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Chris Walla quits Death Cab for Cutie

Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Chris Walla has left the group after 17 years. Yesterday the Seattle alt-weekly The Stranger published a brief statement from Walla breaking the news of his departure and providing a brief explanation. “I think I long for the unknown,” he writes. “It might be that simple.”

The band recently wrapped the recording of their eighth album, the first that Walla didn’t produce. He’s also produced albums for Tegan and Sara, the Decemberists, and the Thermals, among others. He released a solo album, Field Manual, in 2008.

“Moving forward,” Walla writes, “my plans are simply to continue making music, producing records, and erring on the side of benevolence and beauty whenever possible. Darkness may find me, but I shall never choose it.”

In their own statement posted to the Death Cab website the band writes, “We’ve had an incredible 17 years of making music with Chris. We are very proud of what we’ve accomplished together, including our 8th studio album which we have just put the finishing touches on. We will miss Chris and wish him all the best in the next chapter of his career. We are excited about sharing new music, and seeing all of you very soon.”

Walla will play his final show with the group Sept. 13 at the Rifflandia Festival in Victoria, British Columbia.

Death Cab For Cutie's 'Transatlanticism' turns 10 -- looking back at a classic indie-rock album

DEATH-CAB-TRANSATLANTICISM.jpg

Earlier this year, the Postal Service celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its landmark one-off album Give Up

That album still holds up remarkably well, but it’s unfair to talk about Give Up without discussing frontman Ben Gibbard’s other landmark accomplishment from 2003: Death Cab For Cutie’s Transatlanticism, which came out a decade ago today.

The creation of Transatlanticism is not as romantic as the long-distance construction of the Postal Service’s Give Up, but Gibbard was working on both albums simultaneously, and it’s fair to think of the two as bookends; though there are thematic and tonal crossovers, they come from two very different places.

“Strangely, I don’t think the two records have much to do with each other as far as the emotional tone,” Gibbard told EW earlier this year. “I felt like I could shift pretty seamlessly between working on Postal Service and then turning around and writing a Death Cab song.” Gibbard allowed the tracks that Postal Service collaborator Jimmy Tamborello was sending him to dictate the emotional tone of the songs themselves, while Transatlanticism is the product of Death Cab’s collective hive mind.

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Death Cab for Cutie to release vinyl box set

Image Credit: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

Before Ben Gibbard was hawking his songs to Twilight and courting adorkable A-listers, he was recording songs on an 8-track in his bedroom, just like you and me!

Gibbard’s band Death Cab for Cutie is receiving the box-set treatment just in time for the holiday season. But don’t think that you’ll be getting your hands on those pesky, platinum-selling Atlantic records – the limited-edition vinyl set only includes albums and EPs they produced for the Seattle-based indie label Barsuk Records.

That’s a six-year span running from Gibbard’s solo 1997 lo-fi cassette release You Can Play These Songs with Chords to 2003′s breakout Transatlanticism, which vaulted them into the popular consciousness.

The success of Transatlanticism landed them a deal with Atlantic, and they have gone on to multiplatinum album sales and several Grammy nominations (though not, as yet, any wins). But never mind any of that — this set’s for the “early years” purists. According to A+R’s website, the records are packaged with their original album art and are signed by the band. That, plus the fact that they’re only selling 1,500 copies, should be enough to make you shell out $225 this Christmas.

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Benjamin Gibbard tries to revamp his image for ‘Teardrop Windows’ video: Watch here – EXCLUSIVE
Music Review: Former Lives (2012)
Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard already misses former Mariner Ichiro Suzuki, releases song about him

Benjamin Gibbard tries to revamp his image for 'Teardrop Windows' video: Watch here - EXCLUSIVE

Death Cab for Cutie frontman Benjamin Gibbard’s solo debut Former Lives is one of the prettiest, most elegantly constructed indie records of the season. It doesn’t stray far from what people are used to hearing from him, which may be why he has taken it upon himself to lampoon his image in the new, sharply funny video for “Teardrop Windows.”

The clip, which co-stars comedian and Bunk host Kurt Braunohler, finds Gibbard looking to reinvent himself for the sake of selling a few more copies of Former Lives. But of course, in his particularly wry way, Gibbard can’t help but be a sweet guy.

Former Lives is in stores now, and Gibbard’s tour for the album kicks off tonight in Minneapolis. Check out the tour dates, as well as the exclusive premiere of the video for “Teardrop Windows,” below.

