|The Black Keys — Turn Blue (2014)|
The Black Keys — Turn Blue
♣ Intense, sorrowful Akron, Ohio blues~soaked duo overwhelmed indie rock critics in the ‘00s.
Location: Akron, Ohio
Album release: May 13th, 2014
Record Label: Nonesuch
01 Weight of Love 6:50
02 In Time 4:28
03 Turn Blue 3:43
04 Fever 4:06
05 Year In Review 3:48
06 Bullet In the Brain 4:16
07 It's Up To You Now 3:11
08 Waiting On Words 3:37
09 10 Lovers 3:33
10 In Our Prime 4:38
11 Gotta Get Away 3:02
♦♦ Dan Auerbach — guitar, vocals, bass guitar, piano, organ, keyboards, synthesizer (2001 — present)
♦♦ Patrick Carney — drums, percussion (2001 — present)
♦♦ Richard Swift — bass guitar, vocals (2014 — present)
♦♦ John Wood — keyboards, vocals, organ, synthesizer, guitar, tambourine (2010 — present)
Former touring musicians:
♦♦ Nick Movshon — bass guitar (2010)
♦♦ Leon Michels — keyboards, organ, synthesizer, tambourine (2010)
♦♦ Gus Seyffert — bass guitar, vocals (2010 — 2013)
By David Fricke, May 5, 2014 / Score: ****½
♣ Turn Blue, the Black Keys’ eighth studio album, opens with seven minutes of slow burn and eccentric fury. “Weight of Love” is the sort of uproar most bands would save for a big finish. But the Keys — singer~guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney — and their co~producer Brian Burton, a.k.a. Danger Mouse, show their nerve upfront in a mounting tension of acoustic guitar and painted~desert ambience, cut open by Auerbach’s machete–treble twang and battered by Carney’s unhurried John Bonham~like rolls. When Auerbach finally gets to the chorus, he sings it as high~pitched warning (“Don’t give yourself away/To the weight of love”), lined with plenty of gospel~sisters heat.
♣ In one sense, “Weight of Love” is the Keys’ return to basics: a heavy blues. In every other way, that turmoil is a giant step into the best, most consistently gripping album the Keys have ever made. And that includes their 2010 smash, Brothers.
♣ That LP’s crunchy mix of Sixties soul and Midwest~garage glam was a rightful breakthrough. Turn Blue is a genuine turning point — into a decisively original rock, with a deeper shade of blues. You still get the minimalist vigor of the Keys’ first records a decade ago. But this is more brazen severity, richer and forward in its hip~hop allusions, super~size~rock dynamics, pictorial studio flourishes and offbeat commercial savvy. With its seething close~up bass runs and deathwatch vocal chorus, “In Time” is an aggressive update of Sly Stone’s paranoia in There’s a Riot Goin’ On with a spaghetti~Western splash of Ennio Morricone. “Fever” is a bizarre, knockout union of bar~band grease and Euro~disco concision — Kraftwerk in gas~station overalls. The Keys have been working up to this since their first LP with Burton, 2008’s Attack & Release. Turn Blue sounds like arrival.
♣ Burton is practically a bandmate here, playing keyboards and co~writing all 11 songs (and co~producing all but two). He is also an expert magnifier and coloring agent, the likely hand behind the croaking electronics in “Turn Blue” and the fattened thwack in “Year in Review.” But the Keys are still a two~man band. Their strict, primary force binds and propels the extra textures as well as Auerbach’s flinty verdicts on love always going wrong. “I let you use my gifts/To back those lyin’ lips,” he snaps in “Bullet in the Brain,” a gnashing rage in lavish reverb. “In Our Prime” has less echo but more dirty guitar, curdled organ and a soul interlude with an orchestral hint of keyboards. “I see a face from way back when/And I explode,” Auerbach sings before he and Carney blow up at the end. It’s not Muddy Waters’ lingo. It’s still blues.
