IVY and algorithmic suggestion engines

I let the Spotify Discover Weekly suggest it’s ass off every week to see what gems it mines. I then proceed to like things and ignore the rest. I don’t dislike things, but press “like” only to see what Spotify can discover.
And as a result I’ve found some things are coming up over and over again (some obscure, one hit wonder types like Syd Barrett, Wesley Willis, Silver Apples, etc.) But occasionally there’s a mainstream/underrated/under-promoted band I never heard of that bears a resemblance to a more well know band I really like.

Computers! They have the monopoly on the back catalog of every record producer and publisher no matter who they might be. So I got exposed last week to a guy named Vini Reilly (a longtime presence on the music scene in Manchester UK) and his band The Durutti Column. I got very distracted and short-term obsessed finding interviews on YouTube. I learned for the first time that Vini Reilly produced Morissey’s first solo effort Viva Hate, but got “0 credit” on the album or in the music press or in the awards shows over the years. Vini Reilly is by his own retelling the guy that saved this record project for Morissey and put his heart and soul into producing and actually writing a large number of tracks on that album. Had I only known that back in ’87/’88 I would have bought every Durutti Column record/CD I could lay my hands on. But too late, know I can just dabble/sample all day long on Spotify.

Which leads me to this week’s big rabbit hole discovery, and band from NYC called simply: IVY. And I found a whole live performance at a dive bar in Philly called Pontiac Grille (probably not unlike bug jar in Rochester for all I know): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJ5-uOkZTEY
The singer, Dominique Durand, came to the U.S. met up with other found members of the band and started IVY around 1994, or so (similar in some ways to Stereolab give or take a year). So that’s not where the similarity ends, they have a kind of Euro-pop, minor chord wistfulness that is in a lot of Stereolab tracks, along with some harmonies and keyboards. Had I only known about IVY when I was at Art School. I would have bought their whole back catalog on CD. Instead I was fixated on listening to really old R.E.M. and deciphering Michael Stipe’s non-sense word salads from pre-Document days. I could have been listening to Stereolab and IVY that whole time instead.

I mention algorithmic recommendation engines in the subject line because I read down through ALL the comments from that YouTube performance at the Pontiac Grille in Philly. People were reminiscing how THEY discovered IVY. And one guy was saying GrooveShark recommended them back in 2013 or something. Another guy mentioned he got a Pandora recommendation in 2015. So the algorithm engines work, people really do like these bands they never heard about when they were active. Which is sad ‘cuz they coulda had a bigger audience back inna day and wouldn’t have struggled as much getting noticed. Makes me sad they were overlooked, but you can’t help it, that’s the brutality of the commercial music engine.






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