In the Spring of 1999, Death Cab for Cutie songwriter/frontman Ben Gibbard had some time on his hands and a batch of songs running around in his head that didn't seem quite right for his band. He also had a few broken keyboards scattered about, a guitar that wouldn't stay in tune, an old four-track home-recording machine, and one of those Walkmans (Walkmen?) with a built-in condenser mic. What would have been a recipe for disaster in the hands of a lesser musician and songwriter resulted instead in two charming lo-fi releases (a five-song self-titled CD and the Envelope Sessions cassette tape) on the excellent Bellingham, WA scene-documenting Elsinor label under the one-off moniker ĦAll-Time Quarterback!
Long out of print, the best selections from those Elsinor releases have been collected on an enhanced CD along with a previously-unreleased outtake and a hilarious, strangely heartwarming video. Standouts include why i cry (a lovely Magnetic Fields cover), underwater (later re-recorded by DCFC for a 2000 Sub Pop singles club 7"), and the unavailable-elsewhere pop gems plans get complex, sock hop and empire state.