Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Death Cab For Cutie: The Complete Discography

Calum Marsh

Death Cab For Cutie - A Movie Script Ending EP
Rating: 8.0

You know the scene: 'Movie Script Ending' is playing in the Cohen car when Summer disses the sound. "Never insult Death Cab", Seth quips, standing up, for the first time, to his obsession. It's a great single with an equally great B-Side ('Photobooth'); probably worth picking up even if you have the orignal LP.
___________________________________________________________________
Death Cab For Cutie - Death Cab For Fiver 7"
Rating: 5.8

Surprisingly bad. Avoid.


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Death Cab For Cutie - Forbidden Love EP
Rating: 7.9

Though the two alternate version of album tracks available here (an acoustic version of '405' and an alternate cut of 'Company Calls Epilogue') aren't much to get excited about, the two brand new B-Sides, 'Technicolor Girls' and 'Song For Kelly Huckabee', are terrific. If you're interested in picking up some rare Death Cab EPs, this is as safe bet.
___________________________________________________________________

Death Cab For Cutie - Plans
Rating: 5.2

Dreadfully disappointing. I know it's trendy to whine about Death Cab's latest LP, but it's not that they "sold out" - it's just that they stopped making good music. There are two, maybe three good songs on this disc - the rest is completely (and tragically) disposable. I miss you, Ben Gibbard.
___________________________________________________________________

Death Cab For Cutie - Prove My Hypotheses 7"
Rating: 7.7

The title track is reasonably fair, but that's not why we're here: 'Wait', this single's B-Side, is one of the best Death Cab songs ever. It's amazing that it was excluded from the LP, but I suppose its rarity only adds to the charm.

___________________________________________________________________

Death Cab For Cutie - Something About Airplanes
Rating: 8.2

It's not a particularly great album, but it's an enjoyable release from what may be a great band. When I saw them live last year, they played a track from this album. They prefaced it by saying "you probably won't know this song, it's an old one". I hope he's wrong, because it'd be a shame if Death Cab fans were ignoring the band's beginnings. There's a lot to like here.
___________________________________________________________________

Death Cab For Cutie - Stability EP
Rating: 8.9

Though it's only a few short songs long, the Stability EP is the single strongest record Death Cab For Cutie have ever released. The Bjork cover ('All Is Full Of Love') is surprisingly tight, opener '20th Century Towers' is very enjoyable, and the previously unenjoyable 'Gridlock Caravans' is a lot of fun - but it's the title track, 'Stability', that steals the show. Though it appears on Plans as an alternate (and stupidly shortened) version, it's here, in its rough extended form, that it really hits home.
___________________________________________________________________

Death Cab For Cutie - The John Byrd EP
Rating: 8.8

Death Cab fans looking for new material will be sorely disappointed with The John Byrd EP, but nobody can deny that this is probably the best collection of the band's material available. This works as both an excellent introductory course for new fans or a reasonably priced compilation for Cabbies on a budget.
___________________________________________________________________

Death Cab For Cutie - The New Year 7"
Rating: 5.9

'The New Year' (the song, that is) works well as an album opener but falls weirdly flat as a stand-alone single. 'TV Trays', the otherwise unavailable B-Side, is an unfortunate disappointment.

___________________________________________________________________

Death Cab For Cutie - The Photo Album
Rating: 8.4

Very, very good. Like Airplanes, it might not be a great album in and of itself - but I can't deny this record's wealth of fantastic material. Interesting to note is that most of this LP's strongest tracks can be found on various other Death Cab releases (most notably The John Byrd EP and Stability), which might be a smarter investment than this.
___________________________________________________________________

Death Cab For Cutie - Transatlanticism
Rating: 8.8

Before Transatlanticism, Death Cab For Cutie whose songs you used to flesh out mix tapes and recommend to your friends. They were good, sure, but they wrote great songs, not albums. Oh, but this stands as an exception. It's near-perfect and uncharacteristically solid. I hope this doesn't go down as "the last great Death Cab album", but if Plans is any indication of things to come, it might.
___________________________________________________________________

Death Cab For Cutie - We Have The Facts And We're Voting Yes
Rating: 7.7

It's good, but not great. We Have The Facts lacks the quirky charm of Airplanes and the solidarity of Transatlanticism, and although there are some spot-on tracks scattered about here, they're widely available elsewhere.
___________________________________________________________________

Death Cab For Cutie - We Laugh Indoors EP
Rating: 5.0

Two alternate mixes and a live recording are exciting to some people, I guess, but they're the kind of cuts you find online; you definitely don't pay money for them. Like the majority of Death Cab singles and EPs, We Laugh Indoors feels extraneous and, to be honest, like a waste of goddamn money. Pass.
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Death Cab For Cutie - You Can Play These Songs With Chords
Rating: 5.1

Totally pointless. It seems like the majority of Death Cab's releases are shameless rehashes of their older material - what's going on here?

