Combining sensitive songwriting, memorable melodies, and the rich, wistful vocal tone of its leader Ben Gibbard, Seattle's Death Cab for Cutie quickly rose from a low-key solo project to become one of the definitive indie bands of the 2000s and 2010s. Then based in the bayside college town of Bellingham, Washington, Gibbard had a minor breakthrough in 1997 with his debut cassette, You Can Play These Songs with Chords, prompting him to put together a band that included the cassette's producer, Chris Walla. After marrying grungy rock and bittersweet indie pop for nearly a decade, their 2005 major-label debut, the more polished Plans, propelled Death Cab for Cutie into the Top Five behind the Hot 100 single "Soul Meets Body." They followed it with another hit song, the ballad "I Will Possess Your Heart" from 2008's Narrow Stairs, which went ...
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