April 11, 2006
In the coming months, I predict you're going to hear a lot about a little band from Chicago named The 1900s. You'll probably see their named mention along with comparisons to Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura, Donovan, Nick Drake, and The Velvet Underground. These comparisons will arise for several reasons, the lesser of which is the fact that their press kit references most of these bands and music writers are, for the most part, rather lazy individuals who will take hand-fed comparisons at face value. The primary reason for such comparisons, though, is quite obvious; The 1900s definitely sound inspired by Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura, Donovan, Nick Drake, and the Velvet Underground.
No matter, though.
This group is a very large group; the promo shot shows a band of six, but the band credits list seven, and their sound is indeed quite large. The six songs on debut release Plume Delivery are grand--not "grand" as in "simply faboo" (though they certainly are), but they're lush, larger-than-life affairs that aren't heavy in any orchestra pop kind of way. (It's an odd thing, being a baroque band making baroque pop that's not heavy, but that's another story.) They don't need robes and loud bells and whistles to make their music fabulous (even though, of course, their songs do have them); part of their appeal is that they're simply good songwriters and they're simply good musicians, and this debut of theirs doesn't sound like a debut record at all. If you're an indie-pop boy and you need a new indie-pop crush, you'll fall instantly for Caroline Donovan; if you're an indie-pop girl, it'll be hard for you to resist the charms of Edward Anderson; even though it's the girls who deliver most of the songs, there are a few boy moments, and they're equally as good.
Though all of the songs on Plume Delivery are lovely things, the big, must-hear track is "Patron Saint of the Mediocre." Though they start off with a ripping off of the Wire/Elastica "Three Girl Rhumba/Connected" riff, they quickly turn it into a British post-Mersey/pre-Revolver pop beat (think Zombies, as per the comparison above), with lovely, seductive vocals by Ms. Donovan. Halfway through it, though, the band apparently dropped some acid, and the rest of the jam session becomes quite heady, as they hit upon a psych-pop groooooove that Brian Jonestown Massacre probably wished they'd written. Very delicious stuff, and well worth the admission price.
Listen To: "Bring The Good Boys Home"
Sharing the brilliance that is "Patron Saint of the Mediocre" with you here would be wrong, of course, but don't think that this selection is slack, either. It starts off with a wonderful beat...but it ends magnificently. Expect to hear more, and, if you're lucky enough to live in the Chicago area, go see them live!
April 13, 2006 Chicago, IL @ The Hideout.
April 29, 2006 Chicago, IL @ IO (formerly Improv Olympic)
May 12, 2006 Chicago, IL @ METRO
June 3, 2006 Chicago, IL Shuba's CD RELEASE PARTY