Anyone else got love for Death Cab for Cutie?
Death Cab for Cutie began as a solo project of Ben Gibbard while he was the guitar player for the band Pinwheel. As Death Cab for Cutie, Gibbard released a cassette, titled You Can Play These Songs with Chords; the release was surprisingly successful, and Gibbard decided to expand the band into a complete project. He recruited Christopher Walla, who also recorded "Songs with Chords", as an electric guitarist, Nicholas Harmer on bass, and Nathan Good to play drums, a configuration that released the LP Something About Airplanes in the summer of 1998. The album got favorable reviews from the independent music scene, and in 2000, the follow-up was released: We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes. Nathan Good left the band at some point during the recording of We Have the Facts. His playing on "The Employment Pages" and "Company Calls Epilogue" were kept, but Gibbard played drums on all other songs. New drummer Michael Schorr would first appear on The Forbidden Love E.P., released in fall of 2000. The following year, another LP was released, entitled The Photo Album. Limited editions of this album contained three bonus tracks, which were later released separately as The Stability E.P.
In 2003, there was another change of drummer, with Jason McGerr of Eureka Farm replacing Schorr. McGerr would play drums on the next release, Transatlanticism, which came out in October of 2003.
Transatlanticism received critical praise and also became the band's top-selling album, with 225,000 copies sold during its first year out. It later achieved Gold Status in 2006 (not verified by RIAA). In addition, tracks from the album appeared in the soundtrack of television shows The O.C., Six Feet Under, and CSI: Miami, the 2005 movies Wedding Crashers and Mean Creek, and the 2007 movie Catch and Release.
In spring of 2004, the band recorded a live E.P. titled The John Byrd E.P., named for their sound engineer. The E.P. was released on Barsuk Records in March of 2004, fulfilling the band's contract with Barsuk. The album includes tracks from The Wiltern in Los Angeles, The Fillmore in San Francisco, as well as other venues.
In November, 2004 Death Cab for Cutie signed a "long-term worldwide deal" with Atlantic Records, leaving their long-time label Barsuk Records. Gibbard stated on the official website that nothing would change except that "Next to the picture of Barsuk holding a 7", there will be the letter "A" on both the spine and back of our upcoming albums." This was a marked change from Gibbard's earlier views on major-label relations, which he said "are set up to fuck you and take all your money.". After signing to Atlantic, the band was still nervous about corporate economics, and encouraged fans to download its songs from the Internet.".
The first and second singles off the band's Atlantic Record release Plans were "Soul Meets Body" and "Crooked Teeth", respectively (which they performed on Saturday Night Live on January 14, 2006). The full album was released in August of 2005. Plans was somewhat well-acclaimed by critics and fans, and received a nomination for the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Album of 2005. It achieved Gold Status in 2006 after charting on Billboard for 47 consecutive weeks.
The band released a touring DVD called Drive Well, Sleep Carefully in 2005. Known for their contributions to animal rights, the band is supporting the activist group PETA in giving away copies of the DVD to promote animal rights.
A live version of the band's song "Photobooth," is featured in the soundtrack of the Xbox 360 racing game Project Gotham Racing 3.
In early 2006, the band announced the upcoming release of Directions, eleven short films inspired by songs from the Plans album, each directed by a different person. The videos were posted one at a time at the band's website and the DVD went on sale April 11, 2006. The iTunes Store began selling the videos (formatted for iPod) early on March 28, 2006. Lance Bangs, P.R. Brown, Ace Norton, Jeffrey Brown, Lightborne, Autumn de Wilde, Rob Schrab, Laurent Briet and Monkmus, as well as Aaron Stewart-Ahn are among directors that have contributed to the project. An episode of MTV2's Subterranean played these videos for the whole hour plus discussion with members of the band. In 2006, the band made their first appearance at Neil Young's annual Bridge School Benefit. The band completed their lengthy 2006 tour of the USA on December 9, 2006, finishing with a show at the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington.