Lake Street Dive

As a band, Lake Street Dive epitomizes democracy in action: the group, expanded into a quintet since touring keyboardist Akie Bermiss officially joined in 2017, share writing and arrangement duties. Their personalities, skills, and wide-ranging taste in pop, rock, R&B, and jazz have long blended together to make an impressively cohesive sound, both sophisticated and playful, combining retro influences with contemporary attitude. On its most recent Nonesuch album, 2018's Free Yourself Up, the band even produced the record itself.

But, after being on the road for nearly eighteen months since that album, the band members decided they could use some outside help. They had been writing, swapping demos, and rehearsing before and after soundchecks or in backstage green rooms and had amassed a wealth of new material, full songs, and sketches. With more than three dozen new songs and the desire to make a concise, vinyl-length album, they turned to Mike Elizondo, the producer-songwriter-multi- instrumentalist whom Lake Street Dive fans might remember as music director of Chris Thile's public radio series, Live From Here. The Grammy Award-winning Elizondo is perhaps best known as a songwriting collaborator of Dr. Dre, Eminem, and 50 Cent, but he has also served as a record producer for Fiona Apple, Mary J. Blige, Carrie Underwood, and 21 Pilots, among many others. He is as conversant in jazz as in rock, country, bluegrass, and hip hop -- exactly the sort of genre-juggling guy who would appreciate Lake Street Dive's own versatility.

"Throughout our recording projects, our frame of reference has come from classic rock and '70s AM gold," explains McDuck. "But in terms of modern production aesthetics, no one is getting it right more than hip hop. There are a lot of great rock and roll records too, but there are aesthetic choices that we, as a rock band, always struggled with when it came time to mix. So, it was great to work with someone as musically omnivorous as Mike [Elizondo], who's had all that success and fluency in the hip hop world but can also hang when it came time to talk about double bass."

Choosing an album title was organic as well. Price says, "Naming our albums has always been a painstaking process. Obviously is the first word in the song 'Hypotheticals' -- an undeniable dance track, a great way to say, 'We are back!' We went through a couple of title iterations, then one day we were like 'Obviously -- let's call the record Obviously.' It was -- in a word -- obviously the right one."