Ivy – live In Paris – June 14, 1995 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
American Indie for a change this week. Ivy are a band from New York who have together in this lineup since 1994. In 1991, Andy Chase placed an ad that attracted fellow multi-instrumentalist Adam Schlesinger. In 1994 they met Dominique Durand, a native of Paris who had moved to New York City to study English, and with whom they shared admiration for The Go-Betweens, The House of Love, The Pastels, Prefab Sprout and The Smiths. Although Durand had never sung in a group, she was persuaded by Chase and Schlesinger to sing on some demos, and Ivy was formed.
In 1994, Ivy signed with Seed Records and released “Get Enough,” which the UK magazine Melody Maker named Single of the Week, followed by the EP Lately. In 1995, they released their first full-length album, Realistic. Lately’s cover version of “I Guess I’m Just a Little Too Sensitive” impressed its author, Edwyn Collins of Orange Juice, so much that he invited them to tour together. Ivy also toured during this period with Lloyd Cole, Madder Rose, and Saint Etienne.
Apartment Life (released October 6, 1997 on Atlantic Records) was praised by critics as one of the year’s best albums and established Ivy as a band that wrote pleasant, well-crafted pop songs. They were assisted by several guest musicians, including Lloyd Cole, James Iha, Dean Wareham and Chris Botti. The album received more attention when “This Is the Day” and “I Get the Message” appeared on the soundtrack for the movie There’s Something About Mary.
Apartment Life, however, did not produce any hits, and Ivy was dropped by Atlantic. They signed with 550 Music on the condition that the band reissue the album. According to Schlesinger, four of the songs were remixed and the album was remastered and re-released on October 7, 1998.
Ivy have cited The Go-Betweens, Burt Bacharach, Antônio Carlos Jobim, Orange Juice, The Smiths, The Velvet Underground & Nico, The Beatles and Françoise Hardy as influences, as well as other artists covered on Guestroom.
Durand’s vocal technique and Parisian pronunciation are often compared by reviewers to another French singer, Lætitia Sadier of Stereolab.
Schlesinger was also a member of the bands Fountains of Wayne and Tinted Windows.
Durand and Chase, with Michael Hampton, recorded one album, 2004’s This Is Where We Live, as Paco.
Chase’s solo project, called Brookville, released three albums: Wonderfully Nothing (2003), Life in the Shade (2006) and Broken Lights (2009). In November 2012, Brookville changed their name to Camera2, releasing the “Just About Made It” single, followed by EP releases in 2013 and 2014.
For a reminder of their formative period, hit the play button and travel back to 1995 for a live gig from Paris.