The X Ambassadors and opening act Tribe Society will hit the stage in the Schine Underground on Wednesday. Get to know the two bands before you rock out alongside them.
1. They’re locals
Three of the four band members are from Ithaca, New York, but drummer Adam Levin comes from Los Angeles. In true rock n’ roll fashion, the band formed together hoping to leave their small town and make it big. After years of practice and playing small shows, the X Ambassadors are working their way to the top.
2. They’re bringing rock back — sort of
The X Ambassadors combine indie rock music with a classic singer-songwriter style, along with mixes of electronic, hip-hop and a little bit of soul. There is a definite hip-hop presence on their new album VHS — tracks “Moving Day” and “First Gig” use a cinematic narrative, or interlude similar to those in hip-hop albums used by the likes of Dr. Dre, Eminem, De La Soul and countless others.
3. They’re labelmates with Imagine Dragons
Yes, Imagine Dragons band of “Radioactive” fame. The two bands have similar sounds though respectively distinct. Producer Alex Da Kid, the Imagine Dragon’s front man Dan Reynolds and band friend Dan Stringer helped produce the X Ambassadors’ 2013 EP Love Songs Drug Songs.
4. Keyboardist Casey Harris is blind
Harris has been blind since birth, and lead singer Sam at first refused to be in a band with his older brother. After a little push from his other band members, Sam gave up and now the group is killing it on the alternative charts.
5. Their sophomore album has been out since June — but you should still listen
By now you’ve probably heard the smash hit “Jungle” ft. Jamie N Commons on the Beats commercial, or “Renegades” on the Jeep Renegade commercial. The X Ambassadors are dominating alternative rock radio. Aside from “Renegades” and “Jungle,” give a listen to tracks “Unsteady,” “Gorgeous” and “Superpower.”
1. They’re mixing up their sound
Tribe Society by finding inspiration from the sounds of 80s synth pop and garage rock mixed with soul and hip-hop, the group is trying something completely new. Band member Bradford Alderman said in a Island Records press release that the group wants their music “to grab you and let you look at things in a way you may have never looked at them before.”
2. They cover everything from the Beatles to Young Thug
In early 2015 the band covered “Stoner” by Young Thug, the rising Atlanta rap star. It’s more of a reimagination than a cover — unlike the hard trap sound of the original, the track takes on an electro pop feel. In addition to the new hits they also have an appreciation for the classics — on their most recent mixtape Delirium Sonata the band covers the classic Beatles song “Here Comes the Sun."
3. They're not always about partying
The band prides itself on making introspective songs and lyrics with meaning. In an interview with Substream magazine, members Alderman and Seth Hachen talk about their projects and wanting to take “people deeper.” For example, their song “Ego” is described as a murder scene where one has just killed their ego and becomes aware of their crazy thoughts.
4. They're New York-based, but Massachusetts grown
Hailing from Boston, frontmen Alderman and Hachen eventually packed up and moved to the heart of New York City. Since they met almost a decade ago, they’ve developed a solid relationship, which is evident in their music making seeing as how it’s all a collaborative effort from each member.
Written by: Ibi Lagundoye