When the coronavirus pandemic first became serious, the city of Seattle was hit hard. In order to raise money and awareness for important organizations across the city, Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard began hosting nightly livestream sessions (which have since become weekly affairs) as part of his Live From Home series. In Thursday’s live set, Gibbard debuted a brand-new song and performed a cover of Nirvana’s “All Apologies.”
During the lengthy set, Gibbard debuted the song “Proxima B.” Ahead of performing it on piano, the singer explained that it is written in response to the discovery of a new planet in our solar system:
“This one I wrote a while ago. I’m planning on putting it out as a single. I was going to have it out as a single for this solo tour I was doing, a more ramped-up guitar version. But, obviously, the show’s not happening so we’re going to push that to the fall. This is a song I wrote about a planet that was discovered deep, deep in the cosmos, way out there, called Proxima B. The three things you need to know about Proxima B to understand the song is: One, there was 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.”
After debuting the new track, Gibbard moved into a cover of Nirvana’s “All Apologies.” Gibbard said that Nirvana is one of his “favorite bands” and he’s lately been feeling nostalgic for an earlier era.
Earlier in the set, Gibbard explained the meaning behind his Narrow Stairs track “Ice Is Getting Thinner.” The singer said he had originally been tapped to write and “uplifting” song about polar bears for a movie, but it fell short of the mark:
“This is going back to about 2006, 2007. And I got asked to write a song about a movie. It was a documentary about polar bears. They needed a theme song for the movie, or an end credit or something. I think it was for the end credits. They thought, ‘Who better to write an uplifting song about polar bears then the guy who writes all those sad bastard songs?’ I turned in what became this song. A lot of lyrics are fairly similar. And I think you’ll agree it’s not a shocker that they didn’t choose it. This has been a trend in my career. People have asked me to do things not really knowing that I’m probably not the best person for certain things. If you want a sad-ass song about polar bears, I’m your guy. But not if you want something uplifting.”
Watch Gibbard’s Live From Home set above. See him debut a new song at the 33:57 minute mark, and hear him cover Nirvana’s “All Apologies” at 39:03.
Death Cab For Cutie is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.