Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Attack & Release ... The Story of the Black Keys .. Show # 313

The Black Keys are a Blues and Rock based duo that formed in Akron, Ohio in 2001. The bands name was inspired by an Akron, Ohio artist who used the phrase "Black Keys" as an insult. Being very much a fixture in the underground music scene The Black Keys (which consisted of Dan Auerbach on guitar/vocals and Patrick Carney on drums) mixed elements of Blues, and Rock and Roll. The bands first album, The Big Come Up was released in 2002 on Alive Records. The album was recorded in the drummer (Patrick Carney's) basement on an old 1980s eight track tape recorder. Amongst the thirteen songs featured on the album there are elements of raunchy Blues, Garage Rock, Folk, Soul, and Funk. Two singles were released from this album "Leaving Trunk", which is a cover a traditional Blues song and "She Said, She Said" a Psychedelic song done originally by The Beatles. The album was well received and resulted in the band signing to Fat Possum at the end of 2002.

The bands next album was recorded in the very same fashion as The Big Come Up, on an old 1980s eight track tape recorder in Patrick Carney's basement. Thickfreakness, was recorded in one fourteen hour recording session and was released in April of 2003. The album title was inspired by a saying in Japan which means "Inazuma Rockin' Blues", the world "Inazuma" means "Flash of lightning". The album cover depicts two fingers removing a large amount of thick, yellowish cream from a red tin labeled "Thickfreakness". The music on the album continued the tradition that was started on the bands debut album The Big Come Up, mixing elements of Blues, and Garage Rock. One of the songs on this album "Midnight In Her Eyes" featured bass, which is not usually found on Black Keys songs, since they are a duo. The bass was recorded through a guitar amplifier by Dan Auerbach on a Guild SG styled bass. The band had three singles released from this album "Set You Free", "Hard Row", and a cover of the song "Have Love Will Travel". The song "Set You Free" was featured on the soundtrack to the 2003 film School of Rock, which garnered them some mainstream attention. Critics in the mainstream made constant comparisons in similarities found between The Black Keys sound and The White Stripes sound. This common misconception is an overgeneralization of the band. The two bands are duos and have Blues elements in their music, but do not sound identical. A split EP was released in September of 2003. The Six Parts Seven/The Black Keys EP featured three songs from the band Six Parts Seven, and three songs from The Black Keys.

In 2004, The Black Keys recorded their third full length album in an abandoned factory in Akron, Ohio. Like the first two albums, Rubber Factory was produced by drummer Patrick Carney. This album picked up on the momentum that started following the release of the bands second album, Thickfreakness. Songs from the album were featured on commercials for American Express, Victoria Secret, and in the movie Live Free or Die, The Go Getter, and Black Snake Moan A music video for the song "10 AM Automatic" featured comedian David Cross. The three singles released from this album "10 AM Automatic", "Till I Get My Way", and "Girl On My Mind". The music on this album had more a production based nature, but in a good way. The songs are exciting and are crafted in a way that makes this album a strong effort on the bands part. A Live DVD was release in 2005, entitled Live, and an EP was released titled Chulahoma: The Songs of Junior Kimbrough. The EP featured all cover songs of Blues songs originally done by Fat Possum artist Junior Kimbrough, who passed away in 1998. In 2006, The Black Keys released their first album for Nonesuch Records. Magic Potion was the first album by the band to feature all original compositions, previously on the bands albums there were always some cover songs. Magic Potion added some depth to the bands sound incorporating more moody and melodic elements. Of the three singles released for the album ("You're The One", "Your Touch", "Just Got To Be"), "Your Touch" would eventually be featured in the 2009 movie Zombieland, and the HBO TV series Eastbound and Down.

The bands next album Attack & Release was produced by Danger Mouse and was released in April of 2008. Initially the sessions for the album began as part of a collaboration with Ike Turner, but in 2007 he passed away before the album could be completed. According to Carney, some of the songs they recorded sounded similar to Screamin' Jay Hawkins. The band pushed forward with Danger Mouse producing and released an album that at the time was their most successful to date. Debuting at # 14 on the Billboard 200 album charts, this album produced three singles, "I Got Mine", "The Same Old Thing", and "Strange Times". Songs from this album reflected a deeper sound for the band, highlighting more moodier elements while still encompassing the same sound that the bands early records had. Several of the songs for the album were used in TV shows (The Vampire Diaries, One Tree Hill, Lie To Me, Big Love) and video games (Grand Theft Auto IV, NASCAR 09). A live DVD followed in 2008 (Live at the Crystal Ballroom), and in 2009 the two members of The Black Keys pursued side projects. Auerbach released a solo album in February of 2009 entitled Keep It Hid, and Patrick Carney released an album called Feel Good Together with a side project he formed called Drummer. Carney played bass in the band. The Black Keys also collaborated with Hip Hop artist Damon Dash and released a Rap-Rock record entitled Blackroc at the end of 2009.

For The Black Keys sixth album, they headed to Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama. The studio has been famous for having music recorded there from Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Staple Singers, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and more. The band produced the album themselves, incorporating elements of their Hard Blue Rock sound with Soul and the musical stylings found on Attack and Release, the album was mixed by Tchad Blakd and recorded with engineer Mark Neil. The first song released from the album, which was titled Brothers was "Tighten Up". The song was the last one recorded for the record, it was also the only track produced by Danger Mouse. The song mixes Funk and Blues with Soul for a catchy song that moves alongside Auerbach's voice that rises to a falsetto at different points in the song. The album was also recorded entirely in analogue and it debuted at # 3 on the Billboard 200 album charts, their highest to date. The album art done for Brothers is a homage to an album originally done by Chess recording artist Howlin' Wolf (This is Howlin' Wolf's New Album). "Howlin' For You" the B-Side to the single "Tighten Up", is a raucous Blues song, while there are other elements on this album such as "The Only One', which features Organ that encircles the listener, "Unknown Brother" has 60's Soul influences, while "Never Gonna Give You Up" is a cover of a song originally done by Jerry Butler. The CD version of Brothers has a thermal CD surface that changes colours depending on the temperature surrounding the disc. The fifteen track album also has two outtakes, "Ohio" and "Chop and Change", which were released on versions of the album featuring bonus material.

This Week's Play List:

1. 63 Monroe - Media Junkie
2. Slander - Petticoat Junction
3. The Count Five - Double Decker Bus
4. Prehistoric Cave Strokers - Johnny Degree
5. Revolver - Leave Me Alone
6. Kevin Walker - Storm We Cannot Run From
7. Bob Dylan - Down the Highway
8. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Oliver's Army
9. Minotaurs - Caught in the Light
10. The Specials - Concrete Jungle
11. Public Image Limited - Annalisa
12. Television - Elevation
13. The Diodes - Red Rubber Ball
14. The Cinch - Get Up & Get Out
15. Pearl Jam - Grievance
16. The Exploding Hearts - Still Crazy
17. The Police - Peanuts
18. Lost Patrol - Overlook Hotel
19. Hater - Blistered
20. The Black Keys - Heavy Soul
21. The Black Keys - Same Old Thing
22. The Black Keys - Everlasting Light

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for August 17th. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

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