Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats practically explodes with deep, primal and ecstatic soulfulness. This stunning work isn’t just soul stirring, it’s also soul baring, and the combination is absolutely devastating to behold. You don’t just listen to this record—you experience it. So it’s entirely fitting that the self-titled album will bear the iconic logo of Stax Records, because at certain moments Rateliff seems to be channeling soul greats like Otis Redding and Sam & Dave. But as this gifted multi-instrumentalist honors the legacy of the legendary Memphis label, he’s also setting out into audacious new territory.
Those who were beguiled by In Memory of Loss, Rateliff’s folky, bittersweet 2010 Rounder album, will be in for an initial shock when they spin Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. But when you delve beneath the rawboned surface of the new album’s wall-rattling presentation, with its deep-gut grooves, snaky guitars, churning Hammond and irresistible horns, you’ll find that same sensitive, introspective dude, who bravely tells it like it is, breaking through his reticence to expose often harsh truths about the life he’s lived, the people he’s hurt and the despair he’s struggled with. The difference between the two albums is that the Nights Sweats’ funkiness insulates the starkly confessional nature of Rateliff’s songs while at the same time underscoring their emotional extremes.
Lake Street Dive
Since Lake Street Dive's February 2016 release of Side Pony on Nonesuch Records the band has been a tour de force, hitting some major career milestones. They were invited to play at the White House, sold out 42 shows in 2016 throughout the United States and were musical guests on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Today Show. Lake Street Dive was featured on Chris Thile’s hosting debut of A Prairie Home Companion, among many other high points that include sold-out shows at the iconic venues like the Wang Theatre in Boston and Radio City Music Hall in New York.
The quartet’s live shows have been widely praised by publications such as Billboard, saying Lake Street Dive successfully combined “Amy Winehouse, Rita Hayworth and R&B charisma,” and Rolling Stone called their album Side Pony, produced by Grammy winner Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell) “irresistible.” Upon its release the album was #1 on the Alternative chart and #11 on the Billboard Album Sales chart.
The title 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.”