Playing on the Black Keys

The Black Keys From Akron, Ohio.  I’ve seen it on a plain black shirt and I want it.

It’s a simple statement of fact that pretty much sums up this band.  Two guys… vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer/producer Patrick Carney who are making some pretty amazing, kick ass music.  So yeah, it does take two to tango!

Not to get all defensive, but I was onto these guys before they were on most people’s radars.  That is not to say I was the first to enter their garage of rock/blues… Hardly… I came in, in between 2003’s Thickfreakness and 2004’s Rubber Factory before exploring all their stuff.

The Black Keys – Brothers

You’ll get the disgruntled fans who think this is too polished, or this and that, but this album kicks and does not take away from anything they’ve done at all.  Get a life, people.  Let bands mature and develop.  It does not ALWAYS mean a sell out.

The band was formed in Akron, Ohio and have put out six albums, with another new one coming out some time this year!  The brilliant Danger Mouse produced a track on this one, the very successful single “Tighten Up” as well as the entire album before it, Attack & Release.   The Boston Globe put it so well when describing that one… “Attack & Release proves that cleaning up the boys still won’t stop them from tracking mud all over the house.”  This is also a great response to those who think the band had lost their way when the success started!

Their first two albums were “recorded entirely in drummer Patrick Carney’s basement on an 8-track tape recorder from the early 1980s.”

This one was recorded “at the Muscle Shoals Odyssey Studio. There, they recorded 16 songs in 10 days.  The album was entirely produced by the band with the help of co-producer Mark Neill, except for the single “Tighten Up”, which was produced by Danger Mouse. The album name pays tribute to Auerbach’s and Carney’s years of friendship. Auerbach explained, “We love each other, we get on each other’s nerves, we piss each other off. But like brothers, we know it’s all OK.

(Yes, both from Wikipedia)

I like the purity and simplicity of the band, which is not to say the music is without depth… These guys know how to make a lot of great sounds.  They are in the vein of The White Stripes and My Morning Jacket, as far as contemporaries go, and count classic, rural blues like Howlin’ Wolf, T-Model Ford (whose musical career started in his 70s!!!) and Junior Kimbrough and artists like Jimi Hendrix as major influences.  They were in the midst of making a record with Ike Turner when he died.

Amazon describes them as a “heavy brew of seventies-vintage rock, classic R&B and timeless, downhearted blues.”

I describe them as some kick ass, rockin’, bluesy fun… and while that garage sound is pure and clean, the studio ain’t a bad place to be.

And yes, I will track down that t-shirt!





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Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me

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