreamed instead as a warm, echoey song that doesn’t make itself obvious until Yehezkely sings, “Every little thing is going to be alright.” “You Only Live Twice” remains sexy and smooth without showing as much leg; Ride’s “OX4” gets lathered in New Wave and shoe gaze; “7-11” maintains the fun of the Ramones’ tragic love story, though it changes the gender of the subject matter; “11:59” doesn’t quite have Debbie Harry’s sass, but it doesn’t need it; and closer “PinbalNumber Count” might be obvious only if you’ve seen “Sesame Street.” Hearing it wilforce you to resist the urge to pinch Yehezkely on the cheek for being so darn awesome.
Aww, I thought today would be a slow blogging day, but alas, there’s joy in Mudville. South Florida’s favorite indie-pop trio, the Postmarks, are releasing a brand new album next week, entitled By the Numbers and finally, there’s some material floating around to help give it a buzz.
This video is for a cover of the popular Blondie song, “11:59,” and features the band’s beautiful and melancholy lead singer Tim Yehezkely doing what she does best, looking beautiful and melancholy. The album itself traces the band’s monthly covers series in a unique way; each song title has a number to coincide with the tracklisting. The song, “11:59” is appropriately the 11th song on the album, and the trio does a masterful job recreating a difficult tune in way that only they could.
In an interview with Stereogum last month, band member Christopher Moll described the video as such:We didn’t want it to sound new wave … we had already established an overall sound on the album that was essentially “us” and we had to find a way to translate the energy level in that song into something that worked within our universe. We think it works … it has this frantic quality that I would expect from a band making music about the last few minutes on Earth.
Interestingly enough, the vid was directed by fellow band member Jonathan Wilkins and dude did a damn good job with this one. By the Numbers is in stores next Tuesday, 11/11 so be sure to support the hometown heroes and buy their album. And check back in with us two weeks from now for an in depth story on the band’s growth over the last year and a half.
It takes courage for an up-and-
coming indie pop band to devote
its sophomore release to covers.
The Postmarks, however, doesn’t
really have a modern-day niche
to follow anyway. The band’s
dreamy, Bacharach-esque debut
showed deference to a bygone era
of meticulous songcraft and By
the Numbers continues that path,
whether the subject is the Byrds or
Blondie. “Eight Miles High” is a ragga-
inspired 12-string workout no more.
Tim Yehezkely’s whispery vocals and
cinematic arrangement turn the song
into the anti-psychedelic. Reinventing
again, “11:59” is no slick new wave.
The band keeps its original pep, but
the homespun sound brings to mind
Saturday Looks Good to Me. Covering
songs with numbers in their titles may
be a gimmick, but it goes down so
easy you shouldn’t complain.
Who would’ve thought that the swingingest Silverlake band would be born, bred and based right here inMiami? Not us, that’s for sure. And probably not anyone who frequents Spaceland either. But that’s what’s up with The Postmarks, who send us positively la-la. Fronted by the delightfully divine Tim Yehezkely, The ‘Marks are making a mark all right, and not just in Miami and Los Angeles. In fact, the act’s been making tracks all over the whole wide world. With a free e-music series of monthly covers constantly adding to their oeuvre (their take on Bowie’s “Five Years” is exceptionally exceptional), and remixes by James Iha and Spookey Ruben of Ladytron fame rounding out their first LP, global domination seems assured. Not bad for a group who manufactures its deep, cool melancholy in a “heartbreak factory.”
(Rated 11 out of 13)
The Postmarks seem to have a love of past times; even their name is a reminder of life before email took over as our favourite way to communicate. â€œGoodbyeâ€, their new single, is one that is infused with this old school charm. There is a rose tinted 60s sound running throughout its gentle pop tones; husky but cute female vocals from front woman Tim Yehezkely (no thatâ€™s not a typo), brass, staccato guitars, bass thatâ€™s so low and resonant it sounds like a double. The tune has a cinematic vastness to it: the sound of a Parisian romp in the summer time as seen in a 60s spy thriller; slightly mysterious, poppy with a sweetly catchy tune, light and airy but also full of longing. This tune is addictive after just one listen, one of those haunting songs that drives you nuts unless you put it on and listen to it over and over again.
