Ever since the coronavirus quarantine started in March, Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard has been doing his part to help keep people sane. He’s been playing a ton of one-man concerts that he’s been livestreaming from his home — first daily, then weekly. On Twitter yesterday, Gibbard announced that tomorrow’s set would be his last weekly livestream. But he’s not leaving us empty-handed. Instead, he’s just shared a new studio single.
“Proxima B” is Gibbard’s first proper release since he dropped the circa-now anthem “Life In Quarantine” in March. Gibbard debuted “Proxima B” in one of his livestream sets last month. “Proxima B” is named after a planet that orbits the the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, which some believe could be the nearest alien planet. Gibbard’s “Proxima B” is a warm, inviting full-band power-pop song with lyrics about escaping to another world: “There’s a place where you and I can go/ Where we can start this mess all over.”
Gibbard is releasing “Proxima B” as a 7″ single and a cassette, and he’s recorded a pretty unexpected cover as the B-side. He’s taken on “Filler,” a legendary 1981 rage-out from hardcore pioneers Minor Threat. On the original 93-second song, Ian MacKaye raged and frothed about friends filling up their heads with petty things like church and romance: “You call it religion! You’re full of shit!” Gibbard has remade the song as a soft, tender piano ballad, and it works better than you might imagine. Listen to “Proxima B” and “Filler” below.
In a press release, Gibbard says this about “Proxima B”:
“his one I wrote a while ago and I was going to have it out as a single for my solo tour this spring. It’s about a planet that was discovered deep, deep in the cosmos, called Proxima B. The three things you need to know about Proxima B to understand the song are: One, there’s a planet called Proxima B that they think has water on it. It’s somewhat Earth-like. Secondly, it orbits the star called Centauri. And three, there’s been a lot of talk of “Ooh, maybe we can get there at some point.” So I wrote this song in response to that.
“Proxima B” b/w “Filler” is out tomorrow as both a 7″ and a cassette, and you can buy it at Death Cab For Cutie’s webstore.