Song of the Week: You Go Down Smooth, Lake Street Dive

Click here to listen to “You Go Down Smooth,” by Lake Street Dive

It goes a little against the whole point of this blog to talk about music that’s so new that it’s not even technically out yet, but I don’t mind breaking that rule for Lake Street Dive.

“You Go Down Smooth” is a great introduction to the group. They claim to be heavily influenced by both Motown and the British Invasion—a pretty trite remark coming from a lot of bands—but you can hear both elements here. The lightly distorted guitar and efficient drumming call to mind early Beatles or the Hollies, but the false ending and the horns that come in around the 2:28 mark owe a lot to mid-60s Detroit.

The real reason, though, why Lake Street Dive has blown me away is singer Rachael Price. Her alto is smooth and luscious with an impressive range. She doesn’t really have any of the huskiness of Adele’s or Amy Winehouse’s voices, though Price shares both women’s jazz-influenced delivery. Spider-fingered bassist Bridget Kearney and drummer Mike Calabrese provide bright back-up vocals to balance Price’s slightly dark timbre–like adding just a litte milk to your coffee.

This band is hands-down the most exciting thing I’ve heard in the past six months. They’re everything I want: a charismatic, experienced group of unsettlingly savvy musicians who are able to absorb the past sixty years of popular music and hip-check it out of orbit just enough to make it theirs.

Lake Street Dive’s new album, Bad Self Portraits, comes out on Tuesday the 18th. You need to go out and buy it.

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