That’s probably what you’re going to be hearing from now on when a person brings up The Black Keys. Now that they’ve scored every commercial from Cadillac to Bob’s Discount Furniture, The Black Keys have arrived. After thousands of concerts and years of neglect from the radio, The Black Keys have broken into the main stream and into everyones iTunes library. Chances are that 90% of the people buying their music now were turned on by the huge success of “Tighten Up” and the unrelenting assault on our TVs through the commercial medium. These same people probably are oblivious to the fact that these guys aren’t newbs on the music scene, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have been pounding the pavement for the better part of 10 years and have now released 6 full studio albums.
I’m jealous of these new fans, much like I envy anyone who get to start LOST from the beginning and are taking the ride for the first time, these fans now inherit an entire library of mind blowing rock.
It’s bittersweet having your favorite band launch into the celebrity stratosphere. Never more will I be able to be that sweet-ass kid at the party who’s plugs in his iPod and with a stone cold death stare says “check this out.” But there’s a bright side: there have been few silent moments where I have felt as proud as when Dan and Patrick beat out Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend for “Alternative Album of the Year” at this years Grammys. Those bands generally get their toes sucked by the academy, and two guys without a schtick generally get over looked. Also: A) Because I’m convinced that AF is a group of 20 weird Canadians that are just really good at banging on things in unison. 2) Vampire Weekend is the 2nd option on Google behind “Vampire Diaries” FAIL. III) Dan and Patrick are real guys. They thanked Akron, Ohio (where the boys grew up) in their Grammy acceptance speech and acknowledge their homeland at the beginning of every live show. They’re also two of the most sarcastically funny bastards you’ll ever come across (See here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=few1dTMHZgw )
But enough of this Sasquatch-on-Man-Crush, these furry ears love one thing the most, that’s their music. So here is 5 songs you may not have heard of. For all you new BK fans (welcome to the fam). Now you can pretend that you’ve liked them for more than a month. Click the titles to listen.
-The opening ‘waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaoooowwwwwwwww’ from Dan’s guitar makes every hair on my body (all 932,000,000,000 of them) stand straight up, leading into an opener of epic proportions. The title track of the bands 2nd album, Thickfreakness is just an excuse to rock. All four times I’ve clawed my way into a Black Keys show they’ve blessed me with this as the opening track. An incredibly simple song standing alone on Dan’s howl and guitar riff with Patrick’s vicious beats. Neck-snapping shit.
2) The Lengths
– Feeling mellow? A little lovey-dovey? This Sasquatch often does and The Black Keys have just the ticket. The Lengths is a truly beautiful track with a sound that they’ve yet to revisit. Off the “Rubber Factory” album Dan gives his best attempt to croon an unwilling lover. Need a soundtrack for your next apology to your girlfriend? Look no more.
3) Your Touch
– “Magic Potion” was the bands first studio album (previously all their work was recorded in a basement and in an abandoned warehouse) and Your Touch was the first track to get some true recognition. Let us not forget, this is a TWO man band. Do yourself a favor, close your eyes, put this track on 12 and tell me you aren’t sonically pleased. Dan’s supercharged guitar is louder than ever and Patrick surfs right on top of the melody, let us go deaf.
4) Work Me
– Probably one of the coolest things any band can do is dedicate an entire album to one of their heroes. What’s even cooler is if you can pull off that artists songs in a full album. What’s even cooler than that is if you can get that artists wife on the album leaving a message on the boys answering machine saying how amazing the album was. Enter The Black Keys. Work Me comes off the “Chulahoma” record, a complete album of the late Junior Kimsbrough’s songs, one of Dan’s heroes. Done in only the way the Keys can do, Junior’s wife, Mildred, left a voicemail for the boys which was left on the album as a hidden track. In the message she says, “it makes me very proud.” What have you done lately, Arcade Fire?
– Always a crowd favorite, you’ll be the cool kid at the party if you request this track. Stack Shot Billy tells a terrifyingly awesome story about a dude getting popped in the back of the head by a guy wrecked on cocaine. Don’t hold back Dan, there’s no kids listening.
Study up music fans, these guys are going to be around for a while. Don’t get left behind, you’ve already got enough catching up to do.