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50 DAYS OF COACHELLA ARTISTS: The Black Keys – #15

Posted on 29 March 2012 by admin

 

 

 

From Wikipedia.com

The Black Keys is an American rock band formed in healing Ohio” href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akron, sovaldi _Ohio”>Akron, Ohio in 2001. The group consists of Dan Auerbach (guitar, vocals) and Patrick Carney (drums). The group began as an independent act founded after the duo dropped out of college, and they eventually emerged among a second wave of popular garage rock revival artists from the 2000s. Through October 2011, The Black Keys had sold over 2 million albums in the United States.[1]

Their debut album, The Big Come Up (2002), was recorded in Carney’s basement and forged their raw blues rock sound. Over the next decade, The Black Keys built an underground fanbase through near-constant touring of small clubs, frequent album releases, and extensive licensing of their songs. In 2006, the band signed with Nonesuch Records and began to receive bookings for large music festivals. The duo released Attack & Release in 2008, their first album produced by Danger Mouse, a frequent collaborator of the band. Their commercial breakthrough came in 2010 with Brothers, which along with its popular single “Tighten Up“, won three Grammy Awards. Their 2011 follow-up El Camino received strong reviews and peaked at number two on the Billboard 200 chart, leading to the first arena concert tour of the band’s career.

Career

Early history and The Big Come Up (2001–2002)

Guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney first met when they were 8 or 9 years old while living in the same neighborhood of Akron, Ohio.[2] While attending Firestone High School, they became friends,[2] though they were part of different crowds[3]—Auerbach was captain of the high school soccer team, while Carney was a social outcast.[4] Encouraged by their younger brothers, the duo jammed together, as Auerbach was learning guitar at the time and Carney owned a four-track recorder and a drum set.[5] After graduating, both briefly attended University of Akron before dropping out.[3][6] Auerbach attempted to make a living from performing at small bars in town, but realized he would not be able to book shows in other cities without a demo. To record one, he asked for the help of Carney, who agreed to provide the recording equipment and allow his basement to be used, while Auerbach would recruit the other musicians.[3] However, none of Auerbach’s backing band showed up on the recording date, as they would “rather get stoned and play video games than come to rehearsal”.[7] Instead, Carney and Auerbach jammed, eventually leading to the duo forming a band and recording six-song demo consisting of “old blues rip-offs and words made up on the spot”.[3] After soliciting the demo to a dozen record labels, they received and accepted an offer from Alive, a small indie label in Los Angeles.[5]

According to an interview on NPR‘s Fresh Air, the group’s name “The Black Keys” came from a schizophrenic artist named Alfred McMoore that the pair knew; he would leave incoherent messages on their answering machines referring to their fathers as “black keys” such as “D flat” when he was upset with them.[8] The band’s debut album, The Big Come Up, was recorded entirely in Carney’s basement on an 8-track tape recorder in lo-fi and was released in 2002.[9] The album, a mix of eight original tracks and five cover songs, forged a raw blues rock sound for the group; the covers included tracks originally by blues musicians Muddy Waters, Junior Kimbrough, and R. L. Burnside. Two singles, covers of the traditional blues standard “Leavin’ Trunk” and The Beatles‘ song “She Said, She Said“, were released as an EP. The track “I’ll Be Your Man” would later be used as the theme song for the HBO series Hung. Although the record sold poorly, it gained a cult following and attracted attention from critics, eventually landing the group a record deal with Fat Possum Records.[10] The duo played their first live show at Cleveland’s Beachland Ballroom and Tavern to an audience of about 25 people.[11]

Thickfreakness era (2003)

The Black Keys recorded their second studio album, Thickfreakness, on a Tascam 388 in Carney’s basement in 14 hours and released it in April 2003.[12][13] The record received positive reviews from critics and spawned three singles: “Set You Free“, “Hard Row“, and a cover of Richard Berry‘s “Have Love, Will Travel“. The other cover from the album was Junior Kimbrough’s “Everywhere I Go”. As fellow garage band The White Stripes grew in popularity, The Black Keys often drew comparisons to them, many unfavorable, since both groups had two-piece lineups, color-coded names, Midwest origins, and bluesy sounds.[4][14] Carney and Auerbach insist they were not aware of the other group at the time.[4] In September, the band released a split-EP with The Six Parts Seven titled The Six Parts Seven/The Black Keys EP, featuring one song by The Six Parts Seven and three songs by The Black Keys. That year, the duo received a lucrative offer of $100,000 to license one of their songs for use in an English mayonnaise advertisement. At the suggestion of their manager, they rejected the offer to avoid the risk of being perceived as “sell-outs” and alienating their fan base.[15][16] The band toured extensively throughout 2003, including as an opening act for Sleater-Kinney and Beck. However, exhaustion had set in by the end of the year, forcing the band to cancel European tour dates.[17]

[edit] Rubber Factory and first live album (2004–2005)

