If it’s not from New Orleans, I really do not appreciate jazz. It just does not speak to me. I have studied it and learned the basics of its subtleties and influences, but I am just not into jazz. I do have a guilty pleasure to which I will admit, though: I love a great pop song–not an over-produced piece of electronic marvels, but good old dance-able pop. I often refer to this type of music as my “running music,” but truth be told, I listen to it in the car, too, especially on road trips. Don’t tell anyone. Evidently, I am not the only roots music fan who has a soft spot for quirky pop: someone on the selection committee for the Americana Music Festival 2011 did, too, and thankfully, that is how I discovered Lake Street Dive at The Basement.

Lake Street Dive formed when four jazz students at the New England Conservatory, an elite music university, hung out and goofed off with instrumentation and writing. Not their primary focus for a long time, Lake Street Dive’s sound meandered until they found a funky groove, with soulful vocals from Rachael Price, electric guitar and trumpet from Mike Olson, drums by Mike Calabrese, and upright bass by Bridget Kearney. The unusual combination surprised even these young, but seasoned, musicians, and they kept playing the same clubs over and over refining their sound until it clicked.

Bound by a love for much of the same music and deep friendships with each other, Lake Street Dive forges a unique, but not disjointed, sound. As each album refines who they are, some success comes in waves, with a cover song EP in May 2012 and a new studio album happening over the next year (which they had just confirmed the morning of our conversation). On the surface, Lake Street Dive does not match any of my typical music tastes–and I notably detest cover songs–but even their version of “Rich Girl” (written by Darryl Hall of Hall & Oates) captivates me. To fully appreciate Lake Street Dive, you must see them live. At the very least, check out their live DVD, Live from the Lizard Lounge, currently available┬ádigitally from their website. I only half-jokingly tweeted from their Americana showcase that Lake Street Dive should be sponsored by Trojans….



Songs in this Radio Episode Include:

  • “Henriette,” “Miss Disregard,” and “Elijah” from Lake Street Dive
  • “Bridge Over Troubled Water” Simon and Garfunkel (discussion of vocal harmony and influential music)
  • “Andy Warhol” David Bowie (from conversation about the Hunky Dory album)
  • “Rich Girl” Hall and Oates (finding the joy in pop music, also one LSD often covers)
  • “Aunt Betsy” Joy Kills Sorrow (bassist and songwriter Bridget Kearney’s other band)
  • “Ain’t No Sunshine” Bill Withers
  • “Nowhere Man” The Beatles (previous discussion about vocal harmonies, but also because of comment about the right producer helping a band achieve more than they can on their own)
  • One from next week’s episode, Neal Casal’s “Bird With No Name”