CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 15:  Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie performs during the 2012 Bunbury Music Festival at Yeatman
Stephen J. Cohen

When Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard and Zooey Deschanel divorced last year, I looked at the bright side: "Hey, maybe now he'll focus on music and record some quality heartbreakers," I thought. He appears to be headed down that path, having just announced that his solo debut Former Lives will drop October 16 via DCFC's former label Barsuk. After all, what's more heartbreaking than Gibbard all alone?

Released under his full name "Benjamin Gibbard" (also emo), the 12-track collection was recorded with Earlimart's Aaron Espinoza and will span the frontman's career, from older tracks he's played live, but has never released, to new, never-before-heard tunes. 

"It certainly doesn’t come out of like 'I have all these songs to record and I’m not getting my fix with the band,'" Gibbard explained to Stereogum. "They’re not songs that weren't good enough to make Death Cab records as much as they were things that … well, there’s not really place on a Death Cab record for a song that sounds like Big Star or Teenage Fanclub."

Gibbard added, "The record is something of a mixed bag. The songs themselves are not all of a particular mode—they’re not all about one subject—and they’re not from one definitive era of my life... I think that people will kind of see past the fact that one song has a mariachi band, the next song is acoustic—it’s all over the map—but I’m really proud of the tunes and how they came together in the studio."

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