Thievery Corporation ‘Saudade’ Transcends and Transports

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Words by Amelia Viner

It’s dusk. The sun sits on the skyline and its glow radiates on the water. You watch the sun sink into the horizon from your chair as you tap your strappy tan heels on the restaurant’s cobble stone. The bartender hands you a Caipirinha and you sip it slowly, drumming your fingertips on the glass, still looking at the sunset.

You stand up and close your eyes, start to sway–maybe because you’re tipsy, but mostly because “Décollage” by Thievery Corporation has just come on. It streams into the outdoor space like a soft rain and you can’t help but drift with it. You let the gentle French phrases by Lou Lou Ghelichkani, the humidity, and the sweet drink carry you into a calming trance as you glide past the gleaming bodies to the dance floor.

Saudade, Thievery Corporation’s seventh studio album, has the power to transport you here– to a Brazilian city you may have never been to, yet may feel more comforting than anywhere you’ve ever been or dreamt of. Saudade’s strings and Latin claves blend with the gentle hum of the restaurant; the clinking of wine glasses and plates combine to create a spontaneous live accompaniment. And that drink in your hand, the Caipirinha, is one of Brazil’s cultural symbols. It is constantly being reinvented with varying ingredients. Just as the sum of its parts can morph into something new yet preserve its authenticity, so too can Thievery Corporation’s blended sound revisit its first love in Saudade: bossa nova.

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Album Review: Lake Street Dive – ‘Bad Self Portraits’

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Words by Amelia Viner

In this dangerously charming medley of pop rock, soul, and folk jazz, Lake Street Dive concocts a spirited brew of love’s fruits and afflictions. Bad Self Portraits is the band’s second full-length album after their 2011 self-titled debut and their 2012 EP, Fun Machine, a collection of cover songs.

Rachael Price’s distinct jazz vocal stands out immediately. Timeless and almost overpowering at first, her vocal performance is rich with conviction and a fiery pizazz which makes it impossible to pull away.

Bad Self Portraits appeals to our untamed, feisty sides with uptempo pulses and pop-heavy shimmy shakes. In their first ever TV performance on The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert describes Lake Street Dive as a mix of “pop, jazz, and swing with a little bit of bluegrass.” While spritely, Bad Self Portraits also caters to our weary, love-ridden souls with its ooohs and ahhhs, occasionally exhaling into bluesy, contemplative sighs.

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