The Black Keys’ new album, Turn Blue, was released May 13, 2014, on Nonesuch Records. Produced by Danger Mouse, Dan Auerbach, and Patrick Carney, Turn Blue features 11 new tracks. Mojo says the album "underlines the fact that The Black Keys are the most vital rock band in the world right now." Rolling Stone calls the album "a giant step into the best, most consistently gripping album the Keys have ever made."
Turn Blue was recorded at Sunset Sound in Hollywood during the summer of 2013 with additional recording done at the Key Club in Benton Harbor, MI and Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound in Nashville in early 2014. Of the new album, the band says Turn Blue could refer to:
A: Suffocation B: Sadness C: Numbness from extreme cold D: A Cleveland late night TV host from the 1960s named Ghoulardi E: All of the above
Moreover, Carney comments, “We are always trying to push ourselves when we make a record—not repeat our previous work but not abandon it either. On this record, we let the songs breathe and explored moods, textures and sounds. We’re excited for the world to hear Turn Blue.”
This is the eighth full-length album from the duo and follows 2011’s critically and commercially acclaimed El Camino, which is now certified RIAA Platinum. Internationally, El Camino is Gold in Belgium, Spain, Italy, and Holland; Platinum in Ireland, France and the UK; and double Platinum in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. The record also resulted in three awards at the 55th annual Grammy Awards—Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song, and Best Rock Album. The band now has a total of six Grammy Awards including three in 2010 for their breakout, RIAA Platinum album, Brothers.
MUSICIANS The Black Keys are Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney All Songs Performed by The Black Keys
Dan Auerbach, vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, etc. Patrick Carney, drums, keyboards, percussion, etc. Brian Burton, keyboards, piano, etc.
Regina, Ann and Alfreda McCrary, background vocals on tracks 1–3, 9
PRODUCTION CREDITS All Songs Produced by Danger Mouse and The Black Keys Except: Tracks 7, 11 Produced by The Black Keys Engineered by Kennie Takahashi Additional Engineering by Geoff Neal at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, CA; Bill Skibbe at Key Club in Benton Harbor, MI; Collin Dupuis at Easy Eye Sound in Nashville, TN Recorded at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, CA from July to August 2013 Additional Recording at Key Club in Benton Harbor, MI in January 2013; Easy Eye Sound in February 2014 Mixed by Tchad Blake Mastered by Brian Lucey at Magic Garden Mastering in Los Angeles, CA
Artwork and Art Direction by Michael Carney
All songs written by D. Auerbach, P. Carney, B. Burton All songs published by McMoore McLesst Publishing (BMI), Administered by Wixen Music / Sweet Science (ASCAP) Except: Tracks 7, 11 Written by The Black Keys / Published by McMoore McLesst Publishing (BMI), administered by Wixen Music Track 5 contains a sample from the song “Sandra” written and performed by Nico Fidenco from the original soundtrack to La Ragazzina. Licensed courtesy of Creazioni Artistiche Musicali C.A.M. S.R.L. Una societa' del Gruppo Sugar. US and Canadian publishing rights administered by Sugar Melodi, Inc. (ASCAP). World ex. US and Canada publishing rights administered by Una societa' del Gruppo Sugar. International Copyright Reserved. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission. Sample cleared by Alien Music.
ABOUT THIS ALBUM
2010 Grammy Award Winner: Best Alternative Album, Best Recording Package, Best Rock Performance ("Tighten Up"), Producer of the Year (Danger Mouse, "Tighten Up")
In the August heat of 2009, The Black Keys left a Brooklyn studio—where they’d been working with an all-star posse of MCs—for 10 days in creative isolation at the historic Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama. Their geographical trek mirrored a musical journey, from contemporary hip-hop jams to the hallowed ground of classic R&B, that has resulted in the most cohesive album—and the deepest, steamiest grooves—of the duo’s eight-year career. These sessions yielded tunes that have the instantaneous, gotta-hear-it-again pull of a vintage 45; leadoff track “Everlasting Light” sounds like something Marc Bolan of T-Rex might have cut if he’d been signed to Stax. But more than just genre- and decade-hopping fun, there’s an emotional candor and narrative quality to the songs that offer a whole new level of soulfulness to the already floorboards-shaking sound of The Black Keys.
Brothers is, in many ways, the culmination of a tumultuous period for Auerbach and Carney as they juggled personal challenges with creative opportunities. For the first time in a career of non-stop touring and recording, Auerbach and Carney embarked on projects of their own, on top of their dates for The Black Keys. Auerbach made his solo debut, Keep It Hid, and hit the road with a full band; Carney picked up the bass for his own combo, Drummer, comprising five notable Ohioan drummers, only one of whom actually sits behind the kit on their disc, Feel Good Together.
