Ben Gibbard – “Proxima B” & “Filler” (Minor Threat Cover)

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.