Thursday, January 3, 2008
An Outsiders Guide to the Midwest Music Scene:
A discussion with Chicago's 1900s
One of the great bands to emerge nationally from the Midwest in 2007 was the Chicago-based group the 1900s on Parasol Records. They made many a Top 10 list.
So who better to comment on how the Midwest Music Scene is perceived than a band out there right now, hitting American roadways and getting a perspective first-hand.
I recently heard back from 1900s Edward Anderson on the aspects of being Midwestern and how outsiders may view the current Midwestern Music Scene.
PWAH: What are some Chicago bands you recommend people get to know signed or unsigned?
Edward Anderson: Palliard, Ice Cream Floats, Brighton MA, Devin Davis, Office, The M's, The Changes, Strange Young Lovers, David Vandervelde, Wilco... among many others.
PWAH: As you guys go around on your travels, how do you think people perceive music that comes from the Midwest? I think most people are unaware that a vast majority of famous bands and musicians may have moved to NY or LA, but started in the Midwest. The National comes to mind.
EA: This makes me think of OK GO, who are pretty much like an LA band now, though I remember them being huge here in Chicago a few years back. It seemed like they were always ready to catch the first bus out of the Midwest; like that was their intention all along – whereas most of the musicians I know in Chicago aren’t planning on going anywhere. Because of this, we’ve been able to dig in our heels and support each other and create a little scene for ourselves. The hope is that by having and nurturing this scene, people around the world will become more aware of the really diverse and special music coming from Chicago and the Midwest in general. Last year was our fist experience at SXSW, and it definitely seemed like there was loads of buzz for Chicago bands – but I’m not sure if people were able to piece them all together. Hopefully this year we can all go and kick more ass and really open people’s eyes.
But to answer the question, I have a feeling people still perceive Chicago from the last time it was on the music map – when Tortoise and Sea & Cake..etc we’re putting out these cool records that heavily featured rhythm, melody and experimentation – all things that the new school hold high – but I wonder if people still think “post-rock” when my favorite stuff is all pop these days. I guess I would say Wilco, Summer Teeth-on, would embody that new aesthetic on the biggest scale, like our big daddy.
PWAH: How do you think being Midwestern has contributed to your outlook on life or the music you make?
EA: Hard working, hard drinking. Keep your head down to count the gum on the sidewalk, meet your friends at the bar, watch your breath when it snows, get wasted and talk about how to record hand-claps, click-tracks, late night jams and cigarettes. Big hugs for big shoulders, big water, boulevards and big food.