Results for Ben Gibbard

interviews

Death Cab for Cutie

Jim and Greg are always fascinated and impressed by bands that are able to emerge from out of the underground fairly unscathed. The major label system today isn't always such a friendly place for bands to navigate, particularly those that have a sense of integrity. So, when given the opportunity to have Death Cab for Cutie, a true indie rock success story, on the show, Jim and Greg were excited. Then add an audience of about 200 people and a beautiful theater space — the show really couldn't ask for anything more. Lead singer Ben Gibbard, who many listeners will know through his side project The Postal Service, explains that the band has been really lucky. They spent 10 years growing and growing, with their last album going platinum. And their latest Narrow Stairs debuted at #1.

Ben Gibbard, Chris Walla, Nicholas Harmer and Jason McGerr treated Jim, Greg and the audience to a number of live songs. You can hear all their tracks on our website.

Go to episode 131

Jenny Lewis

Another California native with a country spirit is singer/songwriter Jenny Lewis. The Rilo Kiley frontwoman joins Jim and Greg to talk about her latest solo album, Rabbit Fur Coat. Last year Rilo Kiley achieved some success with their second album More Adventurous, and even opened for Coldplay and played at Coachella. Therefore, the timing of this solo project seems to be curious. As Jenny explains, however, doing solo projects and side projects has always been apart of her band's experience. She previously worked with Ben Gibbard on The Postal Service, and Rilo Kiley bandmate Blake Sennett has another band called The Elected.

One of Jenny's motivations for this solo album was her desire to sing with women. She is joined on Rabbit Fur Coat and in our studio by The Watson Twins, Chandra and Leigh Watson. Jenny explains that she grew up singing with her mother and was inspired by albums like Gonna Take a Miracle by Laura Nyro and LaBelle.

It should be noted that Jenny didn‘t just grow up singing. She was also a fairly successful child actress and appeared in ’80s movies like Troop Beverly Hills and The Wizard. She explores some of that history on the album. She also addresses people who are skeptical of her authenticity — being that she was born in Las Vegas and bred in L.A. rather than Kentucky. But, as Jenny points out and as listeners learned in the previous segment, California and towns like Bakersfield have significant country roots. Oddly enough, Jenny is not the only member of Rilo Kiley to have that dreaded“child actor”label. Blake Sennett was a regular on shows like Boy Meets World and Salute Your Shorts.

Go to episode 19
reviews
Codes and Keys (Deluxe)Narrow Stairs available on iTunes

Death Cab for Cutie Narrow Stairs

Death Cab for Cutie also has a new album out called Codes and Keys. It's been only three years since Narrow Stairs in 2008, but lead singer Ben Gibbard has a whole new outlook on life. He's become Mr. Zooey Deschanel, and he's become sober. But Greg insists that the lyrics still express a lot of anxiety, mostly about the idea of“home.”Greg also notes the wonderful sonic experimentation courtesy of band member and producer Chris Walla. In fact, this was their Eno-inspired album, much to Jim's delight. He hears a much happier Gibbard, nothing like the emo-sap that repelled Summer from The O.C. Both critics give Codes and Keys a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 287
One Fast Move or I'm Gone (Music from Kerouac's Big Sur)One Fast Move or I'm Gone: Music from Kerouac's Big Sur available on iTunes

Ben Gibbard & Jay Farrar One Fast Move or I'm Gone: Music from Kerouac's Big Sur

One of the 2009 artists that slipped through the radar was a collaboration between Jay Farrar of Son Volt and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie. The two musicians bonded over their admiration for Jack Kerouac and created the soundtrack to a documentary about the writer. The result is One Fast Move or I'm Gone: Music from Kerouac's Big Sur. As Greg explains, Farrar's voice is perfectly suited to Kerouac's darker material. Greg also thinks he was smart to bring Gibbard in to lend a little optimism. He was spoiled by seeing them live, but would still recommend listeners buy the album to hear these two terrific voices. Jim, also a Kerouac fan, agrees that the album, complete with artwork, is a thing of beauty. One Fast Move gets a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 216
Post-WarPost-War available on iTunes

M. Ward Post-War

The final album under scrutiny this week is by singer/songwriter Matt Ward, aka M. Ward. Ward is a rather beloved member of the indie rock community and has collaborated with everyone from Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard, to Jenny Lewis, to the aforementioned Conor Oberst. Post-War is his fifth album since being“discovered”by Jason Lytle (a recent guest on the show). Jim enjoys about half of the album, including a cover of Daniel Johnston's anti-war song "To Go Home," but says the other half“sucks.”He finds it pretentious and pointlessly eclectic and can only give Post-War a Burn It. Greg, however, loves that Ward knows how to create atmosphere. He finds it a beautiful record that sucks you in from beginning to end, earning a definite Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 39
KintsugiKintsugi available on iTunes

Death Cab for Cutie Kintsugi

Alternative rock mainstay Death Cab for Cutie has been going through some tough times lately and it's reflected in their latest record. Kintsugi is all about lead singer Ben Gibbard's divorce from actress Zooey Deschanel. Plus founding member, guitarist and producer Chris Walla announced he would be departing from the band in 2014. Greg thinks that the turmoil within the band makes this feel like a solo record and the new producer didn‘t make much of an impact. While the album had the potential to be melodramatic, it luckily wasn’t. The band just needed to get this record out of its system and Greg gives it a Try It. Jim enjoys Kintsugi more than Greg, and likes how the band has brought in more electronic sound and keyboards. He finds it to be another fine collection of songs and gives it a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 489