Jimmy Tamborello’s in the Mix

The Man Behind Dntel Spins at Isla Vista Theater

<b>SWEET SET:</b> Santa Barbara's own Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel, The Postal Service) deejays at Isla Vista Theater on Friday, February 7.
Cara Robbins

HEY, DJ: When we last spoke with local boy Jimmy Tamborello, he was gearing up for one seriously high-profile vacation. The occasion: a 10-year anniversary tour on behalf of The Postal Service’s Give Up, for which the Dntel mastermind joined forces with Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard back in 2003. While the album proved to be a breakaway sensation then (not to mention Sub Pop Records’s second-biggest release to date), neither of its makers ever really intended to have the project be a full-time gig, and as such only played a handful of shows under The Postal Service moniker.

Flash forward a decade, though, and the fan base seems to have only grown with time. Over the course of their yearlong reunion run, Tamborello and Gibbard found themselves headlining massive music festivals (Coachella, Lollapalooza) and grand amphitheaters (including our very own Santa Barbara Bowl). Huge stage sets were built. Strobe lights were rigged. Big-name female vocalists were brought in (namely Jenny Lewis and Mynabirds frontwoman Laura Burhenn). And Give Up’s starry-eyed collection of electronic pop songs became new again, thanks to the collective scream-singing of a few hundred thousand fans.

“Before it went on sale and stuff, I didn’t even know if there would be interest,” recalled Tamborello from his Los Angeles home last week. “Even when we went on tour, I wasn’t sure how the crowds were going to react. After we started playing shows, though, the weirdest thing was how every audience would do the same things at the same time in the set. After a while, we were trained to know when people would cheer.”

This Friday, Tamborello returns to the 805 for a very special night of record spinning and vibe setting as part of the Magic Lantern Films series in Isla Vista Theater, where he’ll take the stage in deejay mode, à la his ongoing shtick with underground L.A. radio collective dublab.

“The show I do for dublab is called Dying Songs, and it’s mostly experimental electronic music,” Tamborello explained. “A lot of it is darker than The Postal Service stuff, but I still like melodies a lot, so it’s usually pretty melodic, just a little weirder.”

In regard to future Tamborello offerings, the computer-loving composer assures that a new Dntel record is in the works and slated for release sometime this spring. “It’s a pretty low-key one; there’s like one track with vocals,” he laughed. “It’s definitely more music to listen to at home.” As for the fate of the resurrected The Postal Service, Tamborello says there are still no plans to make a new record, but that he’s looking to incorporate more pop sensibilities — and guest vocalists — into his own music.

Want to peep Jimmy’s record collection? He spins at I.V. Theater on Friday, February 7, at 8 p.m. Call (805) 966-3652 for info.

EASY DOES IT: Also this week, Santa Barbara indie-rock trio Easy Bear plays Dargan’s Irish Pub (18 E. Ortega St.) in support of their soon-to-be-released debut EP. For the uninitiated, the band plays a melodic brand of straightforward guitar pop that’s part Weezer, part Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks. The pre-EP release festivities take place Friday, February 7, and find the band teaming up with Downtown Sound Battle of the Bands winners The Reignsmen for a night that is sure to be heavy on the riffs and chock-full of celebratory high fives. For info, call (805) 568-0702 or visit easybearmusic.com.


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