Before the holiday weekend — when we’ll be celebrating INDIEpendence with tracks from artists and record labels that go their own way — we wanted to spotlight one of the longest-lasting and most cherished American institutions: the United States Postal Service. Happy National Postal Worker Day, y’all.
Stream the full July 1, 2021 #ThematicStatic show (listen!👇🏼), and see/hear some extra requests — in honor of the mail carriers we appreciate, and the goodies (or baddies/saddies?) they bring — below.
Love & Care for the Carriers
Snail Mail is the best, right? The Maryland indie rocker Lindsey Jordan must’ve thought so when adopting this stage name. The song “Pristine” on her debut LP Lush was named by our own Editorial Director Jewly Hight in celebration of National Postal Worker Day. (Listen!👇🏼)
With a timeless, pitiful plea for the postal worker to deliver news from one’s sweetheart, Michigan girl group The Marvelettes‘ first single on the Tamla division of legendary Motown Records was “Please Mr. Postman.” WNXP listeners Galvie and A-train both requested this one via Instagram.
The Singing Mailman, John Prine, left this planet last April in the early weeks of COVID-19, and the loss rippled across this town and way beyond. (Remember the radio wake produced by our own Jason Moon Wilkins for sister station WPLN?) Prine’s early job as a postal worker in Chicago influenced his observational, conversational songwriting that endures today among his family, friends, Oh Boy Records team, fans and legions of artists worldwide. Listen👇🏼 to lyrics like these, on “Souvenirs”:
“And I hate reading old love letters
For they always bring me tears
I can’t forget the way they robbed me
Of my sweetheart’s souvenirs”
Shane came in requesting an underdog ’90s band and their bouncy song about “Some Postman” living vicariously through long-distance paramours by “grooving to our love letters.” I’m talking about The Presidents of the United States of America, extra appropriate ahead of the Independence Day holiday and amid a delicious “Peaches” season, to boot. 😏
Nick requested a predictably compact, riff-y and semi-nonsensical tune (WTF is a “Postal Blowfish”?) Guided by Voices tune on Twitter. Songwriter Bob Pollard can’t stop, won’t stop, and thank goodness for that (listen!👇🏼).
I wanted to broadcast Soundgarden‘s tune “Mailman,” from their 1994 LP Superunknown for my hard-rocking Denver-based brother Miles, but I’ll just text him a link, instead.
The Postal Service somehow made Benjamin Gibbard’s vocals, little sound machine beats and the easiest ever guitar riff on “Such Great Heights” sound like a pop revolution. We all succumbed. Adding the Give Up album’s broadcast journalism merits to his request, WPLN Senior Healthcare Reporter Blake Farmer sent this on Instagram:
I’d take anything from the one and only Postal Service album. Almost every song has an instrumental opening perfect for a music bed between news stories. They are used on NPR often.Request by Blake on Instagram
What You Got In That Bag?
One or more Letters to Cleo, like the ’90s alt-rock outfit outta Bean Town that delivered to us “Here and Now” and a pretty great Cheap Trick cover for a classic teen rom-com?
An ambiguous “Letter from an Occupant,” like Zach requested, by New Pornographers?
A letter from your dear mother, a la Kevin Morby in “US Mail”?
A direct shipment of love from Little Stevie Wonder? His hit “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” — requested on Instagram by Megan — spent six weeks atop the R&B charts in the summer of 1970, and reminds me of the ebullient energy of a certain Presidential candidate’s 2007-2008 campaign stops. (Watch!👇🏼)
“The Letter” from your baby that “Said she couldn’t live without me no more,” such as the one that mobilized teenage Alex Chilton and his Memphis band The Box Tops‘ in their 1967 hit? Galvie and Thomas were both hip to this pick.
Correspondence scribbled at 4 a.m. on a bus, like Monica’s request, R.E.M.’s “E Bow the Letter”?
A whole “Box Full of Letters” you have around to remind you of the old times? Wilco sang about these notes “you might like to read” on their record A.M., on the song that kicked off #ThematicStatic today thanks to Rachel’s Twitter request.
Here’s hoping it’s not something less fortunate, like:
All that paper mail with dollar signs, but not checks 😣:
Jury duty or DMV renewals cluttering your “Mailbox,” as narrated by Cola Boyy, who sings “let me daydream and avoid my responsibilities” on this brand new track from his debut record Prosthetic Boombox (listen!👇🏼 ).
Then again, it could always be worse, like the “Death Letter Blues” inflicted upon Son House early one morning, and adopted by innumerable artists — including The White Stripes — since. WNXP Weekend Host and social media maven Emily Young requested this one.
Hang out on your front porch and thank your National Postal Worker today, won’t you? 📬