Carney, in the midst of a divorce, relocated to New York City from Akron, where Auerbach continues to reside with his young family and has built his own studio, Easy Eye Sound System, modeled after the great live rooms of the ‘50s and ‘60s. (“It’s the nicest studio I’ve been to,” quips Auerbach, “because it was made for me.”) The pair came to Brooklyn at the behest of rap mogul Damon Dash, a fan of The Black Keys who’d invited them to work with rapper Jim Jones. That idea morphed into a bona fide super-session between the boys and some serious hip-hop figures that they wanted to collaborate with, including Mos Def, Raekwon, Q-Tip, and RZA. The result was the independently releasedBlakroc, a hip hop-R&B hybrid that the NME called “genuinely organic, a common ground of moods … with a slinky, groovy, maxi-fuzzed blues rock to match [the MC’s] swagger.” No sooner had they wrapped the Blakroc dates then they were on their way to Muscle Shoals to find out where their inspiration might lead.
As Carney recalls, “We were going to Brooklyn every other weekend for a couple of months. We finished Blakroc two or three days before we started our record. Blakroc was kind of a warm up for Brothers. In the process of making the Blakroc record we got more and more accustomed to the approach of making music with more bass lines and keyboard riffs than guitar riffs. There is less guitar on this record than any of our other records. I think we were just trying to focus on the grooves rather than what we had expected from ourselves previously.”
Auerbach concurs: “We were basically listening to soul music and hip hop for the week we were down there. That definitely had a lot to do with the way we went about crafting the songs.”
The first track they tackled was “Next Girl,” which, says Carney, “set the tone for the record, with the openness and the simplicity of the bass line.” The song—boasting a cocky, moving-on attitude and a smoldering tempo that mask the heartbreak at its core—wasn’t meant to be autobiographical, but it helped Carney move past what was ailing him that summer. As Auerbach observed, “Pat was in a rough spot, but that song energized him, I think. We didn’t do it on purpose, it just happened that way, but then we were off and running.”
As with countless musicians who’d ventured to Muscle Shoals before them, The Black Keys were attracted to the legacy—and the atmosphere—of a studio where everyone from Aretha to the Stones had done time.
Ultimately, though, their music evolves out of a somewhat mysterious inner space they’re able to access wherever they go. As Auerbach puts it, “I think that whenever you go some place that has a lot of rich history, you always kind of get a good feeling and that was definitely there for us. We got what we needed out of that room. But I sort of feel that Pat and I can do it anywhere; it’s not dependent on where we are. We’ve been playing together for so long, honestly, we don’t need windows, we don’t need to see a beach or a city. It’s like when we’re working, we work for 12 or 13 hours straight and never go outside. We just get so focused.”
In addition to engineer/producer Mark Neill’s recording gear, the pair brought a lot of Auerbach’s vintage gear from Easy Eye Sound System, where they’d earlier cut demo-style tracks for the album. So Akron was as essential to Brothers as Alabama; in fact, they liked the demos for such tracks as “Unknown Brother” and “Black Mud” enough that, says Carney, “We ended up going back to those in January and finishing them up at Dan’s place.”
While they were in Alabama, there wasn’t much in the way of outside diversion between Muscle Shoals and their Marriott. After long days in the studio, they’d return to the hotel to try to unwind. And unwind, in their fashion, they did. Carney admits, laughing, “At some point we called our management at three in the morning and left a cryptic voice mail to, like, bring a harpsichord. I don’t even know if Dan realized we’d done that. But the next day our manager showed up from Nashville with the harpsichord and we had both spaced on what had happened.”
Along with the harpsichord, they utilized a Mellotron that Auerbach had purchased, ideal for adding subtle, ghostly, synth-like textures to these tracks. Auerbach himself experimented with his vocals, emboldened by his hip-hop colleagues: “I definitely was influenced doing that Blakrocrecord, seeing everyone really go for it. I’d never seen anyone else record that way. Someone like Mos or Raekwon, they can really get into character in front of the microphone. So I really went for it, too, and did all kinds of different shit, I used whatever range I had. I sang in a few different ways, but none that I thought wasn’t natural.” He employs a surprisingly silky falsetto on the one-take vocal of “Everlasting Light” as well as on “The Only One” and, overall, delivers some of the most soul-baring vocal performances of his career. He narrates a tale of jealousy and revenge on “Ten Cent Pistol;” draws from life on ” Unknown Brother,” written for his late brother-in-law; and mixes the real and imagined over the coolly evil vibe of “Sinister Kid.” As he explains, “Whether it’s a made-up story or not, it all felt very personal to me.” The pair also takes a sweet turn on a cover of Jerry Butler’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” before closing the set with the melancholy ballad, “These Days.” Jokes Auerbach, “We like to go out with a teardrop. Leave ‘em crying.”