South Floridians The Postmarks have no shame in being influenced by the summery shimmer of Brian Wilson’s production technique, but fortunately they’ve got the chops to at least bring their own invention to the table. Opener ‘Goodbye’ is a delightfully shiny twinkly pop tune that craftily marries quite bittersweet lyrics to a buoyant tune, the defiant march of somebody walking out on a bad relationship.
The same cutesy-sombre sound bleeds through the album, lead singer Tim Yehezkely has a strange kind of processed sounding voice – or perhaps its just been a touch over-produced – but she manages to convey both a sense of passion and distance in a kind of twee-robot way. It contrasts nicely with the rich instrumentation on display here; impressively arranged by the band’s remaining members – Jon Wilkins and Christopher Moll.
Despite the obvious ‘Beach Boys’ influence and sunshine coast upbringing there’s something pleasingly rain-soaked about the tunes here, as if staring out the window at the coast as the storm clouds spit down on your holiday plans. This is a refreshing touch in a time when too many bands are striving, struggling and failing to capture that sun-kissed sixties sound. This is not a great album, it suffers from being a touch too slumberous, but it’s a dreamy, lucid record that stands out amongst the rather lazy pop that swamps the airwaves in the late-spring / early-summer.
4 out of 5 stars
How cool are the Postmarks?! They sound like the soundtrack to some New Hollywood movie like I Heart Huckabees or Little Miss Sunshine. Feel good sugary music with integrity, the Postmarks are our new favourite band. We really hope they do as well as they deserve. Look out for the song ‘Goodbye’ which is the next single.
The Postmarks are on a journey into sound. The band’s roots are in South Florida and they’re set for an international stamp of approval in tonight’s Almost Famous, Deco’s Aubrey Aquino is jammin out with The Postmarks.
The postmarks are delivering a new sound out of the South Florida music scene.
Jonathan Wilkins: “I would call it just plain rock and roll or post new romantic that’s good too, gangsta pop, gangsta pop is good.”
OK, not exactly, don’t listen to the drummer. The trio’s lead singer better describes it like this.
Tim Yehezkely: “It’s relaxing and dreamy for a day you want to spend inside and listen to music and relax.”
Chill, atmospheric melodies to set the mood.
Deco caught up with the group in downtown Miami at the Vagabond lounge. This indie band is a local product, spawned in the MIA and like the images in their video for the song “Goodbye,” they hope their music travels as far as their Postmarks name suggests.
Christopher Moll: “It was kind of like a way to denote, a journey that a letter had been on, and in a way good music works in the same way, people remember where they were the first heard a song.”
The threesome’s now set to make a u-k debut, but it’s always good to play at home.
Best Local Album (2008)
Although most local bands figure the best way to start out is to play as much as possible, the Postmarks took the opposite tack. They didn’t play out â€” at all. Instead they holed up in a studio and polished their blend of bookish, sticky-sweet Anglophilic pop until it was totally ready for the harsh light of the South Florida day. And â€” voilÃ ! â€” the band’s self-titled full-length, released by Unfiltered Records, boasts 11 nuggets of jangly, twee indie goodness. For good reason, it had everyone at Pitchfork, Spin, and even Rolling Stone in a lather, and the Postmarks watched as their star rose meteorically everywhere except at home. That’s changed a bit, and the band has thrown us a few bones by performing around the tri-county area a little more often. Meanwhile, the quality of the record has been so universally agreed-upon that it was recently released in its sort-of musical motherland â€” the UK. Time will tell if the scrappy hometown trio can beat the Brits at their own game.
