This feels a little weird to write, but Death Cab for Cutie has been around for almost two decades now. The Seattle band delivered their debut record Something About Airplanes all the way back in 1998. That’s 17 years ago. What were you doing in 1998? If I recall correctly, I was playing a lot of video games and getting rejected by girls as I entered puberty.
Regardless, if you’ve followed music even casually over the past twenty years, you know this band’s story. They released a couple records to moderate indie success before dropping Transatlanticism in 2003, an album that pushed them to the forefront of independent music and received positive critical reception. They then followed that up with Plans in 2005, their first major label record and an album that solidified their position as the It Boys™ of independent rock. Depending on how old you are, Death Cab for Cutie was one of the first bands that introduced the word “indie” into the common everyday lexicon. (I asked my intern this morning what Death Cab meant to him and he said that he and his friends listened to Plans in middle school and it was the first time he heard the world “indie,” so this theory is definitely based in excellent reporting.) The band then put out Narrow Stairs in 2008—which hit number fucking one on Billboard—and the rest is history. Ben Gibbard started dating and eventually married Zooey Deschanel (he’d write about this on the band’s 2011 record Codes and Keys). Wearing skinny jeans became the popular thing to do. And every person just wanted a little bit more quirk in his or her lives.
But as what happens with all great music success stories in the eyes of the public, the more popular the band got, the less “cool” it became to like them—especially when businesses like Urban Outfitters started selling vinyl and repackaging independent culture into something you could buy in a reusable bag. Somewhat poetically, Ben and Zooey got divorced. And hipsters started to wear fashion sweatpants instead of horn-rimmed glasses.
But hey, who cares? I don’t give a shit about all of that. And neither should you. The trajectory of a band’s reception by the public shouldn’t determine how much you like or dislike the music. Death Cab for Cutie has made beautiful and progressive records for nearly two decades. I'll forever be proud of the fact that I can fumble my way through "I Will Follow You into the Dark" on the guitar, and will probably make some lucky girl both roll her eyes and fall in love with me by playing it for her one day. This is how most reasonable people feel about the band—it's music that means so much to each of us individually and connects with us, making us feel some type of way. It's why when the band goes on tour this year, they're playing places like Madison Square Garden.
On March 31, Death Cab for Cutie will release their eighth studio album, Kintsugi. Since recording the record, longtime guitarist Chris Walla left the band on amicable terms (he still recorded, though). The first single, “Black Sun,” released a few weeks ago and below, Noisey is extremely excited to premiere the song's video.
Eric Sundermann's soul and body are both on Twitter.
Catch Death Cab for Cutie on tour this year.
04/10/15 Meza, AZ FestivALTAZ
04/23/15 Kansas City, MO Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland
04/27/15 Atlanta, GA The Fox Theatre
04/29/15 Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium
04/30/15 Chicago, IL The Chicago Theatre
05/02/15 Minneapolis, MN Northrop
05/05/15 Detroit, MI Fox Theatre
05/04/15 Milwaukee, WI Riverside Theater
05/07/15 Toronto, ON Sony Centre
05/08/15 Montreal, QC Metropolis
05/09/15 Portland, ME State Theatre
05/12/15 Louisville, KY Iroquois Amphitheater
05/13/15 St Louis, MO The Pageant
07/12/15 Los Angeles, CA Hollywood Bowl
07/08/15 Portland, OR Edgefield
07/09/15 Bend, OR Les Schwab Amphiteater
07/11/15 Berkeley, CA Greek Theater Berkeley
07/15/15 Denver, CO Red Rocks
09/11/15 Boston, MA Blue Hills Bank Pavillion
09/12/15 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
09/13/15 Washington DC Merriweather
10/03/15 Seattle, WA Paramount Theatre
10/05/15 Seattle, WA Paramount Theatre