Of Lake Street Dive and Nachos

We’ve all heard it said, at some time or another, about a great bar, or a vintage clothing store, or a hole-in-the-wall diner that serves the best nachos in town: “this city’s best-kept secret.” You might think it’s a good thing in the case of the bar, because you like quiet bars, or the nacho restaurant, if you believe the quality of nachos is inversely proportional to the number of people who eat them. But I’ve come to believe that most of the time, secrets are bad, and people should stop keeping them.

Especially in the case of Lake Street Dive, Boston’s—and now New York’s—most stupidly-kept secret.

I say this not to gripe but to urge you to listen to, to get to know, to learn to love, Lake Street Dive. This is a band with the heart of a poet, a soul full of soul, and a very big vocabulary. They sing songs with lines like “Feels good to be over you/But it felt good to be under you/So maybe it’s just you that feels good.” They have a trumpet and a double bass. They can write a hook worthy of Michael Jackson’s hiccupping falsetto, the Beatles’ Liverpudlian-tinged harmonies, and Stevie Wonder’s silky wail. They are sexy and a little bit nerdy. They make me want to dance—and I don’t dance.

They’ve also, incidentally, just released Lake Street Dive Live at the Lizard Lounge, a live album and concert film (filmed and produced by my buddy Greg Liszt). It’s fifty-two minutes and thirty-four seconds of the most exquisite unpopular pop music you’ve ever heard. Lake Street Dive has two previously-released studio albums, and both suffered from a lack of adequate funding and the inevitable problem of not-living-up-to-the-live-shows. Now, finally, there’s Live at the Lizard Lounge, which not only captures the raw energy of a Lake Street Dive concert, but sounds phenomenal. Bridget Kearney’s bass comes through full and sonorous, Mike Olson’s trumpet purrs like it’s alive, Mike Calabrese sounds like the ten drummers he always does, and Rachael Price’s voice, powerful and close, will make you wonder why Adele is getting all the attention.

So check out the trailer, and then do yourself a favor and download the real thing. (For $9.99 you get the mp3s for your iTunes and videos for your computer and your iPhone.) Trust me, it goes down real smooth.

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