♣ “Gotta Get Away” is an unexpected finish: straight~arrow rock with a hot chorus, the way the Clash’s “Train in Vain” was a hit~single exclamation point on London Calling. Turn Blue is as apocalyptic, in its way, as that Clash epic: loaded with risk, distress and payoff. But when Auerbach sings, “Blacktop, I can’t stop,” at the end, over Carney’s open~road stride, they sound like a band already on to the next crossroads.
Artist Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
♣ It’s too facile to call the Black Keys counterparts of the White Stripes: they share several surface similarities — their names are color–coded, they hail from the Midwest, they’re guitar~and~drum blues~rock duos — but The Black Keys are their own distinct thing, a tougher, rougher rock band with a purist streak that never surfaces in the Stripes. But that’s not to say that the Black Keys are blues traditionalists: even on their 2002 debut, The Big Come Up, they covered the Beatles’ psychedelic classic “She Said She Said,” indicating a fascination with sound and texture that would later take hold on such latter~day albums as 2008’s Attack & Release, where guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney teamed up with sonic architect Danger Mouse. In between those two records, the duo established the Black Keys as a rock & roll band with a brutal, primal force, and songwriters of considerable depth, as evidenced on such fine albums as 2003’s Thickfreakness and 2004’s Rubber Factory.
♣ Natives of Akron, Ohio, the Black Keys released their debut, The Big Come Up, in 2002, receiving strong reviews and sales, and leading to a contract with Fat Possum by the end of the year. That label released Thickfreakness, recorded in a 14~hour session, in the spring of 2003, and the Keys supported the album with an opening tour for Sleater~Kinney. the Black Keys’ momentum escalated considerably with their 2004 album Rubber Factory, which not only received strong reviews but some high~profile play, including a video for “10 A.M. Automatic” featuring comedian David Cross. The band’s highly touted live act was documented on a 2005 DVD, released the same year as Chulahoma — an EP of blues covers — appeared.
♣ The Black Keys made the leap to the major labels with 2006’s Magic Potion, a moodier record that continued to build their fan base. The band capitalized on that moodiness with 2008’s Attack & Release, whose production by Danger Mouse signaled that the Black Keys were hardly just blues~rock purists. Salvaged from sessions intended as a duet album with Ike Turner, who died before the record could be finished, the album was the Black Keys’ biggest to date, debuting in the Billboard Top 15 and earning strong reviews. Following their second live DVD, the Black Keys spent 2009 on side projects, with Auerbach releasing his solo album Keep It Hid in the beginning of the year, and Carney forming the band Drummer, in which he played bass. At the end of 2009, Blakroc, a rap~rock collaboration between the band and producer Damon Dash, appeared.
♣ Brothers, released in 2010, became their biggest album yet, generating the hit singles “Tighten Up,” “Howlin’ for You” and “Next Girl.” It also saw the Keys returning to their tough blues roots with a new grandness, earning three Grammy Awards, landing on year~end lists from NPR to Rolling Stone, and going gold. The band offered a more straight~ahead rock & roll sound with 2011’s El Camino. On the strength of the hit single “Lonely Boy,” El Camino debuted at number 2 on Billboard’s Top 200 and the Black Keys worked the album hard throughout the next year, releasing “Gold on the Ceiling” as the record’s second single and touring heavily. In the fall of 2012, the Tour Rehearsal Tapes EP — a brief collection of live~in~the~studio run~throughs of 2012 material — was released.
♣ Once again tapping Danger Mouse to produce the follow~up, the band went back into the studio in summer 2013 to record. Confounding expectations, they refused to simply recycle the raw blues~rock style that had brought them fame; the resulting album, Turn Blue, had a looser, smoother sound influenced by psychedelic soul. Preceded by the singles “Fever” and “Turn Blue,” it was slated for release in early May 2014. ♣ (http://www.allmusic.com/)
Birth name: Daniel Quine Auerbach
Born: May 14, 1979, Akron, Ohio, United States
Instruments: Vocals, guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, drums
♣ Harmony H78
♣ Fender Telecaster
♣ Supro Val Trol
♣ Harmony Stratotone
♣ Guild Thunderbird
Awards and Honors:
♣ At the 2013 Grammy Awards, Auerbach won the award for Producer of the Year, Non~Classical.
