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Death Cab for Cutie rose from being a solo side project to becoming one of the defining bands of the indie rock scene of the 2000's, with their emotive songwriting blurring the lines between indie and emo.
Led by Ben Gibbard (vocals/guitar), Death Cab for Cutie began as Gibbard's solo project, undertaken whilst studying at university in Washington, offering a break from his involvement in the power pop band Pinwheel. Gibbard recorded an album's worth of material in 1997, which eventually found release as a cassette, "You Can Play These Songs With Chords." The release found local popularity, with Gibbard deciding to expand the lineup into a full band. Death Cab for Cutie was then born, before signing to Seattle-based label, Barsuk Recrds, the following year.
Their debut album, "Something About Airplanes," was released in 1998, after which a short break ensued, with Gibbard becoming involved with the Postal Service. In 2000, new material arrived, in "We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes," with their third, "The Photo Album" appearing a year later, building a sizable following in the process. Their emotional yet hook-laden indie rock continued to find success, with 2003's "Transatlanticism" gaining critical praise and mainstream airplay on radio and television. Atlantic Records then snapped up the band, with Death Cab for Cutie signing a major label deal in 2004.
"Plans" became their major label debut, debuting at number four on the Billboard charts. The album eventually became certified Platinum, gaining three hit singles and a Grammy nomination by the end of the year. Continuing to tour and release well-received albums, Death Cab for Cutie became one of the most popular indie bands of the decade. After a short break, the band returned in 2011 with renewed focus, finding a number three album in "Codes and Keys." In 2012, Gibbard released his first solo album, "Former Lives," before his band began work on their eighth album, "Kintsugi," for a release of March 2015.