___________________________________________________________________

Download:
Death Cab For Cutie - Wait
Death Cab For Cutie - Song For Kelly Huckabee
Death Cab For Cutie - Photobooth

Buy:
Death Cab For Cutie - Transatlanticsm
Death Cab For Cutie - Plans

Comments on "Death Cab For Cutie: The Complete Discography"

 

Anonymous whatever said ... (31/5/06 6:40 pm) : 

Wow. Try doing a little research some time. "You Can Play These Songs With Chords" is a CD re-issue of the band's original cassette-only relase, which includes some songs that were later used on their first CD "Something About Airplanes."
Also, 2 of the EPs that you mentioned were released by Fierce Panda in the UK and never saw stateside release, which is why they have tracks that were used on the "Chords" re-issue, that's only recently been made available by Barsuk in the U.K. Lastly: the track "Wait" that you called "one of the best Death Cab songs ever" isn't by DCfC. It's a cover of a Secret Stars song. If you're going to criticize a band or label for the way their material is released, it's often helpful to have a fucking clue.

 

Anonymous Casey said ... (31/5/06 8:17 pm) : 

Where's the intro commentary, yo?

Also, I have a computer so should be back very soon. Hooraw.

Also, "whatever" is a tool. A tool with a point maybe, but a tool nonetheless.

 

Blogger Jonathan Migneault said ... (31/5/06 11:18 pm) : 

There are more diplomatic ways of presenting your argument "Whatever". Anyways, it's a free world so if you want to be an asshole that's your prerogative.

 

Anonymous anonymoose said ... (31/5/06 11:24 pm) : 

i don't know if i'd be so harsh as "whatever", but i do think that you were a little harsh on some dcfc releases and went a little too easy on others that aren't very good.

thank you for all of these album reviews though. other people's opinions are very helpful b/c i can never decide what to buy (arg). anyways, keep up this awesome site, it's one of my favorite music blogs (just thought i'd drop a compliment to ya'll b/c i dont think i have before)

 

Blogger Calum Marsh said ... (1/6/06 12:02 am) : 

My point was strictly that Death Cab releases repeat older material. 'You Can Play' remains pointless regardless of when it was recorded - it doesn't have much we wouldn't already have. It's pointless to reissue a tape of songs that have been used on later albums. A ton of these records - The John Byrd EP, Stability, as well as any number of singles - feature tracks found elsewhere. I stand by that attack, which wasn't specifically geared toward that one album but more at Death Cab's general tendency to rerelease material.

 

Blogger Calum Marsh said ... (1/6/06 12:04 am) : 

And why can't a cover be one of their best songs? They recorded a version and that version happens to be very good. You're a fucking douchebag, Whatever, get a goddamn clue yourself. 'You Can Play' is a waste of time and money and should never have been released and your comment is a pointless waste of time that should never have been written. I hope you get raped and die a cold and lonely death. Fuck you.

 

Blogger Casey Dorrell said ... (1/6/06 1:27 am) : 

Um . . .

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1/6/06 1:51 am) : 

Dude! Chill out! You sound like you've been hanging out with Noel Gallagher.

 

Blogger Casey Dorrell said ... (1/6/06 1:56 am) : 

... or Dodge

 

Blogger Calum Marsh said ... (1/6/06 10:23 am) : 

Ho ho. You'd better not sing along to 'Wonderwall' or I'm outta here.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1/6/06 8:21 pm) : 

Today is gonna be the day
That they're gonna throw it back to you
By now you should've somehow
Realized what you gotta do
I don't believe that anybody
Feels the way I do about you now

Backbeat the word was on the street
That the fire in your heart is out
I'm sure you've heard it all before
But you never really had a doubt
I don't believe that anybody feels
The way I do about you now

And all the roads we have to walk along are winding
And all the lights that lead us there are blinding
There are many things that I would
Like to say to you
I don't know how

Because maybe
You're gonna be the one who saves me ?
And after all
You're my wonderwall

Today was gonna be the day?
But they'll never throw it back to you
By now you should've somehow
Realized what you're not to do
I don't believe that anybody
Feels the way I do
About you now

And all the roads that lead to you were winding
And all the lights that light the way are blinding
There are many things that I would like to say to you
I don't know how

I said maybe
You're gonna be the one who saves me ?
And after all
You're my wonderwall

I said maybe
You're gonna be the one who saves me ?
And after an
You're my wonderwall

Said maybe
You're gonna be the one that saves me
You're gonna be the one that saves me
You're gonna be the one that saves me

 

Blogger Calum Marsh said ... (1/6/06 9:46 pm) : 

Oh I'm so outta here.

