Death Cab for Cutie
About Death Cab for Cutie
Death Cab for Cutie make even the most grandiose guitar-pop epic sound as intimate as a raw bedroom recording. And that’s essentially where the 21st century’s definitive indie band got started: In 1997, under the name Death Cab for Cutie—taken from a Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band song that appeared in The Beatles’ film Magical Mystery Tour—Western Washington University student Ben Gibbard recorded the lo-fi cassette You Can Play These Songs With Chords in his Bellingham, Washington, basement. He eventually recruited guitarist Chris Walla, bassist Nick Harmer, and drummer Nathan Good to make some waves locally. After releasing three albums with Seattle label Barsuk Records, Death Cab received a fateful stamp of approval from TV’s most beloved hipster, The O.C.’s Seth Cohen, in 2003. That same year, they released their fourth album, Transatlanticism, highlighted by its gorgeous, sprawling title track. Atlantic Records soon swooped them up, and they delivered 2005’s Plans. But any fear of the indie band losing their outsider allure dissipated with glistening anthems like “Soul Meets Body” and “I Will Follow You Into the Dark.” Since, they have found plenty of freedom to explore, thrilling listeners with slinky, swirling, bass-driven doozies (“I Will Possess Your Heart”), moody, synth-touched soundscapes (“Black Sun”), and proggy, psych-tinged reveries (“To the Ground”). Even after Walla departed in 2014, Death Cab have continued to be a powerfully emotive outlet for Gibbard, whose vivid, romantic storytelling and cozy lullaby croons have made him one of indie’s most distinctive voices.