with Peter Bjorn & John
9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3
also perform two free
in-store shows this month:
8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4
Park Ave CDs
2916 Corrine Drive
3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19
Mall at Millenia
4152 Conroy Road
They say you have your whole life to write your first album and only six months to write your second. Plenty of artists who are successful on their first go-round attempt to hide from the "sophomore curse," but for Tim Yehezkely, the 24-year-old frontwoman for Miami's pre-eminent indie pop band, the Postmarks, the hiding was both literal and productive.
"I treated it as a homework assignment," says Yehezkely, speaking softly yet confidently of her group's new album, Memoirs at the End of the World, which dropped Aug. 25. For Memoirs, the singer-songwriter, who also plays guitar and "shakes a tambourine," had to return to her keyboard and complete an album's worth of lyrics in a timely fashion. To create her enchanting tales of (often doomed) romance peppered with surreal imagery, the author found sanctuary in a special place removed from the Mediterranean-style rooftops that cover much of South Florida.
"I went for a couple days to a house in a tree in North Miami. It was so nice just to be surrounded by nature, such a peaceful atmosphere."
The Postmarks' 2007 eponymous debut, which took about three years to complete, earned rave reviews from critics and built them a solid, if dreaded, blog buzz that led the trio to a national tour that included a Lollapalooza date. In autumn of 2007, the band decided to issue one free download track per month for an entire year. Each cover song contained a numeral in the title, running from one to 12, a stopgap project that resulted in the 2008 album By-the-Numbers. Whether interpreting songs by Bob Marley, the Byrds or the Jesus and Mary Chain, the Postmarks gave each composition their own sugary, Burt Bacharach—inspired facelift, with Yehezkely re-creating each vocal in her own delightfully detached manner. A reworking of Blondie's "11:59" is one of the numerous gems on the album and ranks as one of the most difficult songs the singer has tackled.
"I definitely traversed into vocal territory I wouldn't have on that one," says Yehezkely with a gentle laugh. "And on the David Bowie cover, ‘Five Years,' `bandmate` Chris `Moll` and I didn't agree on the vocal style. On the record, Bowie half speaks and sings and that's how I wanted to do it. But Chris wanted me to retain my vocal style and sing it the whole way through. It worked out."
Their latest offering follows the same sumptuous formula while goosing the tracks with added verve and urgency. Multi-instrumentalists Moll and Jonathan Wilkins largely craft the cinematic sonics, while Yehezkely pens wonderfully subversive lyrics about love's vagaries, delivering them in a dreamy, cool croon. As opposed to the Postmarks' lengthy process on the first album, the trio (which tours as a quintet) recorded Memoirs in a matter of months.
"On the first record we went slow and steady, but on this one we went fast as we could without compromising quality," says Yehezkely. "The more energy `heard on the album` comes from that work ethic of pressing against time and rising against a challenge. I had all these years of poetry-writing and the three years it took us to make the album. This time, it was a project with a deadline. But that was good. It made me have to pull something from nothing."
Despite glowing reviews and successful tours, the Postmarks all maintain day jobs. Yehezkely, the gorgeous brunette chanteuse with a spellbinding voice, is studying to be a pharmacist. "It's intense," she deadpans.
Of course, if early reviews are any indicator, the mainstream reception toward Memoirs could change her plans. Even the snark merchants at Pitchfork had kind words for the Postmarks' latest batch of sweet sounds. Yehezkely read the analysis and breathed a sigh of relief. "It was really fortunate," she says with a laugh. "Pitchfork can be really brutal."
The singer admits to being anxious about how fans and critics receive the album. She's also honest about her keen interest in how it sells. Filling requests for meds makes for a fine career, but it doesn't compare to soaking up audience adulation for a living.
"Put it this way," she says. "I'd rather picture myself doing music in five years."firstname.lastname@example.org