Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Spirited and varied blues genius from The Black Keys

The Black Keys are back. You may recall my mix post from late last year when I wrote up the Keys. I have been a fan for a long time and I was so excited by their last album, “Attack and Release.” They had invited other musicians into the studio with them so the music had more instruments and the songwriting was as good as on any of their previous releases. I was interested to see where they went from such a high water mark.

This is a picture of the album cover.

On the new album, “Brothers,” The Black Keys moved back to a slightly more stripped down sound, though there are some keyboards and other instruments to be found on the album. The songwriting, amazingly, continues to improve. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney – the band’s only two members – have grown adept at turning minimalist grooves into compelling songs. There is still plenty of frenetic playing by Auerbach and Carney almost makes the drums bleed on a few tracks. Still, there are several songs that are barely more than a Johnny beat, vamped chords, and a simple melody, but they are so cunningly assembled that each has you bobbing your head or drumming on your thighs.

The Keys continue to expand their sound. It amazes me that a two-piece blues outfit is able to master such a wide variety of styles that still have blues at their heart. I would guess that part of the credit goes to returning producer Danger Mouse, who worked with them on “Attack and Release.” I’ve been through the album just a few times now and I’m only starting to sort out my favorites, but here are 5 definite winners.

  • Everlasting Light – The simplicity of this groove is a credit to both men. I could see members of a two-piece band feeling like they have to play their butts off all the time, but Carney’s percussion sits comfortably in the pocket and Auerbach just vamps along on guitar. The strength of the vocal hook and lyrics makes this a great opener.
  • Next Girl – I don’t want to take anything away from this song, because it has fat, dirty guitar, powerful drumming, and brilliant lyrics, but this video is pretty damn funny.
  • She’s Long Gone – This is the classic Keys sound. Carney pounds out a driving beat and Auerbach lays it down on guitar while delivering a soulful song of loss and longing.
  • The Only One – Auerbach sings this smoky melody is a breathy falsetto, which is a rare thing for him. Again, the instrumentation is simple, but the songwriting is so strong.
  • Unknown Brother – This is a cool and moving song honoring unknown soldiers who are war casualties.

They just played Nautica Pavilion here in Cleveland this past Saturday but I had to miss the show. A friend who attended said all 5000 people were blown away. I’ve seen them before and they do put on a tremendous show. See them if you can.



July 27, 2010 - Posted by | Blues, Rock


  1. This is a blog post about The Black Keys.

    Nautica show was amazing! I was absolutely blown away. I’m obsessed with this album. They played a few off Brothers & they rocked!

    You gotta put Sinister Kid on your ipod.

    Great write up man.

    Comment by Jenn | July 28, 2010 | Reply

    • Yeah, I like that one a lot and I almost wrote it up. So far I haven’t removed any of this album from my iPod.

      Comment by MissedMusic | July 29, 2010 | Reply

      • WHOA! A whole album on you ipod? Damn

        Comment by ken | July 29, 2010

  2. Sweet. Have you seen the video for Tighten Up?

    Comment by Jenn | July 29, 2010 | Reply

  3. Usually, I sort them first and rip the ones I really like, but for these guys I threw it all on and will pull something off if I don’t dig it. I still haven’t pulled anything.

    Comment by MissedMusic | July 30, 2010 | Reply

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