Brothers is more stripped down than Attack & Release, the 2008 album they cut mostly in a vintage studio outside Cleveland with producer Danger Mouse and several guest players. Danger Mouse returned to produce “Tighten Up,” but there are no additional musicians, save for Atlanta-based R&B belter Nicole Wray, a former Missy Elliot protégé who contributes backing vocals to “Everlasting Light,” “Next Girl,” and “Howlin’ For You.” Yet the sound of Brothers feels like another huge step forward. The Black Keys rely on less yet ingeniously achieve more.
Grammy Award–winning engineer-auteur Tchad Blake mixed the album and totally got the concept. Auerbach describes him as “a genius with audio, a complete wizard, because we recorded these songs in a really minimal way. There are no more than 11 or 12 tracks on one song. All the drums are on one or two tracks, which is sort of unheard of in the modern-day recording world. Tchad does a lot of mixing where I’m sure he gets, you know, 40 or 50 tracks on one song. So he was really excited about our record, he would call us up and just tell us how much fun it is to mix this stuff because it was so raw.” For Carney, as he told Rolling Stone, bringing in Blake at the end underscored the attitude and the aim of Brothers: “He approaches mixing in the same way we approach making music. Respecting the past while being in the present.”
MUSICIANS Performed by The Black Keys Backing Vocals by Nicole Wray (1, 2, 4)
PRODUCTION CREDITS Produced by The Black Keys and Mark Neill (1, 2, 4, 8-12, 14, 15), Danger Mouse (3), The Black Keys (5-7, 13) Recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio (1, 2, 4, 8-12, 14); The Bunker, Brooklyn, New York (3); Easy Eye Sound System (5-7, 13); Soil of the South Studios, San Diego (15) Engineered by Mark Neill (1, 2, 4, 8-12, 14, 15), Kennie Takahashi (3), Dan Auerbach (5-7, 13) Mixed by Tchad Blake Mastering by Brian Lucey at Magic Garden Mastering
All Songs Written by The Black Keys, Except “Never Gonna Give You Up,” by Jerry Butler, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff
Photography by John Peets Art Direction & Artwork by Michael Carney
ATTACK & RELEASE CD/LP
ABOUT THIS ALBUM
The Black Keys’ fifth full-length LP, Attack & Release, follows their 2006 critically acclaimed Nonesuch debut Magic Potion, which the Chicago Tribune proclaimed, “a gritty, wild, minimalist masterpiece.” The LP version includes the album on 12" 140-gram vinyl and a CD. Produced by Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley, The Gorillaz, The Grey Album), Attack & Release was recorded at engineer Paul Hamann’s illustrious Suma Studio outside Cleveland, Ohio. Initial collaboration began when Danger Mouse (a.k.a. Brian Burton) approached the band to write songs for an album he was developing with the late R&B legend Ike Turner. As the band began composing tracks for Turner early last year, though, they quickly realized they were actually laying the groundwork for a new album of their own.
Attack & Release thus became The Black Keys’ first collaborative effort, as it morphed into their own album with Danger Mouse as producer. By recording in an actual studio (another first), guitarist-vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney were given the opportunity to add a variety of instruments to their usual simple set-up—including organ, moog, and banjo. “After recording our previous albums in a basement, we were ready to go somewhere else,” Auerbach confesses. “Danger Mouse came in as our collaborator. He has a real ear for melody and arrangement and that was a big part of this record, as was the studio…a really special place.”Carney concurs: “The place is covered with dust, it smells like a moldy cabin, and it looks like a haunted house. It was fitting for our first time going into a real studio.” He continues, “I think Dan and I were intrigued to work with somebody as a producer, and with an engineer like Paul, because we both realized we couldn’t teach ourselves anything more and it was best to start learning from other people.”
Besides Auerbach, Carney, and Danger Mouse’s work, other contributions on Attack & Release include guitarist Marc Ribot and multi-instrumentalist Ralph Carney (Patrick’s uncle)—both veterans of, among other things, Tom Waits’ band. The closing track, “Things Ain’t Like They Used To Be,” features Auerbach singing along side eighteen-year-old bluegrass/country-singer Jessica Lea Mayfield.The Black Keys have released four albums prior to Attack & Release––2002’s The Big Come Up, 2003’s Thickfreakness, 2004’s Rubber Factory, and 2006’sMagic Potion.
