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Lake Street Dive jumps right into classic pop singles on 'Fun Machine' EP

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Society always celebrates the records that top the Billboard 200 album chart. Back of The Billboards is a Music Times weekly segment that looks at the opposite end: the new record that finished closest to the back of the Billboard 200 for the previous week. We hope to give a fighting chance to the bands you haven't heard of.

Week of 11/15/2013

WHO: Lake Street Dive

WHAT: Fun Machine EP

SPOT: 187

Lake Street Dive's Fun Machine EP isn't new by any stretch, but an appearance on The Colbert Report last Wednesday inspired enough buyers to propel the record onto the Billboard 200 for the first time. The jazz-pop group will debut a totally new album-Bad Self Portraits-on February 18, but Fun Machine might be a better option for warming new listeners up to Lake Street's style.

Lake Street Dive is jazz in the sense that it features an instrumental front consisting typically of trumpet, upright bass and drums. Rachael Price's vocals fit the part, but still draw in wary pop fans with her soulful enunciation. If you still aren't sold, Fun Machine helps by repackaging popular songs for a less populist crowd. George Michael, The Jackson 5, Hall & Oates, The Drifters and Paul McCartney make songwriting appearances on the EP.

All of the song choices make sense, and some work even better than the originals. If Michael had recorded "Faith" with the group during 1987, it might have aged better. Price's voice might just be more timeless than Michaels', but the bass plucking from Bridget Kearney and Mike Olson's trumpet solo revitalizes the original track's quiet raucous.

And, if you really need it, Olson breaks down and busts out a regular ol' guitar for Lake Street's cover of McCartney's "Let Me Roll It."

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