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Death Cab for Cutie Sets Off ‘Roman Candles’ Ahead of New Album

Single precedes Sept. 16 release of ‘Asphalt Meadows’

Death Cab for Cutie has unveiled “Roman Candles,” the first taste of music from its next studio album, Asphalt Meadows, due out on September 16 from Atlantic. The track is a bit discordant (and brief) by Death Cab standards, as it rides a variety of loud and distorted noises underneath frontman Ben Gibbard’s signature vocals in a succinct 2:10 running time.

Gibbard says the song “is about the crippling, existential dread that goes hand in hand with living in a nervous city on a dying planet, and that the only way to be in the moment is to let it all go. The lyrics were cobbled from a couple of different songs dealing with my general sense of anxiety — the feeling that the fabric that weaves a functioning society together was crumbling during the pandemic.”


Asphalt Meadows, the band’s first full-length since 2018’s Thank You for Today, was produced by John Congleton, best-known for his work with St. Vincent and Sharon Van Etten. Death Cab will support it with an extensive summer and fall tour, beginning July 7 in Cincinnati.

This year marks the Seattle-reared group’s 25th anniversary, which was partially celebrated with last year’s 20th anniversary reissue of its album The Photo Album. Gibbard also executive produced the recent star-studded tribute project Ocean Child: Songs of Yoko Ono, which features David Byrne, The Flaming Lips and Japanese Breakfast, among many others.