Since forming in 2004, Lake Street Dive have matched their sophisticated musicianship with a fearless refusal to limit their sound. As shown on their most recent full-length album, 2021’s critically acclaimed Obviously, the Boston-bred band also possess a keen talent for combining sociopolitical commentary with immediately catchy pop gems. With their current lineup comprised of founding members Rachael Price (vocals), Bridget Kearney (bass), and Michael Calabrese (drums) — as well as keyboardist/vocalist Akie Bermiss and touring guitarist James Cornelison — Lake Street Dive continue to create joyously soulful rock & roll with equal parts ingenuity, intelligence, and irresistible abandon.
Although a certain spirited eclecticism has defined Lake Street Dive since their earliest days, the band’s four original members (including former guitarist/trumpet player Michael “McDuck” Olson) first crossed paths while studying jazz at Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music. Their full-length debut In This Episode… arrived in 2007, followed by three more independently released and rapturously received albums. As the band’s energetic live show continued to earn them a devoted following, Lake Street Dive made their Nonesuch Records debut with Side Pony: a 2016 effort that instantly shot to No. 1 on three Billboard charts and later landed on Paste’s 50 Best Albums of 2016 list. The following year, the group experienced a new infusion of creative energy with the addition of Bermiss (previously their touring keyboardist), who has since begun sharing writing and arrangement duties. Arriving in 2018, Lake Street Dive’s selfproduced sixth album Free Yourself Up debuted in the top ten on the Billboard 200 and spent seven-and-a-half months on the non-commercial radio charts, with the smoldering hit single “Good Kisser” holding steady in the top five at Americana radio for over a month.
In recent years, Lake Street Dive have brought even more boldness to their kaleidoscopic sound while deliberately expanding their songcraft. To that end, Obviously finds the band examining such complex matters as gender inequality (on “Being a Woman”) and the monumental challenges faced by younger generations (on “Making Do”), shaping each track with a profound intentionality and ineffable mastery of melody and groove — a process Price refers to as “putting these messages into three and a half minute snippets, dropping whatever truth we can and hoping it’s the type of thing that people want to ruminate on.” Made with producer Mike Elizondo (Fiona Apple, Mary J. Blige), the result is an endlessly illuminating body of work that’s earned praise from the likes of Rolling Stone (who noted that “[a]t a moment when pop strives for lo-fi, solitary-world intimacy, the jazz-pop-whatever band refuse to think small”).
Last fall, to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their first covers EP, Lake Street Dive released Fun Machine: The Sequel, a 6-track EP of cover songs produced by Robin MacMillan and recorded at Figure 8 Recording in Brooklyn and Lucy’s Meat Market in Los Angeles. This new collection of songs reveals what makes the group so unique and their curations so special. Lake Street Dive don’t just inhabit these interpretations; they knock the walls down, re-finish the floors, and on some of them add a new room or two — it’s a way to both acknowledge their inspirations while also advancing their own musical foundation, inspiring a new generation of fans along the way. And as always, it’s their signature combination of immaculate musicianship, exceptional, inventive chops, and free-wheeling, playful sense of fun and originality leading the way.
Over the years, they’ve captivated massive audiences at such esteemed festivals as Newport Folk Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and Toronto Jazz Festival, in addition to headlining tours all across the globe and sharing stages with acts like Brandi Carlile and Sheryl Crow. And through their fierce commitment to constantly elevating their artistry, Lake Street Dive have ultimately emerged as one of the most compelling voices in alternative music today, both reliably sublime and thrilling unpredictable.