Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The 1900s - Cold & Kind

Firstly, some of my 8-15 readers may be wondering why certain songs I post are 30 seconds and others are for the full duration of the song. The answer is that IMEEM (mp3 hosting / community) has deals with labels and artists that dictate the length of streaming songs. Some labels let you stream entire songs, while others only want 30 second iTunes-ish clips. If you are like Michael Scott in The Office, 30 seconds may be all you need to get by. On the other hand, if you'd like to hear the song in full...well, I'm working on that....

The 1900s are a self-described "seven piece psychedelic pop group from Chicago." While this may be their term, it's not wholly accurate. Indie/folk pop is probably closer to the mark. All of which can be taken with a grain of salt, as they're all partially true. While they officially formed in 2004, their relationships vary in length, with some going back to grade school. Their debut EP Plume Delivery from the spring of 2006 was recorded before they had played any live gigs together, and news quickly spread around Chicago and further outward. They landed sold-out shows and eventually opened for the likes of Midlake and Iron & Wine, which then got them an invite to play at SXSW, which then begot them an invite to Lollapalooza. While it most certainly was a precipitous rise to acclaim, the journey has only begun.

On their debut full-length album Cold & Kind the band create something special. Their atmospheres, arrangements, melodies, vocal harmonies, and lyrics are hit the right spots. It is an incredibly strong debut that should stand out in a crowd. With seven members, they have 2 main vocalists in Caroline Donovan and Jeanine O'Toole, but occasionally have assistance from Edward Anderson. The manner in which they blend together is warm and inviting. In the same turn, each lady isn't afraid to step out into the spotlight to take her own turn with a solo. Often times when bands have multiple vocalists or complex arrangements (as they do with strings, horns, various keyboards, and tambourines) they can't find balance in their sound, or they forget about the lyrics, or don't pay enough attention to detail. Thankfully, The 1900s manage to avoid those pitfalls to produce a rich album that is equally at home being quiet and thoughtful (the Simon & Garfunkel-esque "City Water") as they are being rollicking and free-flowing ("Two Ways"). One of the most poignant reviews of the record comes from Tim Sendra at AMG who says, "Cold & Kind is the kind of record that will capture the heart of anyone lucky enough to discover it, a glittering jewel of well-written, perfectly recorded, and heartbreakingly honest and true music nestled in the trash heap of product that floods that market each week."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Ethan, please contact jim (at) parasol (dot) com about offering The 1900s songs on your blog. Go Sox!