Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Every Friday, we present a song from a Northwestern artist. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Teardrop Windows” by Seattle’s Benjamin Gibbard from the 2012 album Former Lives on Barsuk.
The driving force behind two of the most influential bands to come out of the Pacific Northwest in the last 15 years, Benjamin Gibbard doesn’t need any introduction to longtime KEXP listeners, and although the Death Cab For Cutie frontman and one-time Postal Service co-leader has released solo-billed material before (once in 2004 with Andrew Kenny on Home Volume V and again in 2009 with Jay Farrar on One Fast Move or I’m Gone), Former Lives is the first release solely under Gibbard’s name. Recorded over the course of a year with Earlimart’s Aaron Espinoza, the album is a collection of songs that Gibbard decided didn’t fit in with any of his other projects, and after sporadically recording with Espinoza, Gibbard found himself with an unexpected solo album on his hands. A tribute to Smith Tower in his native Seattle, “Teardrop Windows” is immediately recognizable as a Ben Gibbard song but also independant of the hallmarks of his other projects. Filled with hints of ’70s power pop and Big Star, Gibbard’s jangling guitar carries his trademark vocals over a bittersweet melody “Teardrop Windows” is Gibbard’s take on 70s FM pop, and aside from being a well-crafted tune, it shows that the Death Cab frontman is able to write songs outside of his usual paradigms that are just as strong as any latter-day Death Cab tune.
After debuting the new material during a gig at Smith Tower on October 9th, Benjamin Gibbard will embark on a solo tour next month in support of Former Lives, including shows at The Showbox at the Market on November 16th and Washington Hall on November 17th. Keep track of Benjamin’s future efforts over at his website and his frequently updated Twitter feed. Watch a video below of Ben Gibbard playing “These Roads Don’t Move” with Jay Farrar on WNYC in 2009: