I often self-deprecatingly suggest that I was the very last person in Bellingham to have discovered Death Cab for Cutie, a band that was formed here in 1997, when the members were students at Western Washington University.
And while I’m eager to hear what Death Cab will do to follow up 2008’s Narrow Stairs, members Ben Gibbard and Chris Walla seem to have other things on their minds these days. Fortunately, these other things, both of which I discovered via NPR, are cool!
First up, Chris Walla was recently featured on NPR’s Project Song series; Bob Boilen’s challenge to musicians he hand picks to write and record a song, start to finish, in 48 hours. In a Project Song first, rather than choosing a single artist or an established duo, Walla was teamed up with Jawbox’s J. Robbins, someone he’d never met or worked with in any way. The video summary of their process is a joy for a musician and music fan like myself, capturing the magic of the creative process and the joy of musical collaboration and conversation. The song’s pretty amazing for having been put together so quickly, and watching Walla and Robbins working in the studio make me long for my guitar, a microphone, and some bandmates.
Next, Ben Gibbard recently collaborated with Son Volt’s Jay Farrar on the soundtrack for an upcoming documentary titled One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Jack Kerouac’s Big Sur. This is particularly exciting to me because I love Kerouac’s writing and I used to be a big fan of Jay Farrar, back when he was in a band called Uncle Tupelo, and I liked his first Son Volt album.
What I’ve heard, sounds really good, and right now you can hear the entire album on NPR.
Also, here’s the trailer for the Kerouac film: