When news broke that Benjamin Curtis had lost his battle with cancer on December 29, two basic trends seemed to dominate people’s reactions. With a common denominator of simply being crushed at the news of a prolific musician’s life being cut short at just 35, the reactions otherwise divided along generational lines. Music critics of a certain age mourned Curtis and reached back to the past — to his time in Secret Machines. Some referenced formative experiences seeing the band at New York clubs; plenty others acknowledged them as a rock band of the ’00s that never quite got their due. Younger writers, though they seemed to be fewer in numbers, knew Curtis from School Of Seven Bells, his band since his departure from Secret Machines in 2007. In either case, there was a common refrain. All manner of synonyms for “underrated” accompanied our mourning, and none of them were inaccurate. This is the second trend, the one attendant to the fact that people seemed to remember Curtis as having one of two separate and distinct lives and/or jobs. (He also had earlier stints as a drummer in UFOFU and Tripping Daisy.) No matter how we came to know Curtis, those of us who listened to some era of his music knew there was something special there that never got the full appreciation it deserved.
— Ryan Leas (Stereogum)

A terrific essay on the loss of a great musician.

See also, this great piece by Ian Cohen at Grantland:

The nostalgic, “Damn, he made some music that was really good” tone of the condolences wasn’t a surprise; tragedy tends to galvanize opinion in this way. But the immediate and wide-ranging outpouring of the condolences and nostalgia was a surprise, as was the consensus and faintly apologetic nature of it all; people wish they were more adamant about this sadly overlooked and underrated artist in real time.

Nailed it. I dropped the band's name into conversations, and I even shoehorned a reference into the Juliana Hatfield fan site I run, but I know what Cohen means. 

As I said earlier this week my reborn zest for discovering new music owes so much to School Of Seven Bells,

If you haven't heard Disconnect From Desire or Ghostory, give them a go.