Band of the hour: The Postmarks
“Where in Europe are you guys from? Denmark, Sweden?” an adoring fan asked The Postmarks after a recent gig. This homegrown South Florida band often has a hard time convincing listeners that they are indeed from the Sunshine State. With a dreamy French pop sensibility, this indie group’s breakaway hit “Goodbye” encompasses what The Postmarks are about — saying goodbye to the past and embracing a fruitful future.
“We’re about taking a difficult experience and making it sweet — a bitter melancholy that makes you feel good,” explained ethereal chanteuse Tim Yehezkely. Born in Tel Aviv, Yehezkely fronts this three-piece outfit and was discovered by bandmates Christopher Moll and Jonathan Wilkins at a local open mic night.
Writing with the varied influences of Brian Wilson, Burt Bacharach, The Smiths, John Barry (of James Bond fame) and even the fanciful AmÃ©lie soundtrack (they’re film soundtrack buffs), this group has taken a cue from musical giants to create music in a way that’s rarely done anymore — with the hearts of listeners in mind. “We want to write songs that sit comfortably alongside those classics. Our own compositions that will stand the test of time,” said Moll.
With their album set to drop in the UK early this summer, The Postmarks are still coming to grasp with their ability to inspire audiences both near and far. “To me, one of the biggest pleasures is to get e-mails from people around the world who react to your music the way that you intended them to,” said Moll. “That’s pretty amazing stuff.”
Signed, Sealed, Delivered
The Postmarks reach the U.K.
A year ago, with the release of the band’s self-titled debut, the Postmarks instantly became the most critically acclaimed band in all of South Florida. Indie press stalwarts such as Pitchfork Media praised the group’s gorgeously arranged pastoral sounds. Acclaim by mainstream giants like Rolling Stone and Spin magazine further brought their music into the national spotlight. Even the self-appointed Queen of All Media, Perez Hilton, gave the album rave reviews on his mega-popular blog.
Yet for all of the band’s stateside accomplishments, multi-instrumentalist and main composer Christopher Moll still had one unrealized aspiration on his wish list â€” to release his band’s record in England. A lifelong Anglophile, Moll collected imported issues of British music weekly NME as a teenager, the jangly sounds of ‘80s and ’90s alternative sounds there filtering into his present-day band. And finally, after all these years, his dream is coming true: Friday’s party here in Miami marks both a rare local appearance by the band, as well as the launch party for the British edition of The Postmarks.
“Its amazing and frightening,” says the 36-year-old Moll. “I’ve been following the English music scene since high school. To have my music finally released over there is something I would have never dreamed possible. Hopefully we’ll be well-received. The music comes from an honest and sincere place, so all we can do is put it out there and hope that people enjoy it.”
To mark the record’s June 23 British release date, the band, comprising Moll, drummer Jonathan Wilkins, and chanteur Tim Yehezkely, are flying in several members of the British media for a “preview” show at the new downtown Miami club, the Vagabond. The hope is to build some buzz in the always-temperamental British music press, as well as offering a free concert for the group’s hometown fans.
Still, for Moll the concert will be only one of many highlights in a year full of triumphs, among them being asked to appear on the ever-popular Nickelodeon show Yo Gabba Gabba. “That was a definite highlight,” Moll says. “Since I was a little child I had dreams of appearing on the Dinah Shore show… of playing with a band where each one of us was on a different colored tier stage-wise. I mentioned that idea to the producers of Yo Gabba Gabba and they made it happen. That childhood dream checked off.”
As for their sophomore album, the band has started working on songs, but nothing is definitive yet. “The second record is coming into focus,” says the always-meticulous Moll. “We have rough demos for at least 25 to 30 songs, with some fairly polished off demos for six to seven strong that are contenders for the second album.”
For now, however, the group’s sights are set on Friday’s show. “All we can do is put on the best show we can,” he says. “Plus, we have a couple of new tricks up our sleeves.”
