The 1900s
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The 1900s

Band Pop Rock


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The best kept secret in music


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Top Five Shows to See Now

The 1900’s

Combining the most infectious Belle and Sebastian and the melancholic ambience of the Velvet Underground, The 1900’s could potentially become one of Chicago’s best bands in the next few years. Carefully mixed organ and distorted guitars, along with Nico-like vocals and simple, beat-happy drums make the “Plume Delivery” EP quite unforgettable.
Quiet without being self-indulgent, harmonic without pretense and melodic with devastating effect, The 1900’s will be headlining these kind of shows very, very soon, that is if the band gets the recognition it deserves. The dual male-female vocals are brilliantly distributed, and songs like “Whole of the Law” and “Bring the Good Boys Home” come as close to structurally perfect as musically possible, and while the band’s only released a handful of songs thus far, I can’t wait to hear more. (Tom Lynch)
- NewCity Chicago

"The 1900s at Mercury Lounge Review"

I got to the Mercury Lounge early last night (8:30) to catch Chicago septet The 1900s who were making their New York debut. Despite playing to only a handful of people, they put on a fantastic show. On their MySpace profile, they describe themselves as " Psychedelic / Indie / Folk Rock" which is pretty accurate: part Chocolate Watchband, part Doors (the good bits) and a smidge of The Fairport Convention. And maybe just a little bit of Hee Haw: everyone was dressed like it was 1978 (in Nashville). Singer-guitarist Edward Anderson may be the frontman, but additional vocalists Caroline Donovan and Jeanine O'Toole (decked out in a Country & Western shirt and the kind of high-waisted denim the world hasn't seen since someone got between Brooke Shields and her Jordache Jeans) totally stole the show.

I really wish more people had seen their set, full of melodic "doo doos" and "bah bahs" and swooning violins, but also guitar and farfisa freakouts, tambourine shaking, choreographed dance moves and the occasional VU drone. The band was at their best when keyboardist Mike Jasinski would switch to guitar. His arpeggiated parts took the dynamics to a new plane that never quite hit those altitudes with the vintage organs. They played most of their debut EP, Plume Delivery, but my favorite songs were ones I hadn't heard before.
- Typepad

"the 1900s"

"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..." --- Joseph Kyle - Mundane Sounds - mundane sounds

"Plume Delivery - The 1900s"

"Plume Delivery, The 1900s' debut EP, is an intricately arranged, sweetly sung and tenderly played gem of a record. The Chicago sextet lovingly coat their songs with the finest chamber pop accoutrements (harpsichord, Rhodes, violin, organ and most importantly, lush vocal harmonies.) and come up with a rich and organic sound reminiscent of arrangement pop heroes like the Heavy Blinkers, Ladybug Transistor and the New Pornographers. As those bands do the 1900s have many voices taking the lead, seemingly a different one on every song, each equally gentle and sweet. The songs here stack up well next to the competition; "Bring the Good Boys Home" is a bouncy rocker done in a fine approximation of the Vancouver pop sound, Whole of the Law" is a lilting ballad with truly transcendent vocal harmonies and the kind of soaring chorus that might lift the spirits of even the most curmudgeonly of listeners, "Coming Age" is a fine pastoral ballad with a fine mid-60s Kinks feel. "
-Tim Sundra - All Music Guide

"Articles - The 1900s"

“…Their debut EP “Plume Delivery” (out on Parasol Records in late May) should help to define The 1900s' sound for anyone who hasn't caught one of the group's live shows at Schubas or Empty Bottle. While there are nods to the oeuvres of Stuart Murdoch and Lou Reed, fans of '60s psychedelia will find plenty to love with skittish guitars and "96 Tears"-style keyboards that stretch out on a bed of sun-kissed harmonies…”
-Scott Smith - Centerstage Chicago

"Do old friends make good bandmates? It's sure working for the 1900s."

The 1900s have only been playing live shows since September, and their debut EP, Plume Delivery, doesn't come out until May 30. But they've led a charmed existence so far. They landed a deal with Parasol Records shortly after their first gig, the EP's enjoying positive advance notices on indie-rock tip sheets and MP3 blogs, and they sold out a recent headlining gig at the Hideout.

The band's sweet, keyboard-swathed pop shows a strong 60s influence and puts coed vocals front and center, a formula that's worked for bands like the New Pornographers, Belle & Sebastian, and Broken Social Scene. But, guitarist and singer Edward Anderson argues, the band also works because it's a group of "friends, lovers, and ex-lovers." Most of its six members -- Anderson, drummer Tim Minnick, bassist Charlie Ransford, multi-instrumentalist Mike Jasinski, and vocalists Jeanine O'Toole and Caroline Donovan -- have known each other since childhood. O'Toole and Ransford once dated, and Anderson and Donovan are still an item.

