Gossip mongers hoping that Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard's debut solo album, Former Lives, would delve into his recent split from Hollywood starlet Zooey Deschanel for songwriting fodder will undoubtedly be disappointed. Rather than a snapshot of recent personal upheavals, Former Lives collects scattered songs written over the past eight years, a point conspicuously played up in its accompanying press materials, all of which practically scream, "Don't you dare assume these songs are about my recent divorce." The record is great regardless of what emotional travails inspired it. Working outside of the confines of a band frees Gibbard and to set his clear-eyed tenor atop previously unexplored sounds, from the pedal-steel powered country-pop of "Broken Yolk in Western Sky" to the McCartney-indebted piano balladry of "Duncan, Where Have You Gone?" With Advance Base.
Thu., Nov. 1, 7 p.m., 2012