The Black Keys released an EP titled The Moan on January 19, 2004, featuring “Have Love Will Travel”, an alternate version of “Heavy Soul,” and two covers. The group found itself struggling to sell records or gain airplay of their songs on the radio, and they were not making much money either; they had to absorb a $3,000 loss from a European tour.[4] Frustrated with their lack of success, the band relented and decided to begin licensing their music, beginning with the song “Set You Free” in a Nissan automobile commercial.[5] For their third album, Rubber Factory, the band was forced to find a new recording location, as the building that housed their basement studio was sold by its landlord. The band settled on recording in an abandoned tire-manufacturing factory.[17] The album, recorded from January to May and released in September, featured singles “10 A.M. Automatic” and “‘Till I Get My Way/Girl Is On My Mind“. “When the Lights Go Out” was used in trailers for the film Black Snake Moan. Additionally, “10 A.M. Automatic” was used in Live Free or Die, The Go Getter, the soundtrack to MLB 06: The Show and an American Express commercial. “Grown So Ugly” was featured on Cloverfield and “Girl Is On My Mind” on Sony Ericsson, Victoria’s Secret, and in November 2010, Zales commercials. In 2005, the band also released their first live video album, Live, recorded at The Metro Theatre in Sydney, Australia on March 18, 2005.

Magic Potion and other releases (2006–2007)

The Black Keys released Chulahoma: The Songs of Junior Kimbrough, an EP with covers of songs by Junior Kimbrough. The EP was released on May 2, 2006. Four days later, The Black Keys released their second live album, Live in Austin, TX – also known as Thickfreakness in Austin – which was recorded October 24, 2003. Soon after, their fourth album was released; Magic Potion was their first release on Nonesuch Records. The album featured four singles; “You’re the One“, “Your Touch“, “Strange Desire“, and “Just Got To Be“. The latter was featured on the soundtrack to the video game, NHL 08. “Your Touch” was featured on the 2009 film Zombieland as well as the HBO series Eastbound & Down. The Black Keys recorded a cover of “The Wicked Messenger” for the soundtrack of I’m Not There and have recorded “If You Ever Slip”, a song written by Jesse Harris for The Hottest State soundtrack.

Attack & Release and side projects (2008–2009)

Dan Auerbach performing in East London on March 21, 2008.

In 2007, producer Danger Mouse began working on a record for Ike Turner and asked The Black Keys to write a few songs for the project. The collaboration ultimately fell through and Turner later died in December 2007. The duo decided to turn the material they had written into their fifth studio album, Attack & Release, and they asked Danger Mouse to produce the record.[18] Released on April 1, 2008, Attack & Release debuted at number 14 on the Billboard 200. Three singles were released: “Strange Times“, “I Got Mine“, and “Same Old Thing”. “Strange Times” was featured in the video games Grand Theft Auto IV and NASCAR 09. “I Got Mine” was named the 23rd-best song by Rolling Stone in its list of the 100 Best Songs of 2008. “I Got Mine” is used as the theme song for Canadian police drama TV series The Bridge. “Some of the stuff we ended up recording sounds like Screamin’ Jay Hawkins,” said Carney.[19]

On October 17, 2008, The Black Keys was an opening act for fellow Akron-area band Devo at a special benefit concert at The Akron Civic Theater for presidential candidate Barack Obama. Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, also an Akron native and Firestone High School graduate, followed their set.[20] In November, they toured through Europe together with Liam Finn. That month, the group released the concert video Live at the Crystal Ballroom, which was filmed on April 4, 2008 at the group’s show at Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon. The video was produced by Lance Bangs.

The Black Keys performing at The Agora in January 2009

Tensions grew within the band in 2009. Prior to Carney’s divorce from his wife Denise Grollmus, Auerbach found it increasingly difficult to communicate with the drummer due to his antipathy for Grollmus. Auerbach said, “I really hated her from the start and didn’t want anything to do with her.”[4] In February, Auerbach released his debut solo album, Keep It Hid. Carney, who claimed Auerbach did not tell him about the side project, felt betrayed.[15] Consequently, Carney formed an indie band called Drummer, who are currently signed to his Audio Eagle Records label.[21] The group released its debut album Feel Good Together on September 29, 2009.

The Black Keys reconciled later in the year. On June 6, 2009, they performed along with The Roots, TV on the Radio, Public Enemy, Antibalas, and other acts at the 2nd Annual Roots Picnic on the Festival Pier in Philadelphia. They also joined the 9th annual Independent Music Awards judging panel to assist independent musicians’ careers.[22][23][24]

Blakroc, a collaborative album featuring The Black Keys and several hip hop artists, was released in 2009 on Black Friday. The project was supported and brought together by Damon Dash, who is a big fan of the band. The album features rappers Mos Def, Ludacris, RZA, Raekwon, Pharoahe Monch, Q-Tip, NOE, Jim Jones, Nicole Wray, M.O.P., and the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard. The album was recorded in Brooklyn, New York. Auerbach said on the official Blakroc site, “Pat and I have been preparing for this record since we were 16.” [25]

Brothers (2010–2011)

