By Erin Coulehan, Contributor, DC Music Live
Nestled in a wooden booth at U Street Music Hall, singer Daniel Balk and bassist John Speyer of The Postelles settle in for our interview, but are quickly interrupted. “Dude, you can’t just sit and watch from over there,” shouts Balk at drummer Billy Cadden who’s observing from a safe distance of ten feet away. “You’re either all in or out,” adds Speyer. It’s not long before Cadden, who had said he wasn’t doing any interviews that day, joins his bandmates at the booth. Moments later lead guitarist David Dargahi emerges from backstage and takes a seat. Yep, The Postelles are all in.
In an age where folk and electronic rock is increasingly prevalent, it’s refreshing to hear good old fashioned Rock ‘n’ Roll, and The Postelles deliver just that with doo-woppy tales of lovers lost and nights spent in New York City.
The quartet got together after meeting at their Manhattan high school and immediately began playing and writing songs together. In the years since high school, the members still maintain a level of camaraderie and banter that speaks to their adolescent origins as a band; they’re the cool guys goofing off and spiking the punch at the prom.
Following the success of the self-titled debut album in 2011, The Postelles signed with +1 Records and are set to release sophomore album …And it Shook Me on April 23, 2013. The band released “Caught by Surprise” on March 5, one of the first singles off the new album.
We’re still sitting in the booth and the former high school garage-rockers are in between jokes (Balk and Speyer have promised the night’s show to include an on-stage kiss and body shots – it is their last night of their North American tour with the Arkells and Ambassadors, which is basically license to behave as one would on the last day of school, obviously.)
Conversation turns to the new album, co-produced with The Strokes’ Albert Hammond Jr. featuring jingling guitar and retro
rhythms. I ask Balk about the songwriting process, as well as the elusive album title.
“I did,” Speyer deadpans.
“We did sleep in a bed last night,” adds Balk.
Bedroom jokes aside, Balk said that the album and its songs were inspired by life on the road; the shaky ground beneath them while traveling the country in pursuit of Rock ‘n’ Roll dreams.
“We started recording the album in between touring,” Balk explains, suddenly serious. “It’s an afterthought and the story about being on the road and also making the album…and it shook me.”
The Postelles shook up the enthusiastic crowd at U Street Music Hall, inspiring every guy to grab a gal and radiating cool like heat on a hot summer day. At one point Cadden, Dargahi and Speyer ceased playing entirely while Balk took a mid-song whiskey recess. After a few generous gulps, Balk and his bandmates picked back up with the song, not missing a beat.
Much to the chagrin of the club’s security staff, The Postelles completely eliminated any barrier – real or perceived – between them and the audience when they invited audience members to hop on stage with them while they played. Whoever heard of following rules, especially at a concert?
The delighted crowd shimmied to old favorites like “123 Stop” and “White Noise,” an ode to New York City with Dargahi providing accompanying vocals to Balk’s charming croon.
The quartet played homage to the spirit of Rock ‘n’ Roll during the encore with a Rolling Stones cover before thanking the crowd and exiting the stage. Having returned to the city that never sleeps, The Postelles are back home where they continue to shake things up.