The Postmarks: I’ve always liked their music, and after seeing them live, I like them even more. Singer Tim Yehezkely has a soft, plaintive, little-girl voice and a stage manner that appears slightly bored. But it works wonderfully with the music, which has the air of a French movie from the 1950s, with a beautiful woman sitting at a cafe, too chic to be bothered by the things around her. It’s as if Tim was just standing on stage in her T-shirt singing about being so over her boyfriend, and the band was so transfixed that they just set up around her like birds tying ribbons in the hair of a Disney princess. I heart them.
With haunting, heartsick ballads and rosy pop melodies, the Postmarks evoke a bittersweet nostalgia, like the feeling recalled by unearthing faded photographs and letters from long ago. Lyrics of love lost, delivered by standout songstress Tim Yehezkely, play perfectly against the instrumental creations of Christopher Moll and Jonathan Wilkins for a sound that’s at once refreshing and timeless. Riding the success of their self-titled debut album, the three return home after an appearance at West Palm Beach’s SunFest to break in the Vagabond’s newly remodeled stage, following a rare but welcome wine tasting in the indie venue.
Hometown: Miami, Florida.
The lineup: Tim Yehezkely (vocals), Jonathan Wilkins (guitar), Christopher Moll (bass, percussion).
The background: The Postmarks are displaced Francophiles, making’60s-influenced ba-ba-ba pop that reeks of Gauloises and turtlenecked Euro beatnik chic. They are at the interface between lounge muzak, dreampop and twee/anorak, a cutie version of Cowboy Junkies/Mazzy Star’s narcotic alt.country, Slowdive minus the feedback or Stereolab without the electronic effects.
Singer Tim Yehezkely may have a boy’s name but she couldn’t sound more girly if she tried – specifically she sounds like such soft-voiced French chanteuses as Francoise Hardy or Jane Birkin, or Brazilian Tropicalismo icon Gal Costa: she doesn’t so much sing as sigh her songs of post-teenage heartbreak, over orchestral, “chamber-pop” arrangements that are pure Left Bank meets Brill Building, with nods to Burt Bacharach, Henry Mancini, and Sunflower-era Brian Wilson.
This sort of stuff used to be all the rage in the ’90s, a Eurogirly antidote to all the male-dominated Britcentric lad-rock then rampant, with groups like St Etienne, Komeda, Autour De Lucie and Adventures In Stereo rescuing Bacharach and lounge/“exotica” from kitsch hell and allying it to an indie sensibility.
The Postmarks, who recently played the Langerado Music Festival in Florida alongside REM and the Beastie Boys, caught the ear of producer Andy Chase, who’d already worked wonders with brilliant French-pop act Tahiti80 and who agreed to mix their full-length studio recording. Moll had served time with See Venus and timewellspent, while the varied musical talents of Wilkins, a long-time collaborator of Moll’s, breathed life into the latter’s compositions, written in tandem (and probably on a tandem) with Yehezkely, who used to indulge in hiss-tastic lo-fi DIY experiments before discovering the joy to be had from whispering wanly over aching minor chords.
The buzz: “A suburban bedroom symphony and some of the most complex and sophisticated pop music around, a self-contained, hermetically pure world of orchestrated, swooningly cinematic lusciousness.”
The truth: It’s very Sarah/C86, but fans of The Sundays and The Cardigans will love it.
Most likely to: Make you want to drive down to the Seine.
Least likely to: Drive you insane – it’s too mellow for that.
What to buy: The Postmarks’ self-titled debut album is released by Unfiltered on May 19, preceded by the single Goodbye.
File next to: Belle & Sebastian, Club 8, St Etienne, Autour De Lucie.
Related if you like: Mazzy Star, ballads by the Cardigans, Ivy, the Concretes, perhaps Keren Ann.
Weâ€™re going to slow it down a notch today with this lovely, lo-fi video from The Postmarks. We like it when girl singers just stare at the camera from under their eyelashes without singing. Really, itâ€™s quite beguiling.