The group’s sixth studio album, Brothers, was released on May 18, 2010.[26] The album was produced by The Black Keys and Mark Neill,[27] and was mixed by Tchad Blake.[28] The song “Tighten Up“, the only track from the album produced by Danger Mouse, preceded the album as the lead single, with “Howlin’ for You” as a follow-up single. Brothers sold over 73,000 copies in the US in its first week and peaked at number three on the Billboard 200, their best performance on the chart to that point. Furthermore, “Tighten Up” became their most successful single to that point, spending 10 weeks at number one on the Alternative Songs chart and becoming the group’s first single on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 87. The music video for “Tighten Up”, directed by Chris Marrs Piliero,[29] won the 2010 MTV Video Music Award for Breakthrough Video.[30] The Black Keys also helped judge the 9th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists’ careers.[31] On October 19, The Black Keys released iTunes Sessions which is part of a series of live albums by iTunes and released exclusively on iTunes.

Black Keys performing in Las Vegas in February 2011

The band continued to gain exposure through continued song licensing, so much so that they were Warner Bros. Records‘ most-licensed band of the year.[11] Rolling Stone placed Brothers at number two on its list of the best albums of 2010 and “Everlasting Light” at number 11 on the list of the year’s best songs.[32][33] Spin named The Black Keys the “Artist of the Year” for 2010.[34] On January 8, 2011, the band appeared as the musical guest on American television sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live.[35] At the 53rd Grammy Awards, Brothers and its songs won awards in three of the five categories they were nominated in; the band received honors for Best Alternative Music Album (for Brothers) and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal (for “Tighten Up”), while Michael Carney, the band’s creative director and Patrick’s brother, won Best Recording Package for designing the artwork for Brothers.[36][37]

The band’s sudden success proved overwhelming, as they found themselves booking additional promotional commitments and facing demand for additional touring dates.[38] In January 2011, the group canceled concerts in Australia, New Zealand, and Europe, citing exhaustion, thus clearing out most of their touring schedule into April.[39] Patrick Carney said, “We’ve been touring long enough to know when we’re about to hit our breaking point.” The desire to record another album soon after Brothers also led to the decision. Carney said, “We could have waited another year or so, and milked the Brothers album and kept touring, but we like bands, and our favourite bands growing up and even today, are bands that put out a lot of music and every album is different from the last.”[38]

On February 10, 2011, the band released a video for “Howlin’ for You” that parodied action movie trailers. It starred Tricia Helfer, Diora Baird, Sean Patrick Flanery, Christian Serratos, Corbin Bernsen, Todd Bridges, and Shaun White, as well as the band itself in the role of “Las Teclas de Negro”.[40][41] This video was also directed by Chris Marrs Piliero,[42] and was subsequently nominated for the 2011 MTV Video Music Award for Best Rock Video.[43] The Black Keys were nominated for three Billboard Music Awards: Top Alternative Artist, and Top Rock Album and Top Alternative Album for Brothers.[44] The group continued to make appearances at American music festivals during the middle of the year, playing at Bonnaroo,[45] Kanrocksas and Outside Lands.

El Camino (2011–present)

The Black Keys performing at Madison Square Garden in March 2012

The recording sessions for the group’s seventh studio album, El Camino, began on March 3, 2011.[7] Splitting time between touring and recording, the band spent 41 days at Easy Eye Sound Studio, which was opened in 2010 by Auerbach in the duo’s new hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.[3] For the album, Danger Mouse reprised his role as producer and also contributed as a co-writer on all of its songs.[7] Based on the difficulty the band had performing some of the slower songs from Brothers live, they conceived more uptempo tracks for El Camino.[38] The record draws strong influence from early American music and popular genres from the 1950s–1970s, such as rock and roll, soul, rockabilly, and glam rock. Several retro acts such as The Clash, The Cramps, and T. Rex were cited as musical influences.[38][46]

El Camino was preceded by lead single “Lonely Boy“, which was released in October accompanied by a popular one-shot music video of a man dancing and lip-synching. The band returned to Saturday Night Live as a musical guest on December 3, 2011, marking the first occasion that a non-hosting musical act performed on the show twice in the same calendar year.[47] The album was released three days later and received wide critical acclaim.[48] In the US, it debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and sold 206,000 copies in its first week, the highest charting position and single-week sales the group has achieved in the country.[49] Many publications, such as Rolling Stone and Time ranked El Camino among the best albums of the year, despite its late release.[50][51] The group commenced the first headlining arena tour of their career in 2012,[52] playing dates in Europe and North America.[53][54] After tickets went on sale, their show at Madison Square Garden sold out in 15 minutes.[55] Just as it did on its previous tour, the group added bassist Gus Seyffert and keyboardist/guitarist John Wood as touring musicians in order to perform songs as close to their studio arrangements as possible.[4][56]

 

 

Links:

http://www.theblackkeys.com/

http://www.myspace.com/theblackkeys

https://www.facebook.com/TheBlackKeys

https://twitter.com/#!/theblackkeys

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