Ian Schlein's pop music project known as Musical Chairs began in the fall of 1988. Citing Orange Juice, Red House Painters, and Magnetic Fields among his influences, Schlein began as a lo-fi home-recording artist and gradually altered the recording techniques of his indie pop sound. While he began recording under the moniker of Musical Chairs in 1988, it wasn't until 1993 that the project became a full band, with the addition of Mike Vercelli on drums and Scott Neilson on bass. The group went on to record some of the most blissful indie pop sounds in the East Coast scene of the mid- to late '90s. 1993's Bottled Up EP on Pillarbox Red Records was the band's official debut. It was followed by 1994's Time Lapse EP on Somersault Records. The full-length debut didn't appear until 1998, when Wit's End was released on Harriet Records, with Jay Adelberg taking over on drums. In 2001, Scott Garon joined the group on guitar. The band also appeared on various indie pop compilations. Although the band rarely performed live, they performed with such notable indie bands as the Apples in Stereo, the Pastels, and the Legendary Jim Ruiz Group. Musical Chairs also performed at various indie pop music festivals on the East Coast, including Boston and New York.