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Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard already misses former Mariner Ichiro Suzuki, releases song about him

It’s been a rough year for Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard: His marriage to Zooey Deschanel ended, the Westboro Baptist Church is coming after him, and now his beloved Seattle Mariners have parted ways with their most iconic player.

Yesterday, the Mariners traded their longtime outfielder and former batting champ (and MVP, All Star, and all-time single season hits record holder) Ichiro Suzuki to the New York Yankees in exchange for a pair of pitching prospects.

Baseball-wise, it’s probably a good move for Seattle; Ichiro’s productivity has been steadily declining and they need young arms if they want to compete next year in the pitching-heavy AL West. Still, it’s a bummer for Mariners fans, as Ichiro was the team’s most recognizable and beloved player since Ken Griffey, Jr. left Seattle.

In response to the news that Ichiro had been traded (and to the hated Yankees, no less), Gibbard unearthed a song called “Ichiro’s Theme” that he wrote and recorded in honor of the iconic Mariner.

“I wrote this a few years ago,” Gibbard wrote on his SoundCloud page. ” Today seems like the best day to let you all hear it. Thank you, Ichiro.”

You can hear the track below. READ FULL STORY

Shepard Fairey designs 50th anniversary Rolling Stones logo

Image credit: Shepard Fairey, courtesy of http://www.RollingStones.com

Street artist Shepard Fairey has revamped the Rolling Stones’ iconic tongue-and-lips logo in honor of the band’s 50th anniversary.

The emblem — designed by John Pasche — was first used on the band’s 1971 Sticky Fingers album sleeve. Pasche was hand-picked for the task in 1969 by Mick Jagger himself after the rocker grew disappointed with the artwork produced by their label, Decca Records.

”The design concept for the tongue was to represent the band’s anti-authoritarian attitude, Mick’s mouth, and the obvious sexual connotations,” Pasche told Rolling Stone. READ FULL STORY

TV Jukebox: 'American Idol,' 'Smash,' 'Cougar Town,' and more music-on-TV moments

Rainy days and Mondays may have gotten Karen Carpenter down, but the rain washes away old heartbreaks for at least a couple of our favorite characters in this latest TV Jukebox.

A pathetic fallacy of a rainstorm made for a new lease on love in this week’s How I Met Your Mother, and a downpour was key to an impromptu proposal on Parenthood — though, thankfully, not on Cougar Town; otherwise they’d still be cleaning up the wet toilet paper!

Elsewhere, crazy dreams came true on Smash and American Idol, paint went splat for science’s sake on CSI, and sexytimes abounded on Nikita and Being Human. That’s without mentioning the “show tunes” from Glee, House of Lies, Private Practice, Body of ProofFringeand Hart of Dixie. Click through to see our picks. (Warning for those still catching up on DVR: SPOILERS ahead!) READ FULL STORY

Zooey Deschanel and Ben Gibbard split up

It is a sad day in indie town: Actress/singer/New Girl Zooey Deschanel, 31, and Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard, 35, have ended their two-year marriage, EW has confirmed.

The duo’s split was first reported by US Weekly; a source says that the parting is amicable, and involves no third parties.

Though they never appeared on an album together, they did sometimes share the stage; watch a clip of the pair performing the Everly Brothers’ “Dream” below: READ FULL STORY

Death Cab For Cutie premiere Shepard Fairey-directed video for 'Home Is A Fire': Watch it here

Artist Shepard Fairey has made icons out of Andre the Giant, our 44th president, and a dude named Mr. Brainwash.

For his latest trick, he has teamed up with Death Cab for Cutie to produce the video for their new single “Home is a Fire,” which comes from their forthcoming album Codes & Keys. Watch the clip after the jump.

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Death Cab for Cutie delivers the first live-broadcast scripted music video: Get ready to 'meh'

Last night, Death Cab for Cutie made history of some sort when they delivered “You Are the Tourist,” the first scripted music video that aired live as it was being filmed.

Now you might be asking yourself, what does that really mean? Isn’t this just like a live concert broadcast, but instead of actually playing music, the band is just just lip-syncing on a closed set?

Well, that’s where the whole scripted element comes into play—or in this case, where it should have come into play. In a post-OK Go world, you would expect a stunt like this to have some eyebrow-raising choreographed craziness.

Instead, band members wander around while a line of Ziegfeld Follies-styled dancers handle any moves that might be tough to pull off in one take. Watch it here (skip ahead to the blue marker): READ FULL STORY

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