♣ In 2010, he joined the 9th annual Independent Music Awards judging panel to assist independent musicians’ careers.
Childhood and early life:
♣ Auerbach was born in Ohio, and is the son of Mary Little (née Quine; b. about 1948), a teacher of French, and Charles Auerbach (b. about 1950), an antique dealer. ♣ His father is of Polish Jewish descent and his mother is of part Manx descent. His maternal cousin, twice removed, was philosopher and logician Willard Van Orman Quine, and his second cousin once removed was the late guitarist Robert Quine. Auerbach grew up in a family with musical roots. Auerbach became infatuated with blues after listening to his father’s old vinyl records during his childhood. He was influenced early~on by his mother’s side of the family, notably his uncles who played bluegrass music.
♣ Auerbach described himself as a normal teenager in high school who smoked marijuana and captained the soccer team at Firestone High School. He was heavily influenced by Junior Kimbrough in college, eventually resulting in his dropping out to pursue the guitar more seriously. “I’ve listened to him so much, it’s just how I hear it... I studied him so much... Getting F’s in college, when I should’ve been studying, I was listening to Junior Kimbrough’s music instead”. Other major influences include: Robert Johnson, R.L. Burnside, Clarence White, Robert Nighthawk, T~Model Ford, Hound Dog Taylor, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Kokomo Arnold, Son House and RZA of the Wu Tang Clan.
♣ Auerbach was married to Stephanie Gonis, with whom he has a daughter, Sadie Little Auerbach, born in 2008. In February 2013, it was reported that the couple are in the midst of divorce proceedings. In 2013 Barista Parlor and its owner Andy Mumma are upping the cultural cache with the announcement of a second location, including an on~site roastery, in partnership with Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach. (The partnership has actually been planned since the early months of Barista Parlor, as reported in this New York Times feature.)
♣ Keep It Hid (2009)
With The Black Keys:
♣ The Big Come Up (2002)
♣ Thickfreakness (2003)
♣ The Moan (2004)
♣ Rubber Factory (2004)
♣ Chulahoma (2006)
♣ Magic Potion (2006)
♣ Attack & Release (2008)
♣ Brothers (2010)
♣ El Camino (2011)
♣ Turn Blue (2014)
♣ Blakroc (2009)
Birth name: Patrick J. Carney
Also known as: The Salesman
Born: April 15, 1980, Akron, Ohio, U.S.
Instruments: Drums, guitar, bass guitar, keyboard
♣ Ludwig Drums
♣ Paiste Cymbals
♣ Carney married his first wife, writer Denise Grollmus, in 2007. The couple acrimoniously divorced in 2009. Both talked about the messy breakup in the media, Patrick in the Rolling Stone’s May 27, 2010, issue and Denise in her essay, entitled Snapshots From a Rock ‘N’ Roll Marriage, published on Salon on March 3, 2011.
In 2010, Carney and his bandmate, Dan Auerbach, moved from Akron, OH, and purchased homes in Nashville, TN. They recorded their El Camino album at Auerbach’s newly completed Nashville studio, Easy Eye Sound Studio.
♣ On February 13, 2011, hours before the Grammys in Los Angeles, CA, Carney proposed to his girlfriend, Emily Ward. They married on September 15, 2012, in the backyard of their Nashville home. The wedding ceremony was officiated by actor Will Forte. The wedding party included Ward’s siblings Danielle Shuster & Henry Ward, Carney’s brothers Will Carney, Michael Carney, & Barry Stormer, and the couple’s Irish wolfhound, Charlotte. Wearing Carolina Herrera, Ward walked down the aisle to Crimson and Clover by Tommy James and the Shondells. Carney and Ward invited 350 guests, including bandmate Dan Auerbach and professional snowboarder Shaun White, who was later arrested and charged with vandalism and public intoxication at a hotel in Nashville, TN after the wedding reception.
With The Black Keys:
♣ Feel Good Together (2009)
♣ The Sheepdogs (2012)
|The Black Keys — Turn Blue (2014)|