Phases & Stages

There is an art to being a successful indie rock band. Things have to be in perfect balance: timing, perception, ego. Death Cab for Cutie is a model of that prowess. Justin Mitchell's Drive Well, Sleep Carefully: On the Road With Death Cab for Cutie (Plexifilm) "is simply a story of a band on the road." While it's hard to ignore the backstory of Ben Gibbard & Co. – The O.C. inclusions, the endless touring, the switch from Barsuk to Atlantic – Mitchell splendidly documents the end of last year's lengthy DCFC tour without delving too much into politics. What the DVD offers is 13 full live performances beautifully shot on 16mm film – including Stubb's – in-depth interview snippets, a look at Chris Walla's Seattle Justice for All studios where Nirvana recorded Bleach, and extras out the wazoo. And then there's the labors of love known as independent record labels. Omaha scenesters Jason Kulbel and Rob Walters compiled interviews, extremely raw video footage, and rock paraphernalia into Spend an Evening With Saddle Creek: The First Ten Years of Saddle Creek Records (Plexifilm). About as exciting as you'd expect – how many times can Conor Oberst possibly say "like"? – the doc is for Saddle Creek fans only. For those folks, the extensive sections on Bright Eyes, Cursive, and the Faint frame the story of the little label that could, from dorm room to office. Chock-full of unreleased concert footage, Spend an Evening is lengthy and all-encompassing: Azure Ray, Lullaby for the Working Class, Desaparecidos, the Good Life, Rilo Kiley, etc. On the homefront, San Antonio's Buttercup released a DVD in the last year documenting their Grackle Mundy art exhibit. Goodbye Blue Monday revolves around the idea and fruition of the pop band performing via TVs set in 50-gallon drums. Not quite DCFC, Buttercup is definitely original. And nobody wants to hear "The Sound of Settling" unless Gibbard is singing it.

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