The Black Keys

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About The Black Keys

The Black Keys’ intoxicating brew of blues-powered, psychedelic-tinged grit and grime has helped keep rock ’n’ roll as alive as ever in the 21st century. Raised in Akron, OH, guitarist-vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney first struck up a high school friendship, bonding over classic soul, Stax Records, and the hip-hop that sampled both. In 2001, they ditched college and began recording scrappy yet muscular lo-fi rock songs using an eight-track tape recorder from Carney’s basement. They were the kind of swampy, soul-satisfying tunes that resonate best in the bowels of dive bars—exactly where the duo began cutting their teeth. Between The Black Keys’ 2002 debut album, The Big Come Up, and 2006’s Magic Potion, the pair pushed that sound to its fiercest, fuzziest fringes with minor alt-rock hits like “Set You Free” and “Your Touch.” From there, they moved into the comforts of a pro studio and welcomed an outside producer for the first time: The enigmatic Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton injected their throbbing, vintage garage rock with fresh, modern, Moog-lined melodies on 2008’s Attack & Release. This expansion of sound inspired them to dig further into their Southern influences—Junior Kimbrough, Robert Johnson, and Johnny Burnette, to name a few—leading to the aching stomp of “Tighten Up,” the glam-informed “Howlin’ for You," sing-along boogies like “Lonely Boy,” and the moody psychedelic grooves swirling through 2014’s Turn Blue. Still, The Black Keys have consistently remained true to their rough-and-tumble roots built on Carney’s steady, driving rhythms and Auerbach’s haunting howls and blistering riffs. If 2019’s aptly titled Let’s Rock revisits the growling stomp of their early years, then its 2021 follow-up, Delta Kream, serves as a rollicking tribute to the hill country blues tradition that initially inspired the group. Even when The Black Keys team up with genre-hopping chameleon Beck, who co-wrote the bulk of 2024’s Ohio Players, they continue to discover new ways to ground their eclecticism in the raw simplicity that defines all timeless blues and rock music.

Akron, OH, United States
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