Death Cab for Cutie and “The O.C.” have had a symbiotic relationship almost since the teen beach drama began in August, 2003.
Protagonist Seth Cohen (actor Adam Brody) named-dropped the Washington state indie-rockers liberally and sported posters of the group on his wall, giving them mainstream exposure they probably never expected. In turn, Seth, his refined taste, and the show itself have earned a stellar reputation in music-geek circles.
Death Cab have had their music featured in key scenes before, but the group will finally perform on “The O.C.” on April 20. The group will play two songs from its latest album, Transatlanticism, at the show’s hangout, the Bait Shop.
Indie-rockers performing on the Orange County-based drama is nothing new; the Killers, Modest Mouse and the Walkmen have all appeared. And earlier this month, the show debuted its “Beckpisode,” which featured five songs from Beck’s new album, Guero., although not the singer himself.
Still, Death Cab’s appearance on the show has been a long time coming. “I read our message boards, of course, and [the fans] were like, “When’s Death Cab going to be on?’,” said “O.C.” music supervisor Andrea Patsavas, who, with creator Josh Schwartz, selects the music for the show. “I was like, ‘Ah, little do you know, kemosabes, it will be OK.’
“Josh always intended music to be a character in ‘The O.C.,’ ” she said, “so defining the tone for the show certainly includes these kinds of indie bands.”
Although Schwartz and Patsavas regularly go out to concerts and hit Amoeba – one of L.A’s finest record stores – sometimes they find diamonds in the avalanche of CDs that are sent to them.
“Oftentimes we get regular submissions through the mail, and then we reach out to bands that we love,” she said. “[We’ve] featured bands in the show that none of us had heard of [previously] and just liked,” citing Scottish group Belle X1 and Chicago musician Sam Prekop as some of their finds.
But as much as the show has served as a kind of nationwide indie radio station, the music must serve the drama first. “We’ve always been incredibly interested in [indie music], but our main interest is in serving the show and helping to select music that enhances what’s happening on the screen,” she noted. Artists that viewers can expect to hear on upcoming episodes include Bloc Party, Brendan Benson, Eagles of Death Metal and the LCD Soundsystem.
Due April 5, Music from “The O.C.”: Mix 4 is the latest in the series of the show’s companion CDs, and like the others, it features a cover song, this time Philadelphia’s Matt Pond P.A. doing Oasis’ 1995 anthemic “Champagne Supernova.” A fifth edition of the series is slated for a fall release.
One more band is expected to stop by the Bait Shop this season, although Patsavas won’t reveal who it is. However, she did say she’s been listening to Queens of the Stone Age, breezy Toronto trio Apostle of Hustle, and singer/songwriter Damien Jurado lately.
Track list for Music from The O.C.: Mix 4, according to Warner Bros.: