Tuesday, August 30th, 2005
Debate Exposes Doubt
There was a time not too long ago that if you asked me what my favourite bands were, Death Cab For Cutie would have been on the short list. Introduced to me by my friend Dave in Virginia sometime around the summer of 2000, I was fairly enthralled by We Have The Facts And Are Voting Yes and the follow-up The Photo Album. However, in retrospect, from that point on my interest in the band seemed to wane in inverse proportion to the rest of the world. Understand – this wasn’t any sort of knee-jerk backlash against their increased popularity, just a gradual growing apart. As they moved from the more lyrically obtuse, musically anxious sound of the first two or three records to the more heart-on-sleeve, earnest and widescreen pop of the last few albums, I guess it just spoke to me less as my own tastes had been drifting into less straight pop territory. I still play their records now and again but I fear that the enjoyment I get out of them is more nostalgic than genuine excitement. And while critical reaction to Plans (out todaY) seems to be mixed, I’m sure I’ll pick up a copy sooner or later. Oh, and anyone playing Gorilla Vs Bear’s Pitchfork/Plans review pool – who had 6.5?
What with this being the week of Death Cab, I decided it was as good a time as any to watch the copy of their tour documentary Drive Well, Sleep Carefully which had been sitting on my bookshelf for some time now. The feature-length doc follows the band around the US over the course of their Spring 2004 tour (the same tour that yielded their recent John Byrd EP live set), intersplicing band interviews with live performances and thoughtful shots of highways and countryside moving at high speed. The musical components are quite good – honestly, better than any of the three times I’ve seen them live (they’re pretty good live but not awe-inspiring). It’s pleasant enough watching and certainly reinforces the band’s reputation as being nice, grounded guys, but isn’t especially revelatory – not that many tour docs really are. Anyone hoping to see Ben Gibbard throw a TV out of a hotel window will be sorely disappointed.
Naturally, the Death Cab PR machine (now funded by major label dollars) is in full swing. The New York Times has a profile, as do The Houston Chronicle and Reuters. The Seattle Times talked to band friends and family about their impressions of the new album, which MTVu has streaming in its entirety. MTV found out about the making of the video for first single “Soul Meets Body” and Under The Radar has a load of extra interview material online that didn’t make the cover story on the band in their latest issue.
You know, I bet Ben Gibbard gets some seriously weird/creepy fan mail.
Also taking up major space in the latest UTR is their 10-year anniversary feature on Britpop. It’s actually quite a good piece with honest reflections and reminisences from a lot of the principals and bit players in the whole Britpop movement. They’ve got extras from the interviews online here, but if you find the material at all compelling you should pick up the magazine.
And though not Britpop, it’s the best segue I can find. Bradley’s Almanac has a complete Ride show from 1993 available to download right now. Some of the tracks appeared on the Live Light semi-official bootleg, while others are all new (at least to me). A cover of “The Kids Are Alright”? Fuck yes.
Architecture In Helsinki’s October 1 Toronto show has a venue – Rancho Relaxo. Yeah, that’s right. Considering that the band’s personnel alone will probably exceed the club’s capacity (and the fact that they’ll have to set up single file to all fit on the long, narrow stage) this could be… interesting. And sold out very quickly, so if you’re going to go, get em fast when they go on sale later this week for $12.50. Dr Dog support.
This year’s Toronto International Film Fest schedule goes online this morning at 10AM. Hopefully their servers are better equipped to deal with the traffic this year than they were last year. I’ve only got two-and-a-half days in which to partake in the festival, so I hope something good is playing in that narrow window, or I’m going to have some TIFF tickets to sell.
np – Ride / Going Blank Again