â€œYehezkely, a girl with a guyâ€™s name, has a voice to match her beauty. Sheâ€™s also 25. Sheâ€™s a chemistry student, but her passion is music. â€œIn college, I was trying to figure out what I loved doing and I didn?t know, so I was just trying everything,â€ she said. â€œI found out that I really loved writing songs.â€ Yehezkely sings for a local band called the Postmarks. She said she admits that all the attention at a recent photo shoot was a bit overwhelmingâ€¦"
It might surprise you to discover the next great American talent is a chemistry student at FAU in Boca. It surprises her, too. â€œI write songs for fun but never thought Iâ€™d wind up in a hit band receiving international attention.â€
Tim Yehezkelyâ€”whose first name isnâ€™t abbreviated and often gets her mistaken for a boyâ€”may have inadvertently stumbled into her gig as the silky-voiced chanteuse of The Postmarks, but the nouveau-pop trio scored huge with their eponymous debut, praised in Spin as â€œenchanting and multidimensionalâ€ and hailed by the on-line music authority Pitchfork Media as â€œa contender for Album of the Year.â€
Born in Tel Aviv and raised in South Florida, Tim admits her musical leanings began in the fourth grade, when a penchant for â€œstrange instrumentsâ€ fed her childhood dreams of becoming an oboe player. â€œI got braces, so I gave up the oboe, took up guitar and taught myself how to play accordion and piano. I wrote my first song when I was 13 for a band called Gilliganâ€™s Bitch.â€ At 21, she braved the stage at open-mic night and caught the ears of musicians Jon Wilkins and Christopher Moll. â€œOn that fortuitous evening The Postmarks were born.â€
Recorded wholly in Coral Springs, the album combines the instrumental erudition of French pop with simple melancholic lyrics, served up blissfully by Timâ€™s charming vocals. Itâ€™s the perfect companion for mending broken hearts on rainy Sunday afternoons, music inspired by â€œfalling in and out of love, movie soundtracks, and everything French.â€
Her successâ€”her band is set to release their sophomore offering, a collection of coversâ€”has not persuaded Tim to abandon dreams of becoming a pharmacist and changing the world. â€œI study chemistry because I want to understand the fundamental laws of the universe. If I can make the world a better place, even in a tiny way, then Iâ€™m fulfilling my purpose.â€
The Postmarksâ€™ self-titled first full-length release is a stellar display of talent and technique for this up-and-coming trio. The listener is invited to take a mellow stroll through a field of ambient strings and horns from this south Florida band.
“We’re thrilled and proud that one of our favorite new bands, The Postmarks, are from our hometown of Miami. Especially because their music is as un-Miami as it gets!
You’d expect to hear The Postmarks in a really cool French film.
Their sound is pretty pop with a retro feel.
The Postmarks are like a really good glass of wine, rich and sweet and enjoyed in small sips throughout a long and lovely dinner.
Enjoy three lush songs below, Let Go, Weather The Weather and Goodbye. Their songs are so good, we can’t just single ONE out."
NaÃ¯ve, romantic poetry, soft, blissful vocals, and lush, bedroom pop merely scratches the surface of The Postmarks. The Floridian Baroque pop group, combining the production techniques of Brian Wilson and the electro-pop of Broadcast, place themselves at the forefront of an elite class of non-traditional American indie-pop musicians. Although European counterparts Field Music, Acid House Kings, and Camera Obscura immediately come to mind upon first listen, the indelible influence of the creative, yet relatively unnoticed American indiepop scene is apparent. Be it Richard Swift on â€œKnow Which Way the Wind Blowsâ€ or the imaginative stylings of Faris Nourallah, The Postmarks create the same type of distinct, beautiful passionate music. Itâ€™s even more surprising that a trio like the Postmarks, sequestered in the club/hiphop/booty dance beaches of Miami, could be so adept at fusing the Sound of Young Scotland andmusic of the 60â€™s California beaches. Itâ€™s an amazing debut album filled with bittersweet separation, forlorn lovers, and rainy days that never seem to clear. A timely release as winterâ€™s frost gives way to springâ€™s chilly breezes, and one of the best new albums of the year.
