I was just looking at the bio for LAKE and trying to pin down the year that I would have seen them, and it seems that it has to have been their second or third year together. They formed in 2005-6 in Olympia, WA, and I probably saw them in 2007 or 2008 in Ana Cortes, WA, at the Department of Safety, a DIY venue/art space. They played as Karl Blau’s backup band and then he played on their set as well.
Rad Racket and Grandchildren played at the same show (at the time I was only in Rad Racket), which was a very different sound than Karl Blau, LAKE, and most of the other bands that were playing that night. The vibe at the DoS was definitely a bit more earthy and (and I don’t mean this in a bad way, but I can’t think of how to say it differently) hippie-ish than what we were generally used to at the time. But this is also a quality that’s inherent in that area of the US, and in a much more earnest and unconscious way than the neo-hippies one would find elsewhere.
As someone whose first show was Phish in 1994 at the age of 13 and who lived through the entire coming and going of the jam scene with occasional forays to shows such as Deep Banana Blackout, Ray’s Music Exchange, and Jazz Mandolin Project, I’m quite familiar with the development of the neo-hippie culture, although I kind of opted out of it as things started to get really over-flooded. So there were no String Cheese Incident or Leftover Salmon shows for this pre-journalist. The scene at DoS, and in a lot of the Pacific Northwest in general, differs in a way where that aspect is more the base of how people are there, rather than an affected trend. Or at least that’s my view of the matter.
I know that I was personally a bit curious to see how people would react to Rad Racket’s noisiness and harshness, but figured that Grandchildren would go over fine. Semi-surprisingly, what we found was a very genuine acceptance from the crowd and the other bands, and also found genuine enjoyment in the other bands’ laid back, poppy styles with Blau bringing a bit of white-boy funk to the table. The mix was dichotic, but comfortable.
The same feeling transcends into listening to LAKE’s newest album, Giving and Receiving. There’s something more poppy, a little dancy and a little easy listening about it, compared to what I tend to listen to. But at the same time, I find it pleasantly soothing, well-crafted and -recorded, and in particular I really appreciate the lyrics. Along those stylistic lines, the bands I do listen to regularly are Air, New Buffalo, and Stereolab. Although in terms of sonic similarities, I’d only use Stereolab to compare LAKE to, and in that case only a couple songs.
The rest of LAKE’s songs seem to stem from artists I don’t listen to. I’m just going to pull a quote by K Records off of the band’s page on their website, since it says what I mean: “The sounds they craft are straight from the playbook of the good parts of Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, and Turkish psychedelic music. Caressing the Rhodes piano, endearing drum fills, guitars that don’t sound like guitars, and some slamming bass lines: listening to LAKE is like pouring sugar in your ears. They’ll turn your brain into chocolate, 67% cacao.”
If we’re going to go with food metaphors here, the most prominent image that comes to mind to represent the relationship between the music I listen to and my brain is the Skeksi feeding scene from The Dark Crystal. But hey, I would venture to guess that even Skeksis have a sweet tooth from time to time.Visit: LAKE | K Records
Purchase: Insound | eMusic