Death Cab for Cutie
Long before The O.C.'s resident hipster Seth Cohen proclaimed his love for the band, the Bellingham, Wash., natives were cranking out sweet, cozy melodies for reflective romantics. After the success of a cassette put together by Ben Gibbard in 1997, the vocalist and guitarist decided to transform his solo project into a full-fledged band. When guitarist Chris Walla, bassist Nick Harmer and drummer Nathan Good came aboard, Death Cab For Cutie were born. The band took its name from a Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band song that appeared in the Beatles movie Magical Mystery Tour. By 1998, Death Cab's debut, Something About Airplanes, was released, recalling the off-kilter guitar pop of Built to Spill and the quietly passionate storytelling of Elliott Smith. The band went on to create three more LPs before signing to Atlantic Records and releasing the Grammy-nominated Plans in 2005. Nearly three years later, Narrow Stairs revealed a slightly changed Death Cab, which cited heavy metal as an influence. Though more Band of Horses than Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the brawnier approach worked; it was their first album to top the Billboard charts.