Okay, first off I just have to say that it is amazingly cool to have Rita Wilde commenting on your blog and telling you, you may have missed a good one. Not to be all fanny, but I love that woman… She is the very soul of Rock n’ Roll and a legendary voice of LA Rock Radio! It has been an honor getting to know you, Rita!
I think the issue on this album is that it did not come out until December 6th and I really wanted and needed a few listens… and then I just plain old got sidetracked… But hey, it’s the season of giving and maybe… maybe I am wrong sometimes… rarely… but sometimes.
I am kidding you know…
This one is for Rita!
The Black Keys – El Camino
Yes, this should have, at the very least made Honorable Mention on the year-end list. Sorry.
There is a simple black t-shirt that says “The Black Keys” and under it “Akron OH.” I am not from Ohio and I do not think I have ever been to Akron, but I love this shirt… I want this shirt… Hint, hint…
But more importantly it is the simplicity of this shirt that speaks volumes. This simplicity and understatement is a great metaphor for the band itself. The Black Keys… two guys… two instruments. Dan Auerbach on vocals and guitar and Patrick Carney on drums. Of course there is more to it than that, but these guys could survive on just that if hey needed to. They have since the band was formed in 2001.
It’s amazing what kind of great music this combo makes.
Thickfreakness was released in 2003, and was recorded in 14 hours in Carney’s basement. Not literally garage rock, but…
Rubber Factory, their third album, came out in 2004 and was recorded in an abandoned factory.
I love both of those records!
I get the White Stripes comparisons… makes sense on a lot of levels! And I am good with putting them in the same musical boat. I am also okay with throwing My Morning Jacket into the mix and discussion. They all definitely flow from the same musical vein. These guys may be a little more rough and tumble, though.
With El Camino there was a backlash on iTunes from those irate fans who expect a band to stay exactly the same as they did when they first started. If they experiment or move in a different direction, all hell breaks loose… This is ridiculous.
I get it on some level… we fall in love with something very specific and want the person or band to be the same exact ideal we were initially attracted to. But an artist’s job is to push and pull and go with wherever their musical muse takes them… Sometimes it will work, sometimes it won’t. But as long as a band is sticking to its core, let them push the envelope… let them grow and experiment and take us on a journey. We don’t need ten albums of the exact same thing.
This is their seventh album and sees Danger Mouse returning as a co-producer. Is it different? Yeah, it is… Is it good? Yeah, it really is.
As a band gets more successful they also gain access to technology, recording studios and different producers, etc. who will also push them and move them and get them to think and rock in different ways.
Get over it folks…
Yes, I like many others celebrate an artist’s return to their roots… This is true with my love of the new Paul Simon album. We celebrated his return to the “old Paul Simon.” That’s how we initially kissed and fell in love. We also define our artists in a very specific way and get nervous when they stray too far… but those divergent paths that go beyond the beaten footprints can open up some amazing roses to stop and smell.
This album has a lot of roses… “Little Black Submarines” is my favorite… So is the early released single “Lonely Boy”, the MMJ sounding “Dead and Gone” and “Gold On The Ceiling”.
So stop, take a moment and enjoy the flowers and the changing music foliage. This is one of the best albums of 2011.