Growing up in the southwest suburb of Palos Park, Anderson took an early interest in making music: when he was 11 he and a few neighbors started messing around with a crude home-recording setup. "It was like a really old drum machine and some acoustic guitars and a tape deck," he says. "One guy would write lyrics and we'd just improvise whole albums on the spot."

Anderson was classmates with Tim Minnick, who got into music while playing percussion in the school band. In high school the two formed a noisy experimental outfit called M.O.P. (short for Minotaurs of P) that included another classmate, Mike Jasinski, on guitar. But after graduating in the mid-90s the three friends went separate ways: Minnick to art school in England, Jasinski to Carbondale to study recording and composition at SIU, and Anderson to the University of Oregon to study anthropology and folklore.

In 2001 Anderson returned to Chicago, where Minnick was playing with the eclectic local roots-rockers Forty Piece Choir. Anderson soon joined the group as a seventh member, but his ambition to play a larger songwriting role in the band soon got him kicked out. ("I kinda overstepped my bounds creatively," he says.) The following year he joined Plane, a postpunk combo led by Edgars Legzdins, who'd recorded Forty Piece Choir. Plane frequently played with local power-pop band Turner Joy, and Anderson became friends with that band's bassist, Charlie Ransford.

"I'd run into Ed at shows and we'd hang out," says Ransford. "And he always talked about doing something together. He had these ideas kicking around. We'd all been in situations musically where it wasn't exactly what we wanted. So finally we thought, 'Let's do a band, but let's do it right.'"

"We didn't quite form the band out of desperation -- it wasn't like it was our last hope or anything," says Anderson, who's 27. "But I don't want to be a rock star at 40. It was more like, 'Let's take everything we've learned and all get together and do it the right way.'"

In the spring of 2004 Anderson, Jasinski, Ransford, and Minnick began playing together, bonding over their mutual obsessions -- which included Velvet Underground bootlegs and Daft Punk singles -- at Anderson's home studio in Logan Square. Their long late-night jam sessions led to a three-song demo of Anderson's finely etched pop songs.

But the band wanted to fill out the tracks some more, adding strings and female vocals in particular. "We had just been imagining these parts for months when it was just the four of us," says Minnick. "We knew the band had to add something else." Through mutual friends, Anderson met Jeanine O'Toole and Caroline Donovan, roommates who'd grown up together in the south-side neighborhood of Mount Greenwood singing in Catholic church choirs and high school musicals.

Anderson approached the two about joining the 1900s shortly after the demos were finished in the summer of 2004. "I remember we spent a long time on the deck at this dinner party talking about music and what the band would be," says O'Toole. Neither she nor Donovan had been in a group, but both were sold after hearing the demo tracks. "I totally loved it," says O'Toole. "I remember telling Caroline, 'This is a band I would totally listen to.'"

Soon after, Anderson brought the two into his home studio and asked them to improvise their vocal parts. "We knew how to sing in arrangements, having done it in church and school and everything," Donovan says. "I sing second soprano, so I always naturally sing harmony parts."

Anderson also brought in violinist Kristina Dutton, another old Palos Park acquaintance, who is also a member of Smallwire and Andrew Morgan's band. By May, with Jasinski producing, they began work on Plume Delivery, which kicks off with O'Toole singing the pulsing, organ-driven "Bring the Good Boys Home" and closes with the jangly miniature "Heart Props." They recorded the EP over a series of weekends at a - The Reader (chicago)

"Who to Look Out For - Midwest"

When you frame a stage
crowded with seven members
of a rock troupe, the
picture rarely has balance,
but Chicago septet, The
1 9 0 0 ’ s , b e a u t i f u l l y
orchestrate such colorful
arrangements that your ears
can’t help but hear a unit of
sound rather than multiple
parts. It’s straight pop and conjures thoughts of Belle & Sebastian or even Fleetwood
Mac, but several layers lay beneath and on top, splashed with psychedelia, garage, and British Invasion – all of which are exemplified in the first single,
“Bring the Good Boys Home”, off their forthcoming debut, Plume Delivery, out on Parasol Records in May. The subgenre labels, however, fall short of capturing
that Velvet Underground “Sunday Morning” feeling of serenity that The 1900’s evoke – and even that reference is insufficient. To describe it simply, it will put a smile on your face. Try to picture it, and then go listen.
-Chad Cheatham
- The Crutch

"The 1900s Spawn Tricky Sound, Relationships"

Jeanine O'Toole is happy to be calling from New York, where her band, the 1900's, is playing a series of concerts. "I'm shocked that we're all still alive and no one's in jail," she says with only a hint of a laugh. "This whole thing nearly fell apart" before it began.

