While Death Cab for Cutie‘s Ben Gibbard has been involved in many side projects and guest spots, he’s finally releasing his first solo album. Former Lives will hit stores Oct. 16 via Death Cab’s former label, Barsuk Records. Gibbard will support the record with a tour that brings him to town on Oct. 14 at the Danforth Music Hall. Tickets go on sale this Friday (Aug. 17) at 10 a.m.
Gibbard is a huge fan of Rodrigez, a.k.a. Sugar Man, the Detroit-bred singer who emerged as the voice of the people in the 1970s in aparthied-era South Africa, then disappeared of the face of the Earth. Two South-African music fans’ journey to find him is documented in a new film Searching for Sugar Man, which is currently playing at the Bloor Cinema through to Aug. 23. Spoiler alert: Sugar Man is playing the Mod Club on Oct. 25. Gibbard and the Jayhawks’ Gary Louris recently performed with Sugar Man at the L.A. Film Festival’s Voices For Change Program promoting the social impact the arts make on our society.
Gibbard is also making available his fan letter to Ichiro Suzuki. When Ichiro was traded to the Yankees from Ben’s beloved Seattle Mariners last month, Gibbard posted the tune “Ichiro Theme,” which he’d penned a few years back. He’s now made the song available on iTunes with all proceeds going to the Mariners’ “Refuse to Abuse” campaign against domestic abuse.
THE PETE BUCK PROJECT
One of the other bands in which Gibbard holds honourary membership is The Baseball Project. The band—which is fronted by Steve Wynn and Young Fresh Fellow/Minus 5 man Scott McCaughey, and also features Linda Pitmon and Peter Buck—had an Ichiro tune of their own on last year’s Volume 2: High and Inside, “Ichiro Goes to the Moon.” And since Buck and McCaughey aren’t tied up with R.E.M. these days, both have new records on the way. Young Fresh Fellows will release another garage-rock nugget, Tiempo De Lujo, via Yep Roc on Aug. 21 while, a month later, The Fellows will host a release weekend at Seattle’s Sunset Tavern, where Buck will front a new solo project with McCaughey and long-time collaborator Bill Rieflin called Richard M. Nixon. Buck’s first solo record will be released on vinyl only later this year.
On Sept. 25, Capitol/IRS continues its R.E.M. reissue campaign with 1987′s Document. The double-CD package includes a remastered version of the LP (which includes a perfect side one) and an unreleased 1987 concert, plus some other goodies. The record was the band’s first to break them on a mass level beyond their sizeable college-rock fan base and spawned the hits “The One I Love” and “It’s The End of The World As We Know It.” And if you’ve ever wondered what became of Noah Ray, the kid in the “End of The World video,” well, here ya go.