Monday, April 8, 2013


The Black Keys caught a flash of lightning and recorded the no nonsense gritty grimy blues rock of their second album in one day in their basement.  The duo built a cult following with their debut  'The Big Come Up' and secured a deal with Fat Possum Records.  They immediately went into their studio and cut a new record with Dan Auerbach on electric guitar, 12 string guitar, slide guitar, vocals, and bass on "Midnight In Her Eyes"; and Patrick Carney on drums, percussion, tambourine, and production.  

Auerbach admits:   “'Tiger Man' by Joe Hill Lewis—that’s pretty much my tone. It’s the tone I tried to rip off! I like my sound to be pretty much the amplifier and the guitar together. I don’t like to use effects. Sometimes I’ll double parts, but mostly I just experiment with different fuzz pedals. If you find an amp sound you like, then that’s the most important thing. And for me, it has to be distorted. When I was learning how to play guitar, I wanted my sound to be just like the tube-amp overdrive on the ’50s recordings I was listening to. I still don’t like clean sounds. In a two-piece band, my guitar would sound pretty thin if I had a jangly tone...For Thickfreakness, I used a whole bunch of Japanese Silvertones and Teisco Del Rays that just don’t hold up on the road. I’ve got a bunch of different tube amps that I like to use, too. I’ve got all kinds of crap lying around the studio because I like to try out different things when I’m thinking of a sound...We always record in the basement—surrounded by our own junk. We recorded the main tracks in 14 hours. We just didn’t leave until everything was done. Then we came back the next day to mix, and that took a couple of days to get everything sounding right...We initially tried working in a fancy San Francisco studio where Green Day had recorded a hit album, but it didn’t suit our sound and it didn’t feel right. I’m really glad we realized that, and then decided to do the album our own way...'The Big Come Up' was our first attempt at producing a full-length record, and we were completely clueless. This time, we pretty much knew what we wanted to do and we just did it. We also wanted to get an album out as soon as possible because we were sick of dealing with record companies. We finally decided to sign with Fat Possum on a Friday, and we recorded the album the next Monday. Done."

The liner notes of the album describe their sound as Carney's "patented recording technique called 'medium fidelity'".  Carney considers:  “There’s something that happens when you hit the drums harder other than, obviously, the drums are louder.  The thing that I realized that happens is you’re exerting yourself a lot more, and you start thinking about your surroundings a lot less. And because of that, for me at least, I end up thinking more about the music and the nuances within the music. It creates a much larger dynamic range...We’re a two-piece band.  You’re not going to have really high ups or really low downs. It’s in that in-between then that I think you’re at an advantage. So then, once I figured out where we lived, it all kind of made sense to me the way I play...I’m kind of stubborn and have this attention-deficit problem to the point where I find that I learn the best if I just kind of figure it out on my own, you know? Listen to what other people are doing and pay attention to that and just kind of try to break the code myself. I have to learn hands-on...That’s the most fun being in a band, actually, is when you are completely in control of everything as far as the creative side and the decision making and stuff.  It’s kind of a trip...I’m not a very good drummer.  But that’s the thing: Kids that were in my high school jazz band were focused on being good. They weren’t focused on being creative, and none of those guys ever became musicians. And then all of my friends who are musicians, they were never focused on being the best...Sometimes when you read magazines like Guitar Player or whatever and a lot of the musicians are focused on being the best and going to the Berklee School Of Music and doing all these things, that’s one route.  But the teach-yourself, have-fun route is also a viable route. I recommend that route.”

'Thickfreakness' only made it to one hundred and eighty two in the UK and ninety in Australia. 


full album:

All tracks written by Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney except where noted.
1. "Thickfreakness" 3:48
2. "Hard Row" (lyrics by Dan and Chuck Auerbach) 3:15
3. "Set You Free" 2:46
4. "Midnight in Her Eyes" 4:02
5. "Have Love Will Travel" (Richard Berry) 3:04
6. "Hurt Like Mine" 3:27
7. "Everywhere I Go" (Junior Kimbrough) 5:40
8. "No Trust" 3:37
9. "If You See Me" 2:52
10. "Hold Me in Your Arms" 3:19
11. "I Cry Alone" 2:47

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