A few days before the octet's first extended tour outside of Chicago was to begin, keyboardist Mike Jasinski stumbled home to the Logan Square apartment he shares with guitarist Edward Anderson. He was shoeless and sporting a right elbow that resembled a black and blue grapefruit. A half-day was spent in the waiting room of Cook County Hospital, where it was determined he'd suffered a broken arm.

Details are vague, but band members say an Andersonville bar, an aggressive bouncer, some kind of altercation and a door were involved. Jasinski took one for the team, though. He's not only on the road with his bandmates, he drove the band's van all the way to the East Coast and is hauling his own equipment at gigs.

"What a trooper," O'Toole marvels. Such is life in a band where everything, from the music to the relationships, is somewhat complicated.

The 1900's have a terrific EP to their credit, "Plume Delivery" (Parasol), and a boatload of buzz built on live gigs. Their gorgeous multipart harmonies, swooning strings, indelible melodies and multipart psychedelic folk-rock songs suggest a cool, clear-headed update of the Zombies and Love. Yes, the future looks bright--if the band can keep its volatile chemistry in balance.

Groundwork for the band was laid years ago by Anderson, Jasinski and drummer Tim Minnick, who began playing together at south suburban Amos Alonzo Stagg High School. They began assembling their dream band two years ago when they asked bassist Charlie Ransford to join, then recruited vocalists O'Toole and Caroline Donovan.

"I was so sure they would work, even though I didn't actually know if they could sing when I asked them to stop by," Anderson confesses. "Then, when they actually did sing over some of the songs we were writing it was a great relief. `Whoah! They really can sing.'"

O'Toole and Donovan had been best friends since their high school days at Mother McCauley on the South Side, and they had an innate sense of harmony from their extensive training in theater.

Within weeks, Donovan began dating Anderson, and O'Toole paired off with Ransford. The latter couple eventually broke up, and tension was high within the band for a few weeks, but the notion of quitting never arose. "We're in this band together for better or worse, and now we're friends again," O'Toole says.

When it's suggested that this sounds more than a little like the mid-'70s soap opera that surrounded Fleetwood Mac circa Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, and Christine and John McVie, O'Toole responds: "Oh, yeah, except without as much coke."

Anderson laughs when told of O'Toole's response. "Actually, I'd say with more coke." Jokes aside, he says, the notion of band members sharing more than just music left him a little uneasy at first, "but the relationships are all pretty solid now. We had our best soundcheck ever the other night. We were just having a great time being together. Usually someone storms off, and people are screaming at each other."

That passion cuts through the music, which makes all the internal drama worthwhile, Anderson and O'Toole concur. "It's worked out freakishly well," O'Toole says. "In a way, we're still getting to know each other."

The band, which now includes violinist Audra Kulan and violist Whitney Johnson, was together for a year before playing its first concert, last September in downstate Champaign. By then, they'd already recorded "Plume Delivery," with the idea that they would distribute it themselves. Instead, Geoff Merritt, owner of the respected indie label Parasol, offered the fledgling band a record deal after the show.

"He came to the show as a friend, and I don't think he had any intention of signing us," O'Toole says. "Then he saw us play, and said he wanted to put the record out. It happened so fast, we didn't think he was being serious. But he e-mailed the next Monday and said he absolutely was."

Anderson is serious about his band, too. "We have bigger plans for how the next record will sound," the guitarist says. "It'll be more grand. String arrangements, horns . . . we jokingly call it `psychedelic Motown.'"
Greg Kot - Chicago Tribune

"Shows Not To Miss in June 2006"

Opening [for Midlake] are the 1900s, a sprawling band that recently issued its first EP, Plume Delivery (Parasol), and is talked about with dollar-eyed reverence in its native Chicago. As it turns out, the seven musicians stalk a middle ground ceded by Midlake, performing bittersweet pop with shades of both '60s London and '70s Los Angeles. Indeed, the 1900s have a scrambled sense of time: "Tomorrow," they song at one point, "has come and gone." (Jay Ruttenberg) - Time Out New York

"Plume Delivery A-"

AV Club - Noel Murray - 6/7/06

The 1900s' debut EP Plume Delivery (Parasol) is an impressive sample of what the band can do, full of evocative song-snippets like "Heart Props" and "Flight Of The Monowings," plus multi-part psychedelic folk-pop songs like "Bring The Good Boys Home" and "Whole Of The Law." The Chicago collective finds the connecting point between Stereolab, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, and high-lonesome bluegrass… A- - The Onion


"Plume Delivery" EP, Parasol Records, 2006, forthcoming full length "Cold & Kind" due out October 2007


Feeling a bit camera shy


Old friends, lovers, ex-lovers. Intense on stage and off.