Known for their playful, cross-pollinated blend of neo-soul and pop/rock, Lake Street Dive have built a loyal fan base, weaving in elements of jazz, folk, and funk. Showcasing vocalist Rachael Price, Lake Street Dive emerged from Boston's New England Conservatory in the mid-2000s and drew early praise for their exuberant live shows and inventive original songs. They garnered further buzz with their 2012 covers EP Fun Machine, reinterpreting songs by George Michael, Hall & Oates, and the Jackson 5. The band's sound furthered gelled on 2014's Bad Self Portraits, which cracked the Top 20 of the Billboard 200. 2016's Side Pony brought even more attention, landing on top of three Billboard charts, including Top Rock Albums, Folk Albums, and Alternative Albums.
Formed in 2004, Lake Street Dive features singer Rachael Price, guitarist/trumpeter Mike "McDuck" Olson, bassist Bridget Kearney, and drummer Mike Calabrese. The group originally met while they were all students at Boston's prestigious New England Conservatory. However, prior to joining the band, Price (daughter of composer and conductor Tom Price) had already gained notice for her jazz singing. On her own, she released several independent albums and earned accolades, including reaching the semi-finals of the 2004 Thelonious Monk Institute Vocal Competition. Naming themselves after an infamous street known for its numerous "dive bars" in Olson's hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Lake Street Dive initially bonded over their love of jazz, soul, and country music. Combining their shared influences into an arty melange, they issued two independently produced albums with 2007's In This Episode... and 2008's Promises, Promises.
After singing with Signature Records, they released a self-titled effort in 2011. However, it was with 2012's Fun Machine EP that the group really started to grab national attention. Featuring their imaginative cover versions of songs like Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" and Hall & Oates' "Rich Girl," Fun Machine caught on online, spotlighting the group's spirited, organic knack for soulful pop. After an exhaustive touring schedule that found Lake Street Dive playing hundreds of shows across the United States and around the globe, they followed up with 2014's full-length Bad Self Portraits. Featuring the wry "selfie"-referencing title track, the album hit number 18 on the Billboard 200.
In 2016, Lake Street Dive moved to Nonesuch Records, and released their fifth full-length album, the Dave Cobb-produced Side Pony. Named after bassist Kearney's preferred hairstyle, the album hit number one on three of Billboard's charts, including Alternative Albums chart, Top Rock Albums, Folk Albums, and peaked in the Top 30 of the Billboard 200. Coming off the road again, Lake Street Dive returned to the studio, and in 2018 delivered their sixth album and second for Nonesuch, Free Yourself Up. Self-produced in Nashville, Tennessee with engineer Dan Knobler, the album included the singles "Good Kisser" and "I Can Change." Also in 2018, they issued the EP Freak Yourself Out as part of Record Store Day. ~ Matt Collar