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Music, Music News

Death Cab For Cutie Announces 20th Anniversary Reissue of “The Photo Album”

By: Staff –

This past weekend marked the 20th anniversary of Death Cab For Cutie’s The Photo Album, which was released on October 9, 2001 via Barsuk Records. In celebration of the record’s anniversary, the band and Barsuk will release a special deluxe edition of DCFC’s third studio album. The Photo Album (Deluxe Edition) is a 35-track reissue featuring a newly remastered version of the original album, and includes the three bonus tracks released with its first CD pressing, which were later released in 2002 as The Stability E.P. The extensive reissue includes covers of Björk’s “All Is Full of Love” and The Stone Roses’ “I Wanna Be Adored,” previously unreleased tracks, rarities and UK b-sides which have never been available on digital services and, finally, all of the band’s original demos for the album. Pre-order here.

The deluxe edition will be available on all digital platforms on October 29th, and a limited edition LP+12” EP version of the album, also newly remastered for vinyl, will be released in the spring of 2022. The gatefold vinyl will include the original album on one disc and The Stability EP on the second disc. The Stability EP has only been issued on vinyl once, as part of the long out-of-print limited edition 2013 Death Cab for Cutie: The Barsuk Years box set released by Artist in Residence. The vinyl reissue will be on clear 180-gram vinyl and limited to 5,000 copies worldwide.

Alongside today’s announcement, Death Cab For Cutie share one of the previously unreleased demos for the record. Ben Gibbard describes “Coney Island (Band Demo)” as “a Neil Young-stomp kind of thing,” but producer and then-band member Chris Walla turned it into something very different. “It’s very indicative of the process we were employing at that point, which was to deconstruct something and build it completely back up,” Gibbard says. “In that particular case, it made the song a lot more interesting and gave it a nice flavor and a loneliness that sits well on the album.” Listen to the demo now below.

The Seattle-by-way-of-Bellingham quartet— Gibbard, Walla, Nick Harmer and Michael Schorr—were at what Harmer called a “crucial juncture” prior to the making of The Photo Album. “Should we quit our day jobs and really go all-in making music, or should we slow it down a little bit? We decided to go all-in.”

The release had its hardships. The Photo Album was off to a great start in the fall of 2001, until one of the two biggest record distribution companies in the United States, Valley Distribution, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and went immediately out of business. With it went the money owed to Barsuk for the album’s first 20,000 sales. This financial and morale blow, all while the band was in the midst of its latest grueling tour behind its third album in as many years, took a toll that almost stopped DCFC in its tracks. “We almost broke up a couple times on that tour,” Gibbard said. “This thing went from something we were doing for fun at a house in Bellingham because we’re all friends to, now we don’t see our other friends, because we’re doing the band all the time.”

But the album would become one of the band’s most beloved among early fans, and some of its songs are what Gibbard believes to be among “the best I’ve ever written, and among the best we’ve ever put out” despite his and other members’ mixed feelings about the album over the years. But Walla said that for him, the experience of “revisiting our actual work for this reissue has decidedly unmixed those feelings. I think The Photo Album is pretty excellent. The demos are especially satisfying to me – they were recorded live to the 8-track over the course of a few days just a week before we started the album proper, and they are a beautiful, buzzing, remarkably confident set of test Polaroids for what the album would become.”

Gibbard added, “What that period gave us was the opportunity to push it all the way to the edge, personally and creatively, and go, OK, wait a second, this is important to us. We are friends. This is worth saving. This is worth continuing to do. That really opened up the creative playfield that would become our next album, Transatlanticism. We finally recognized that we love doing this — we just needed a break once in a while.”

Tracklisting

  1. Steadier Footing
  2. A Movie Script Ending
  3. We Laugh Indoors
  4. Information Travels Faster
  5. Why You’d Want To Live Here
  6. Blacking Out The Friction
  7. I Was A Kaleidoscope
  8. Styrofoam Plates
  9. Coney Island
  10. Debate Exposes Doubt [The Stability E.P.]
  11. 20th Century Towers
  12. All Is Full Of Love
  13. Stability
  14. Gridlock Caravans
  15. Information Travels Faster (Alternate Lyric Demo)
  16. I Wanna Be Adored (Live)
  17. I Was A Kaleidoscope (Live)
  18. We Laugh Indoors (Dub)
  19. Debate Exposes Doubt (Acoustic)
  20. A Movie Script Ending (Acoustic)
  21. I Was A Kaleidoscope (Acoustic, Live on KEXP)
  22. Corny Island (Studio Outtake)
  23. We Laugh Indoors (UK Single Mix)[Band Demos]
  24. Steadier Footing (Acoustic Studio Outtake)
  25. A Movie Script Ending (Band Demo)
  26. We Laugh Indoors (Band Demo)
  27. Information Travels Faster (Band Demo)
  28. Why You’d Want To Live Here (Band Demo)
  29. Blacking Out The Friction (Band Demo)
  30. I Was A Kaleidoscope (Band Demo)
  31. Styrofoam Plates (Band Demo)
  32. Coney Island (Band Demo)
  33. Debate Exposes Doubt (Band Demo)
  34. 20th Century Towers (Band Demo)
  35. Stable Song (Band Demo)

Tour Dates

10/20/21 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom (All Ages)

10/21/21 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom (21+)

10/23/21 – Napa, CA @ Oxbow RiverStage

*with support from illuminati hotties

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