Welcome back to Takeover Tuesday, where each week Billboard taps chart-topping artists and taste-makers to compile their very own playlist exclusive to Billboard. We give the artists free reign to base the list on whatever subject they choose. The only rule? Make it as creative and unique to them as possible.
This week, we had X Ambassadors curate a playlist that hits home for them — literally. This weekend (Sept. 22 and 23), the rock group is bringing good tunes and good times to their hometown of Ithaca, New York, with their inaugural Cayuga Sound festival, which they curated themselves and have been looking forward to for some time.
Announcing the lineup in March, X Ambassadors will be headlining and invited their friends K.Flay, The Roots, Tei Shi, Jukebox the Ghost, The Knocks and several other artists to take part in their first-ever fest.
When we were kids growing up in Ithaca, it was always so exciting to hear when musicians we loved were coming to tour through our town. It always felt so special — like they’d decided to come play just for us. But more often than not, the artists that we wanted to see wouldn’t bother coming through Ithaca, and we would have to drive hours and hours out of the way to see any show. And I’d think to myself WHY NOT??? Ithaca is one of the most beautiful, vibrant, welcoming cities in the country. And we LOVE music. So as kids, we decided to put on our own shows and make our own noise which eventually led us to where we are now. Now, 11 years after we left town, we’re bringing that noise back to where it all started. @cayugasound is the music festival we dreamed of as kids in Ithaca. Eclectic, cutting edge, and daring musicians from all over the world, all sharing the stage together. In our hometown. In our backyard. We are so incredibly excited to be curating this new festival and to be able to put a spotlight on our city.
“We wanted the lineup for Cayuga Sound to be very diverse and eclectic; not only to reflect our own tastes and musical influences, but to reflect the broadening spectrum of music we’re ALL listening to on a daily basis,” the band tells Billboard in a statement. “Pop music co-exists side-by-side with Indie Rock, Hip-hop with Country, R&B with Folk, etc. The cross-pollination we’ve witnessed over the last decade-plus — not only in the way we consume music, but in the way it’s made too — is incredibly inspiring for us, a band who has always tried to stay outside the bounds of genre.”
But while they feature some recognizable names from various genres, the X Ambassadors guys also wanted to highlight local talent from Ithaca and surrounding upstate areas. “After we moved away in 2006, there was a bit of a musical renaissance that happened in Ithaca– a vibrant DIY scene emerged, along with the local music collective Ithaca Underground,” they explain. “We are proud and honored to have come from a town that nurtures creativity like the Ithaca community does, and who allow their artists to be as weird and adventurous as they want to be.”
To show just how proud they are of what they’ve put together, X Ambassadors shared a playlist of their favorite songs from some of the artists playing the festival. Check them out below.
X Ambassadors – “Ahead Of Myself”
The Roots – “Water”
K.Flay – “High Enough”
Tei Shi – “Keep Running”
Margaret Glaspy – “Emotions and Math”
The Knocks – “Heat” feat. Sam Nelson Harris
Jukebox The Ghost – “Undeniable You”
Savoir Adore – “Giants”
Crush Club – “Louder”
Sammus – “1080p” feat. Jean Grae
Izzy True – “Cruel Kings”
Imperials – “I Do It For You(r Money)”