Miami is not typically a place to inspire twee, intelligent Euro-pop.
Most notably because the weather is in a general constant state of
bliss, which doesnâ€™t help much for those bands inspired by
consistently shifting skies and the need to reflect on the humble
feelings of love lost when you can be getting over it with a South
beach salad and your Speedos.
The three members of the Palm Beach County band The Postmarks sat outside the Barnes & Noble store in Boca Raton last week, nursing iced coffee drinks and chatting about what is going to happen to them.
Like a hot bath with all the suds at the end of a hellish week or a bad breakup, the debut release from the nouveau pop trio The Postmarks is a soothing (if a bit melancholic) album.
Sure, it sounds a lot like Ivy and was produced by Andy Chase from, er, Ivy, but The Postmarks record is so sugary it’s amazing it doesn’t melt. So The Postmarks aren’t breaking new ground with this mix of retro French and Bacharach-style pop productions layered with the mellow purr of gal singer Tim Yehezkely. So what? It’s still fabulously fun to listen to.
Broward County’s the Postmarks have the music industry paying attention to their sugary sounds in a big way. It may have taken two years to put out their debut, self-titled album, but now that it’s on shelves, everyone from Spin to the New Pornographers seems to want a piece of them.
This three-piece from Miami is on the same label as Ivy, which is fitting. The Postmarks are a fey chamber-pop band led by the fresh-faced girlie-voice chanteuse Tim Yehezkely. On this, their debut, the weather is always sunny and warm, even when she sings â€œLooks Like Rainâ€? and â€œSummers Never Seem to Last.â€?
There’s no shortage of modern twee pop these days, with bands such as Belle and Sebastian and Camera Obscura taking the lead, and newer acts such as Stars of Track and Field and this Florida band following in their footsteps.
The Postmarks make music that, at times, is part Burt Bacharach, part Beach Boys, and part folk rock. That’s an odd blend in 2007, but this emo-pop trio knows how to bring it together.
You always have to be a little suspicious of any bedroom pop outfit that’s too eager to leave the confining comfort and shelter of the bedroom for a place in the big, scary world. So when Postmarks front-woman Tim Yehezkely finally takes the tape recorder out of the spare room and into the public sphere – all with a little trepidation, mind you – it’s only natural that The Postmarks sounds a little hesitant, shy and nervous. We’d probably start to wonder if it didn’t.
On its debut album, this Miami threesome mines the same vein of indie folk popularized by Camera Obscura, and Belle and Sebastian. With nods to Brian Wilson and Burt Bacharach, and with frontwoman Tim Yehezkely’s hushed, melancholy vocals, The Postmarks received significant airplay even before its February release.
Not too long ago, I considered a move to Miami (ready, Art Brut?). As live music scenes go, it ain’t exactly the next Stockholm, let alone New York. Better known for club-oriented sounds, South Florida also turns out to be the home of the Postmarks, whose self-titled debut may prove to be one of 2007’s most sublime indie pop albums. (Move over, Rick Ross!)
Who? Miami newcomers the Postmarks – singer/songwriter Tim Yehezkely, and multi-instrumentalists Christopher Moll and Jonathan Wilkins – are an unconventional trio with a flare for lucid ambience and smooth melodic tones. On their self-titled debut, out via Unfiltered Records, the Nuevo-pop outfit craft enchanting multi-dimensional music melding their poetic creativity with Brian Wilson-esque orchestrations.
America’s next great pop band just happens to hail from South Florida. Surprised? So are they By JoseÌ Davila Published: April 5, 2007 There’s no shortage of bands composing ditties about love and loss in bustling alternative music sweet spots such as London and Brooklyn. Even so, if an indie group is capable of producing gorgeous modern ballads while residing in sleepy strip-mall South Florida, you can bet the players are tapping into some good vibrations.