Death Cab for Cutie has been one of the most popular indie bands of all time, with fans and critics alike becoming hooked on their ethereal style promoted by the tender voice of Ben Gibbard. Despite the number of bands playing tour dates in the wake of the indie music explosion, Death Cab for Cutie has developed an unmistakable style that sets them apart from the pack. With eight hit records and international stadium tour dates, Death Cab for Cutie is going strong after all these years.
Death Cab for Cutie began as a solo project by Benjamin Gibbard in 1997. He released a demo cassette titled You Can Play These Songs with Chords, which, to Gibbard's surprise, became fairly popular. The success prompted him to gather some friends from Western Washington University to form a band. Shortly after forming, the band began recording their debut album, the LP Something About Airplanes, which was released in 1998. The album became a hit on the indie scene and, along with small tour dates, Death Cab for Cutie quickly followed it up with the concept album, We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes in 2000.
Death Cab for Cutie's third full-length album, The Photo Album, was released in 2001, just as the band was garnering positive attention from the indie music scene. Despite the group's low key success, it wasn't until after the release of Transatlanticism that Death Cab for Cutie hit it big. The album's title track along with "The Sound of Settling" were featured on a number of television shows as well as making it into the rotation of many radio stations. With the success of the album commercially and critically, Death Cab for Cutie entered the mainstream and began headlining numerous tour dates. Death Cab for Cutie's first Atlantic Records release was Plans in 2005 and was received with acclaim similar to Transatlanticism. After tour dates that consumed the entirety of 2006, the band began recording an album in 2007 that they knew from the start would be a huge departure from what they were comfortable with. The dicey move paid off as Narrow Stairs became Death Cab for Cutie's first album to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 200, and maintained the group's reputation as a huge draw on tour dates.
2011's Codes and Keys presented the band with a number of firsts. The album featured far less guitar than previous albums; as evidenced in the hit single, "You Are a Tourist". Not only is "You Are a Tourist" the first Death Cab for Cutie single to reach #1 on Billboard's US Alternative Songs chart, but the song's music video is also the first ever to be filmed and broadcast live; in one take, no less.
During the recording of Death Cab's 2015, Kintsugi, guitarist Chris Walla surprised band members and fans alike when he announced he would be leaving the band after 17 years. That didn't stop Walla from becoming a driving force behind the album; including its hit single, "Black Sun", which reached #2 on the BillboardUS Alt. Songs chart. Gibbard has described the album as a return to Death Cab for Cutie's musical roots, saying that it would win back any fans alienated by their previous musical explorations.
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