Jonathan Postal – All The Boys In St. Mark’s Place


In musical terms, San Francisco in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s was a magical place. It had a magnetic force which attracted artists from all over the States (and beyond), and a prime example is New York escapee, Jonathan Postal. Thankfully, we now have the Liberation Hall label to archive that era and their latest release, All The Boys In St. Mark’s Place, assembles 18 prime cuts from various stages of Jonathan’s career to make a unique tribute to a truly unique artist.

Spiky and angular, yet liberally infused with melody, opening cut ‘Floating World’ makes the perfect introduction to Jonathan’s sound. A track recorded with The Odds when he returned to NYC, ‘Floating World’ is powered forwards by a sense of urgency, time is of the essence and every second is made to count. The kind of new wave that Jonathan delivers is deceptively simple; on a surface level ‘Floating World’ is one of those wonderfully annoying songs which will, like a bumblebee inside your cranium, buzz around your head all day. The abrasive chords that make up the song’s base shouldn’t really slot together, yet somehow, they do; and therein lies the magic, it is at once discordant and tuneful and resonates with the listener on both cerebral and visceral levels.

Jonathan Postal’s lyrics are very wordy and they create a sense of time and place, they capture a moment and freeze it in time (not surprising as he earned a photography degree whilst moonlighting as a musician). Tracks such as ‘The Wrong Man’ are vignettes, novellas, mini-dramas played out over the course of three minutes, populated by characters who seem to live and breathe. It is also a very nocturnal sound which brings to mind Television’s Marquee Moon, and would make the perfect accompaniment to a midnight stroll through a lonely metropolis, yet in whatever guise he appears, there’s a cinematic storytelling stitching these tracks together.

While residing in San Francisco, Jonathan’s time was spent in The Readymades, a combo who tapped into a decidedly new wave/Blondie aesthetic, and this set benefits from three previously unreleased tracks. They contain all the characteristics that will echo throughout Jonathan’s career, most notably his astute lyricism, but it’s interesting to hear how his repertoire developed through the years from the Lou Reed-punk sneer found on ‘Angry Young Man’ to the fully formed, anthemic ‘The Architect’. Yet, despite the years and locations that separate these tracks, this is a compilation that hangs together like an unruly street gang, and flows exceptionally well.

Why Jonathan Postal never gained wider recognition shall forever remain a mystery because his pen was sharper than most, and his guitar keener. But, while many of his peers sound rooted in time, the tracks on offer here have a timeless quality and will still be fresh many years hence. These cuts are just waiting for rediscovery and re-evaluation, and with the release of this compilation, the time is now ripe.

  • All The Boys On St. Mark’s Place is released via Liberation Hall and is available now (from here).

Set List:

  1. Floating World *
  2. The Wrong Man *
  3. Send It C.O.D. *
  4. Nurse Debbie *
  5. Get Used To The Fact **
  6. Fallen Angel **
  7. Living In The Movies ***
  8. Angry Young Man **
  9. Love Me Or Leave Me Alone **
  10. If You were There **
  11. The Architect **
  12. The Girl In The Glass Cage ****
  13. Shut Up, This Ain’t Love ****
  14. Mistaken For Romance **
  15. The Gift **
  16. Don’t Get Excited **
  17. Secrets Of The Heart **
  18. Nobody’s Fool ****

* The Odds

** Jonathan Postal And The Readymades

*** The Gift

**** Jonathan Postal solo