Thursday, December 3, 2015
The Black Keys tightened up the reins and went howlin' through different shades to get to the bluest of blues. After nearly a decade together and five albums (The Big Come Up in 2002 on Alive Records, Thickfreakness in 2003 and Rubber Factory in 2004 on Fat Possum Records, and Magic Potion in 2006 and Attack & Release in 2008 on Nonesuch Records) the duo of childhood friends Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney parted ways to work on other projects. There was a period where it seemed like they might have broken up. The increasing friction between Auerbach and Carney's wife Denise Grollmus had affected their ability to work together. It wasn't until after they divorced that they went back into the studio.
Auerbach says: "I really hated her from the start and didn't want anything to do with her...It's like, Pat is, like, really out of his mind right now. I just remember playing him songs, and the only thing I would get out of him was, like, 'That's tight.' I'm like, OK, fine. We were probably both being uncommunicative. But the circumstances that were surrounding all of that were just making everything worse. I mean, I really don't want to keep talking about his ex and the relationship, but it was just horrific...I got her man. You know what I mean? He sided with me and not her, so she hates me for that."
Carney considers: "I think our relationship would be best described as a mixture between Patty and Selma Bouvier from The Simpsons and Erik Estrada and that other dude [Larry Wilcox] from CHiPs. We take turns playing each role."
In the meantime, Auerbach worked with Mark Neill to build his own studio Easy Eye Sound System in Akron, Ohio where they would record his debut album Keep It Hid in 2009. Neill reveals: "At some point we started talking about my old studio in Georgia, which I'd built out of cinder block like the old Sun Studios. The conversation morphed into this idea of heading to the South to do the rest of the album in a historic old studio. We talked about going to Sun Studio or Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis, as well as Robin Hood Studios in Tyler, Texas; we even considered this old VFW hall in my home town of Valdosta. Bottom line, they just wanted to get out of town and go someplace different — and above all, they wanted the tracks to be imbued with a Southern kind of atmosphere.”
They looked into the Muscle Shoals Studio in Sheffield, Alabama, which had effectively become a museum, and were able to rent out the building and bring their own equipment there. The sessions took place over ten days, during which the band was working all day and going stir crazy with little else to do. Other tracks were recorded at The Bunker On Apple in Portland, Oregon and at Easy Eye. Final mixing and fixing was done at Neill's Soil of the South Studios in La Mesa, California. 'Brothers' was mixed by Tchad Blake and mastered by Brian Lucey with Dan Auerbach on vocals, guitars, bass guitar, and keyboards; and Patrick Carney on drums and percussion.
'Brothers' was a worldwide breakthrough hit, charting at number forty-eight in Switzerland, forty-six in Ireland, forty-four in France, thirty-nine in the Netherlands, thirty-seven in Denmark, twenty-nine in the UK, twenty in Belgium, ten in New Zealand, eight in Australia, and number three in the US, where it was certified platinum and nominated for five Grammys. winning Best Alternative Music Album, Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, and Best Recording Package for Michael Carney who did the album artwork.
Pat says: "We thought Brothers would do okay. But it exceeded our expectations so much. That said, it's not like we wanted or expected to win Grammys. I remember driving back from a gig in Toledo in 2002, and Dan's dad asked us if we ever thought we'd be nominated for a Grammy. I laughed at him for an hour and a half. It was cool, but it was also a major bummer to walk down the red carpet and realize that not a single person there wanted to talk to any musicians—they wanted to see Kim Kardashian. You experience how much the show isn't about music. I'm still shocked that, like, Arcade Fire was even allowed to play. It doesn't seem real to have a real band like Arcade Fire at a show where Justin Bieber is just lip-synching."
"Tighten Up" was produced by Danger Mouse
It won the award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and was nominated for Best Rock Song.
"Howlin' for You"
Las Teclas de Noro !!
All songs written and composed by Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, except where noted.
No. Title Length
1. "Everlasting Light" 3:24
2. "Next Girl" 3:18
3. "Tighten Up" 3:31
4. "Howlin' for You" 3:12
5. "She's Long Gone" 3:06
6. "Black Mud" 2:10
7. "The Only One" 5:00
8. "Too Afraid to Love You" 3:25
9. "Ten Cent Pistol" 4:29
10. "Sinister Kid" 3:45
11. "The Go Getter" 3:37
12. "I'm Not the One" 3:49
13. "Unknown Brother" 4:00
14. "Never Gonna Give You Up" (Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff, and Jerry Butler) 3:39
15. "These Days" 5:12
No. Title Length
16. "Ohio" (7" vinyl or free download for members of the band's website) 4:29
17. "Howlin' for You (feat. Prins Thomas Diskomiks)" (Available on iTunes) 7:27