Lake Street Dive

Photo credit: Big Hassle

From the halls of New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts comes Lake Street Dive, an explosive and eclectic band that blends aspects of various genres for a unique and flavorful sound. This group has seen an incredible amount of attention and excitement over the past couple years, and with good reason; they are truly fantastic.

Lake Street Dive was created in 2004, when guitarist/trumpeter Mike Olson assembled some of his fellow students for a new musical project. He gathered singer Rachael Price, bassist Bridget Kearney, and drummer Mike Calabrese and the four began to play together. The group of talented musicians, who have stated that they would be playing traditional jazz if they were not a part of the band, found the results to be something totally unexpected.

In 2005, the band, named after a street in Olson’s hometown that was lined with dive bars, played and submitted a song for the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. They won the contest and were awarded an opportunity to record their debut album, in this episode… that was released a year later. This album did not garner them an incredible amount of fame or recognition, but at this point, that wasn’t the band’s goal. They were each in other bands and were not all fully invested in Lake Street Dive. Not yet. That all would change very soon.

Lake Street Dive signed with Signature Sounds Recordings, a small independent record label based in central Massachusetts and in 2011, they released Lake Street Dive. This self-titled album solidified their signature sound. The album is a beautiful mix of blues, pop, and rock. You can listen to each song and find yourself dancing to the upbeat grooves, singing along with Price’s hauntingly powerful vocals, and analyzing deep and meaningful lyrics. There are fun hooks with lyrics reminiscent of Beatles songs and inflections of R&B interlaced with pop. Check this album out. From “Hello? Goodbye!” to the very end it does not disappoint. You will be hooked.

By the next year, the four members decided to fully commit themselves to Lake Street Dive. They quit their other bands and began rehearsing and touring together on a regular basis. In 2013, they played over 150 shows in more than 120 different cities around the world. It is clear that Lake Street Dive has perfected their game when it comes to playing live.

In February of 2014, Lake Street Dive released Bad Self Portraits. In my opinion, this album blows their previous one straight out of the water. It is just excellent. Price’s vocals have never been better and each song’s musical construction allows them stand individually and together as an album. Olson’s guitar backs up Price’s voice so perfectly as he fills the role of both lead and rhythm guitarist while Kearney and Calabrese hold down the rhythm section in such tight chemistry. My personal favorite songs are “Stop Your Crying”, “You Go Down Smooth”, and “Bobby Tanqueray”. Be sure to give this album a full listen. I fell in love with it the moment I heard it.

Lake Street Dive is touring around the country to support Bad Self Portraits. Don’t miss them when they come to your city. They are gaining fame and popularity very quickly so don’t let a show sell out without buying a ticket first! If you want to see some cool videos of them, take a look at their YouTube page. The band does some amazing covers, especially of Michael Jackson’s “I Want You Back”. In addition, watch their interview and performance on The Colbert Report. And finally, yes, that is Rachel Price singing the national anthem at the baseball game in the show House of Cards! Their brand of British-invasion rock with jazzy influences is truly unique. Lake Street Dive is a powerhouse act that demands the attention of the room, a band that should not be discounted and will soon be a recognizable name for any music fan.

By David Cooper

Bonus Material:

Beautiful cover of "Rich Girl"