 

Blogger Casey Dorrell said ... (1/6/06 9:54 pm) : 

sing with us!

 

Blogger Calum Marsh said ... (1/6/06 11:42 pm) : 

I said mayyybeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
You're gonna be the one that
saves meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
and after alllllllllllllllllllllllllllll
You're my wonder waaaaaaaaaallllllllllllllllll

 

Blogger Jonathan Migneault said ... (2/6/06 12:26 pm) : 

Guess what album topped NME's reader poll for the greatest album of all time?

Here's a hint: the title contains two consecutive adverbs ;)

 

Blogger Kate said ... (2/6/06 4:08 pm) : 

i found myself wondering what an oasis song was doing in the comments for a dcfc post. amazing, isn't it. And it would be cool if marsh had done just a tad bit more research, yesss. but who an i to pretend to know anything? Forbidden Love is my favorite EP...

 

Anonymous genuinely concerned (formerly whatever) said ... (2/6/06 6:11 pm) : 

Okay: you don't think that giving U.S. fans a chance to hear the original, long out-of-print recordings and demos from a band, along with a bunch of b-sides and alternate versions that were previously only available as expensive UK imports is a good idea and a worthwhile investment for new fans? I wasn't trying to dismiss your entire article (I admit that I closed on a bit of a douchebag note.) Not everybody has the means to shell out extra cash for a few songs here and there on European imports. I just think that you're not giving "Chords" credit for making its relatively rare material available and affordable. Well, next to just taking it for free from the internets.

 

Blogger Calum Marsh said ... (2/6/06 7:51 pm) : 

I think anyone interested in hearing demos and rareties from a band is probably a big enough fan to buy it on import. The convienience of a domestic rerelease sounds like an excuse to make more money on the part of the label. I'm still less than impressed.

And sorry about the whole wishing you get raped thing.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3/6/06 4:16 am) : 

males look like twelve year old girls in the comments on blogs
are you all meeting at the food court in the mall or the 7-11 on thursday?

 

Blogger Casey Dorrell said ... (3/6/06 5:44 pm) : 

Get a sense of humour.

I mean, a less sanctimonious one.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3/6/06 8:10 pm) : 

get a sense of respect for yourself

 

Blogger Casey Dorrell said ... (3/6/06 8:17 pm) : 

no, no, you've lost the humour and retained the patronizing part. I was suggesting the reverse.

 

Blogger Calum Marsh said ... (3/6/06 11:47 pm) : 

Next: "I know you are but what am I".

 

Anonymous negative8ball said ... (11/6/06 11:00 pm) : 

"Whatever" was harsh - but not wrong. As a huge fan, I *REALLY* like having the early demos on "You Can Play..." - you state it is a waste, but to whom? You... obviously. Me? No - it's another piece of the puzzle I wanted to hear. You say they re-release stuff... some songs, yes, but not the same versions. Bands have had different versions as b-sides for years (whether a remix or a live track). I liked the John Byrd EP since I'd seen the tour and it was a nice snapshot of the shows. It was also released as a thank you to Barsuk since they'd gone to Warner and it would allow Barsuk to reap some of the rewards of their growing celebrity (as was the fact it was originally only available in independent stores). This is NOT a very complete or, IMHO, good review of their releases and material. None of the really rare stuff is here - just the things you tracked down on Amazon or something. My 2¢ anyways.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (13/10/07 1:01 am) : 

I'm cold. And lonely. I think I'm dying of rape.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9/1/09 5:07 am) : 

why would i or anyone else take your pathetic advice seriously? just because you know some html and have a pretentious cd collection doesn't mean you have musical taste or any idea what you're talking about. you can have your opinion but don't act like you're the king of the blogging world with your psuedojournalism. it makes me want to smash a guitar over your pompous head.

 

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