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Lake Street Dive: 'Portraits' Of Heartache

Lake Street Dive is powered by the voice of Rachel Price; it's what hits you first when you listen to this quartet. It's a ringingly clear, strong voice, a sound that's at once beseeching and in control. Price regularly harmonizes with the other members of Lake Street Dive — bassist Bridget Kearney, drummer Mike Calabrese and Mike Olson, who also plays guitar and trumpet. But most of the songs on Bad Self Portraits are showcases for Price's surging vocals.

When Lake Street Dive performed "You Go Down Smooth" amidst all the big stars T-Bone Burnett had gathered for his Inside Llewyn Davis tribute concert, it provoked cheers. The song, like much of Lake Street Dive's material, looks to the past — in this case, a driving pop-soul '60s sound. One thing that raised Lake Street Dive's profile was a YouTube video of the group performing the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" on a Boston street. It's racked up more than a million views, popular for the way it not only displays the group's talent, but also frames it as something both spontaneous and studied, a throwback to doo-wop groups crooning on street corners. This is the kind of thing that plays to the least interesting thing about Lake Street Dive: the privileging of technique over originality, the domestication of music that was once more unruly. You can sometimes hear this on Lake Street Dive's original material, in a song such as "Rabid Animal," which is catchy but hardly embodies the fervid intensity implied by rabidness.

Price also has a career as a jazz vocalist, performing with musicians such as Joshua Redman and T.S. Monk. And she's released solo albums that include interpretations of standards like "Skylark" and "Serenade in Blue." There's a mood to this music that Lake Street Dive occasionally captures in a song such as Bridget Kearney's composition "Better Than."

When you look at YouTube videos of Lake Street Dive performing covers such as The Mamas and the Papas' version of "Dedicated to the One I Love," what you get is not a fresh interpretation of a song initially made famous by the 5 Royales and the Shirelles, but rather a very nice Mamas and the Papas impersonation. But enough times on this album to make it worth your while, Lake Street Dive powers past nicety to connect with the passion that brings blood and sweat to the tears that heartache songs need in order to thrive.

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NPR

A Glimpse Of Listeners' #NPRpoetry — From The Punny To The Profound

It was a simple idea: Would you, our listeners, tweet us poems for National Poetry Month? Your response contained multitudes — haiku, lyrics, even one 8-year-old's ode to her dad's bald spot.
WAMU 88.5

Eating Insects: The Argument For Adding Bugs To Our Diet

Some say eating insects could save the planet, as we face the potential for global food and protein shortages. It's a common practice in many parts of the world, but what would it take to make bugs more appetizing to the masses here in the U.S.? Does it even make sense to try? A look at the arguments for and against the practice known as entomophagy, and the cultural and environmental issues involved.

WAMU 88.5

A Federal Official Shakes Up Metro's Board

After another smoke incident and ongoing single tracking delays for fixes, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx announced a shake-up of Metro's board.

NPR

'The Guardian' Launches New Series Examining Online Abuse

A video was released this week where female sports journalists were read abusive online comments to their face. It's an issue that reaches far beyond that group, and The Guardian is taking it on in a series called "The Web We Want." NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with series editor Becky Gardiner and writer Nesrine Malik, who receives a lot of online abuse.

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