I’ve been catching up on reviewing some of the music I’ve been enjoying in the later half of the year, and was doing some research into the status of The Black Keys. They hadn’t come out with an album, but rather Singer/Guitarist Dan Auerbach released his first solo record in February Keep It Hid, while drummer Pat Carney played bass on debut album by Drummer called Feel Good Together. Typically this would be the sign of a band in the midst of separation. But that’s more of an ego-oriented band problem: the keys are a bit more down to earth. Let me explain …
Of the four times I’ve seen them live, the first show they were opening for Beck on the Sea Change, and the other three shows they were the headlining act. Each of those three shows, I typically had a chance to meet Pat out in front of the venue, while Dan could be found in the floor enjoying the opening act within the crowd before they went on. Definitely not your typical band pre-show band ritual; but it’s one of the things that has built their popularity apart from the strength of their live show and the quality of their music.
But Fear Not: Not only are the Black Keys not broken up, not in separation, and not otherwise disband through act of god – they released a new album this weekend under the name BlakRoc. I haven’t had a chance to get my hands on the whole album, but the BlackRoc website has a number of video blogs about the recording of the album, which is a compilation between the Black Keys and 11 rap/hip-hop stars, put together over 11 days in the studio. Artists include Pat Carney on drums, Dan Auerbach on Guitar and Vocals, with Mos Def, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Noe, RZA, Raekwon, Jim Jones, Pharoahe Monch, Q-Tip, Nicole Wray and Billy Danze.
It takes the rhythms and beats the Black Keys have made their hallmark sound, and opens up a whole new sound mergering dirty-grunge blues with hip-hop vocals. I’ll post an update once I’ve had a listen. In the meantime, check out www.blackroc.com for a preview of what’s in store.