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The background: “We left college and spent years in a van together, and we’ve spent all of this time learning from one another and growing emotionally and otherwise over the years,” the bass guitarist says. “The fabric of our relationships is very complex and certainly something that is very important to me, and probably to everyone in the band. We are a support network for each other; we are so much more than four guys who get together and play music.”

Hometown: Seattle (WA), US.

The truth:  In conversation, it’s obvious that the members of Death Cab for Cutie are still each other’s biggest fans. More important, they genuinely enjoy making music with each other and being in a band together. Their only motivation is to create music they like – and to impress and satisfy each other. Theirs might not be a controversial rock & roll story – but it is one rooted in stable, supportive brotherhood.

The buzz: By their seventh studio album, many bands are running out of creative steam and original ideas. But in the case of Death Cab for Cutie, nothing could be further from the truth. With “Codes and Keys”, the band has never sounded more excited to experiment with textures, words, sounds and even the process of recording itself.

What to buy: “Kintsugi”.

File next to: The Cure, Low, Built to Spill, Lloyd Cole, Mark Kozelek.