Ivy is an American indie pop band composed of a trio of musicians, Adam Schlesinger, Dominique Durand, and Andy Chase.
Lately and Realistic:
Ivy was formed in 1994 when multi-instrumentalists Chase and Schlesinger convinced Parisian-born Durand, who had never sung in a group before, to venture into a New York studio and record a four-song tape with them. Durand, who moved to New York City from Paris in 1990, first met Chase at a party, where he was playing with his previous band. She told him that his band was "not her cup of tea". Three years later, Chase and Durand wrote a song, and asked Schlesinger to play bass on the demo. Schlesinger persuaded Chase and Durand to write more together, which eventually resulted in a five-song demo.
One of the first songs they recorded, "Get Enough", was released as a 7" single and was quickly named "Single of the Week" in the UK's Melody Maker.
A follow-up EP, Lately, was released on the Seed label in 1994, followed on February 14, 1995 by their debut full-length, Realistic, Although raw compared to their later work, the album hinted at the melodic sophistication and emphasis on production detail that would follow. During this period the group began touring, sharing the stage with Oasis, Edwyn Collins, Lloyd Cole, St. Etienne, Madder Rose, Yo La Tengo, The Divine Comedy and many others.
The band also produced and released the "I Hate December" remix EP. A black-and-white video featuring the band lip-synching and playing in a bar was produced for both the original and remixed edits of the song. It remains the only Ivy release on Scratchie Records, the label belonging to The Smashing Pumpkins' members James Iha and D'arcy Wretzky and co-owned by Adam Schlesinger.
On their second full-length album, Apartment Life (released October 6, 1997 on Atlantic), Ivy hit its stride, introducing richer arrangements and a wider palette of sounds, while at the same time taking their songcraft to a new level. The album was named one of the year's best by scores of critics, and the group's fan base increased exponentially; they toured extensively in support of the new record over the next two years.
Iha, a known fan of Ivy and friend of Schlesinger, appeared as a guest vocalist and guitarist on "Back in Our Town", and as a guitarist on "Quick, Painless & Easy". Schlesinger had previously played piano on Iha's song "The Bells", released on the Smashing Pumpkins' "Thirty-Three" single, and also contributed to Iha's own solo album Let It Come Down. Iha thanked Ivy in the latter's liner notes. Since Apartment Life, Iha has appeared on every Ivy release, contributing or producing at least one track on each.
Other session and guest musicians included Dean Wareham (Luna), Stanley Demeski (Luna, Feelies); Chris Collingwood and Jody Porter (Fountains of Wayne); Alan Rubin (a trumpeter for The Blues Brothers, Miles Davis, James Brown and others).
Apartment Life spawned Ivy's first official CD single, "The Best Thing", followed by "I've Got a Feeling" and the EPs "This Is the Day" and "You Don't Know Anything". A promotional video was also made for "I've Got a Feeling".
The album was re-released the next year, on October 7, 1998, by 550 Music when the band was dropped by Atlantic. The re-release featured different cover art (the photo of Durand which had been on the inside was moved to the cover, with shelves deleted), and different mixes of "The Best Thing" (mixed by Daniel Abraham), "I've Got a Feeling", "This Is the Day" and "Back in Our Town" (the latter three mixed by John Holbrook).
The songs "This Is the Day" and "I Get the Message" were selected for the soundtrack of the hit motion picture There's Something About Mary.
Long Distance, their third LP, was released on July 10, 2001 on Nettwerk, and won the group an even wider audience both at home and abroad. The album was released on November 8, 2000 in Japan, seven months prior to its US release, and the Japanese edition included a bonus track, "It's All in Your Mind" (the US version included Blow Monkeys cover "Digging Your Scene" as a bonus track instead).
On Long Distance, lush soundscapes and dense rhythm tracks were brought to the fore, and bouncy pop songs were outnumbered by moodier, more atmospheric songs like single "Edge of the Ocean". Promotional videos were created for that song and the other single, "Lucy Doesn't Love You".
By this time, the band had also had found success on both the big and small screens, scoring the Farrelly Brothers' Shallow Hal, as well as having their songs featured prominently in numerous films and television shows. Chase and Schlesinger had also begun to receive attention for their work outside the band: Chase produced the debut album by French pop group Tahiti 80, which was a hit in many countries and led to subsequent production work with several other groups; Schlesinger's "other" band, Fountains of Wayne, released two critically acclaimed records, and he also received an Oscar nomination for his title song to Tom Hanks' film That Thing You Do!.
Ivy released Guestroom on September 10, 2002 on Minty Fresh. The album contained 10 of the group's favorite cover songs, including The Cure's "Let's Go to Bed", House Of Love's "I Don't Know Why I Love You", Steely Dan's "Only a Fool Would Say That", Serge Gainsbourg's "L'Anamour" (previously a B-side on the "I've Got a Feeling" single), The Ronettes' "Be My Baby" and Papas Fritas' "Say Goodbye". Picking from several different eras, they revealed some of their sources of inspiration, and also displayed their ability to reinterpret many different types of songs in their own distinct way. Five of the 10 songs on Guestroom were recorded during one group of sessions in New York. The remaining five tracks were recorded at different times over the course of Ivy's career, but were difficult to find, having been released only on limited-edition singles, compilations or soundtracks.
"Digging Your Scene" was also included on the album, and released in Japan and UK as a CD single. A video for "Let's Go to Bed" was shot, depicting Durand and Chase in their NYC apartment, later joined by Iha.
The Lately EP was reissued in 2003 on Unfiltered Records with the same track list as original.
Ivy gained even wider recognition in 2003-2004 for their song "Worry About You", which was used as the theme song of the Stephen King series Kingdom Hospital and in the pilot episode of the television miniseries The 4400.
In the Clear:
In the Clear was released on March 1, 2005 on Nettwerk.
Ivy brought in UK producer Steve Osborne (New Order, Happy Mondays, Starsailor, Elbow) for his first-ever New York sessions to mix seven of the tracks.
In the Clear also featured guest appearances by friends like Iha, Porter, Brazilian string arranger Zé Luis (Bebel Gilberto, Caetano Veloso), and former Girls Against Boys frontman Scott McLoud, who dueted with Durand on the closing track "Feel So Free".
The album was given a warmer reception than previous releases. An animated promotional video clip was created for "Thinking About You".
All Hours was released on September 20, 2011. The first single from the album, "Distant Lights," was released on June 7, 2011, and the second single, "Fascinated," was released on July 26, 2011.
Ivy have cited The Go-Betweens, Burt Bacharach, Jobim, Orange Juice, The Smiths, 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 is 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.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license