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Tuesday, 02 November 2010 07:44

Death Cab Spring Release - Features Strings and Vintage KeyboardsDeath Cab for Cutie plan a spring release for its seventh studio album which features strings and vintage keyboards. The album is "a testament to where we are as a band," Ben Gibbard explained.

"It's not a guitar-based record. We've been into vintage keyboards and playing with that palette," Founder Ben Gibbard told SPIN in an interview.  "We're not adding guitars because people will be expecting them."

"I'm so proud of this album that at this point I don't care if people don't like it," he added.

The CD is expected to comprise 12 to 13 tracks. The new project doesn't yet have a title and the band is still a "couple of weeks away" from completing it. Comparing the album to guitar-based 2008 release Narrow Stairs, Gibbard continued, "This new record has turned out to be much more of a construction project."

Contrasting the two albums in September, guitarist Chris Walla told SPIN, "With that one, it was live off the floor." Also describing the forthcoming release as "a construction project," he said, "We're in the phase where songs could be so cool with just two acoustic guitars or they could be really good with sequencers." He added, "We're trying on all the outfits with the songs."

Tracks include "Codes and Keys," which is the band's first song to include strings in twelve years. "We had some really beautiful arrangements written for it," Gibbard said. "It's a standout track on the record. It's really aching and gorgeous. It's been really amazing to hear it come to life."

"Unobstructed Views," "a sprawling, seven-minute track that's mostly instrumental" also features on the new record. "It has the piano and keyboard soundscapes that I've been really enjoying," he added.

Talking about another song, "Monday Morning," Gibbard said, "I'm really happy with that one. Chris just sent me a mix."

Up to now, the band's style has comprised slow indie rock and featured dark lyrics. Gibbard recently married actress and singer Zooey Deschanel of She & Him. "Everything I write is reflective of my own life and the lives of those people around me," he said. "They reflect the conversations you have and the rumblings of life around you. But when somebody gets married, people assume that they're going to get a certain thing out of an album."

Referring to Narrow Stairs, Gibbard added, "There's a level of self-loathing that I'm a bit of embarrassed about now." He continued, "It's a really dark record. I didn't want to make that record again. I didn't want to write those songs again."

Gibbard currently lives in Los Angeles, and the album was recorded in Los Angeles, Vancouver, BC, San Francisco, and Seattle, with the band taking a two-week break between each recording session. "We're all moving into a period in our lives where family is very important," Gibbard explained. "So living off in the woods for a month away from family isn't something we want to do." He added, "On this record I've written a couple songs in our downtime between studios and we start recording that brand new song on the first day of the next session, which is something we've never really had the opportunity to do before."

Chris Walla has had more involvement in writing for the album than in previous projects. "There are a few songs that Chris wrote all the music for," said Gibbard. "I cut and pasted and wrote lyrics and arrangements for them. This is the first time that we've had multiple compositions that started with Chris's demos and not mine, which is exciting."  He also explained that some of the songs were built in the studio around a single vocal or riff. "It makes for some very creative moments."

Walla also produced the album. "We've got enough time this time and we're way just into exploring these possibilities rather than going with our gut," he said in September's interview. "We've ended up with some cool stuff. It's been fun so far."

Although the band will tour to support the new record, Gibbard warned fans not to expect extensive touring. "I would love to find myself making a record a year from now rather than moving into our seventh straight month of tour," he said. "I'd like to capitalize on feeling inspired to writing rather than hobbling up onstage and jumping around for two hours in Dresden."

Death Cab for Cutie is an American indie rock band originally formed in Bellingham, Washington in 1997. The band consists of Ben Gibbard (vocals, guitar, and piano), Chris Walla (guitar), Nicholas Harmer (bass), and Jason McGerr (drums). Death Cab began as a solo project of Ben Gibbard, now the band’s vocalist and guitarist. Gibbard took the band name from the satirical song "Death Cab for Cutie," performed by The Bonzo Dog Band in The Beatles’ 1967 experimental film Magical Mystery Tour. In November 2004, Death Cab for Cutie signed a “long-term worldwide deal” with Atlantic Records, leaving its long-time label Barsuk Records.

Gibbard is no newcomer to writing songs built around keyboard tracks. In 2001, Gibbard formed The Postal Service with producer Jimmy Tamborello of Dntel, Headset, and Figurine as an indie electropop side project, releasing Give Up in 2003.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 November 2010 10:20
 

Newsflash Archive

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Pearl Jam fans, save the date: guitarist Stone Gossard says the closest thing to a 20th birthday gig for the band will be a slot on the bill of Neil Young's annual Bridge School Benefit in northern California on October 23 and 24.

"The only thing we've got going on in October is Bridge School, which is really special," Gossard told Billboard while in New York to support the new album by his side-band, Brad. "So that's our 20th anniversary, which is fitting. It's perfect: not too blown up. It's not about us, it about all those kids that are on stage with you and about Neil Young and his commitment, his influence."

It will be Pearl Jam's eighth Bridge appearance. The group first played the benefit, which supports Young's school for children with severe physical disabilities, back in 1992.

The Bridge School dates, which will likely be held at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, begin the day after Pearl Jam's exact anniversary. The band, then called Mookie Blaylock, played its first show in Seattle's tiny Off Ramp club on October 22.

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