Album preview: Lake Street Dive, 'Side Pony'

Lake Street Dive - 'Side Pony'
Lake Street Dive's new record 'Side Pony' is available Feb. 19. (Album art / Nonesuch)

Side Pony takes its name from a song on the record that refers to a whimsical hairstyle, but it also serves as a metaphor for Lake Street Dive's philosophy and personality as a band. As bassist Bridget Kearney puts it, "When we were settling on the album title, that one just stuck out to us as embodying the band's spirit. We've always been this somewhat uncategorizable, weird, outlying, genre-less band. That's the statement we wanted to make with this record: be yourself."

Guitarist - and Minneapolis native - Michael "McDuck" Olson echoes her sentiment: "It has also come to mean anything you're doing for the sheer joy of it. We have always 'rocked our side pony.' Now we have a convenient phrase for it."

Producer David Cobb's working method was to keep the recording fast and loose, as live-in-the-studio as possible, and to embrace the unorthodox. This provided Lake Street Dive with a welcome challenge: an opportunity to experiment with sound and arrangements and to collaborate on songwriting in a way the band had never attempted before.

Michael Calabrese, the band's drummer, says of the recording process, "Dave's process was mercurial, changing direction quickly, going from 'we don't have anything' to 'we've got it!'" He continues, "We weren't always so sure. But then we'd listen to a comp and we'd agree that he'd heard something we hadn't."

Singer Rachel Price adds, "It was great to see, through this particular recording process, how beautifully our individual strengths complement each other."

The members of Lake Street Dive met in 2004 as students at Boston's New England Conservatory of Music. Though they were all studying jazz, their work together was informed by their love of classic pop, particularly from the '60s, including the Beatles, the Supremes, Dusty Springfield, and the Beach Boys. The band was named after any number of the watering holes on Minneapolis's famed Lake Street.

Lake Street Dive performs March 10, 2016 at First Avenue with openers The Suffers. This show is sold out.

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