MUSICIANS The Black Keys: Dan Auerbach, guitars, vocals, and lots of other instruments Patrick Carney, drums and lots of other instruments
Additional Musicians: Danger Mouse, Hohner Bass 3, Moog and Korg synthesizers, piano, and some organ too Carla Monday, harmony vocals (2, 4, 5) Jessica Lea Mayfield, harmony vocal (11) Ralph Carney, jaw harp (2), contrabass clarinet (5), clarinet (6, 7), flute (8), concert bass (8) Marc Ribot, guitar solo (5, 9), rhythm guitar (6), slide guitar (10)
PRODUCTION CREDITS Produced by Danger Mouse Recorded by Paul Hamann August 9-23, 2007 at Suma Recording Studio, Painesville, OH, on the recording console that he and his father, Ken, built together in 1973 Mixed by Kennie Takahashi, Danger Mouse, and The Black Keys Mix Assistant: Todd “iTod” Monfalcone Mastered by Robert C. Ludwig at Gateway Mastering & DVD, Portland, ME
All songs written by The Black Keys, published by McMoore McLeest Publishing (BMI), administered by Chrysalis Music
Artwork & Design by Michael Carney
MAGIC POTION CD/LP
ABOUT THIS ALBUM
“Rare as it is to come across a band in its prime, at the flaming maximum of its powers, there's no mistaking it when it happens: A sense of inevitability, of necessity even, converges with a sense of surprise, and a fierce, ancient gladness. Wednesday night at Avalon, Ohio's Black Keys reminded a packed house what it means to be on.” —Boston Globe
The Black Keys' Nonesuch debut, Magic Potion, was released in September 2006 on CD and on vinyl. The LP was pressed on 180-gram vinyl and includes instant-download album MP3s.
Childhood friends Dan Auerbach (guitar/vocals) and drummer Patrick Carney (drums) were mowing lawns in Akron when they made their first, self-released, record, 2002’s The Big Come Up; they embarked on their first tour that year, after being fired from their day jobs. Following enthusiastic responses from audiences and critics, the two men decided to remain unemployed so they could devote all of their time to their music. They practiced and toured relentlessly, then released their second album, Thickfreakness (their first on Fat Possum), in 2003. Later that year, they moved into an abandoned tire factory and set up their own rehearsal and recording studio, where they made 2004’s highly praisedRubber Factory—named for their unique space. Entertainment Weekly called Rubber Factory one of the best albums of the year, saying of The Black Keys, “They revive the notion that rock & roll should be murky and mysterious, a stumble into a dark alley late at night,” while The New Yorker said, “Direct, consistent, powerful, and loud, the record is one of the best rock releases of the year.” (The band’s final Fat Possum record, an EP of Junior Kimbrough covers called Chulahoma, was released this spring.)
The Black Keys live shows are fast becoming legendary among fans and critics alike. The Washington Post described the sound at a recent DC show as, “A giant crashing that is louder and fuller and grimmer than a drummer and guitarist alone should be able to produce,” and went on to say that “Auerbach is a ferociously talented guitarist whose leads bristle and burn as if the guitar were a molten mass. And Carney wails on his drums as if he were taking part in an anger management therapy exercise. The pair’s concert is as much a show of force as it is a musical performance.”
MUSICIANS The Black Keys are Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney
PRODUCTION CREDITS Produced and recorded by The Black Keys at The Audio Eagle Nest, Akron, OH Mastered at Magnetic North by Chris Keffer
All songs written by The Black Keys, McMoore McLesst Publishing (BMI), administered by Chrysalis Music
Artwork and design by Michael Carney
1. Keep Your Hands Off Her
2. Have Mercy On Me
3. Work Me
4. Meet Me In the City
5. Nobody But You
6. My Mind Is Ramblin
7. Junior's Widow
The Black Keys are Dan Auerbach, guitars, vocals Patrick Carney, drums
All Songs Produced by The Black Keys Recorded at Audio Eagle Recording Nest, Akron OH July 2005 by Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach
All songs written by Junior Kimbrough All songs published by Mockingbird Songs (BMI), Administered by Wixen Music
Artwork & Design by Michael Carney
RUBBER FACTORY CD/LP
1. When The Lights Go Out 2. 10 A.M. Automatic 3. Just Couldn't Tie Me Down 4. All Hands Against His Own 5. The Desperate Man 6. Girl Is On My Mind 7. The Lengths 8. Grown So Ugly 9. Stack Shot Billy 10. Act Nice and Gentle 11. Aeroplane Blues 12. Keep Me 13. Till I Get My Way
MUSICIANS The Black Keys are Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney
All songs Performed by The Black Keys
CREDITS All Songs Produced by The Black Keys
Recorded at Sentient Sound January-May 2004 in Akron, OH by Patrick Carney
Mixed by The Black Keys
Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound Artwork and Design by Michael Carney
1. Thickfreakness 2. Hard Row 3. Set You Free 4. Midnight in Her Eyes 5. Have Love Will Travel 6. Hurt Like Mine 7. Everywhere I Go 8. No Trust 9. If You See Me 10. Hold Me in Your Arms 11. I Cry Alone
The Black Keys are Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney All Songs Performed by The Black Keys All Songs Produced by Patrick Carney Engineered by Dan Auerbach, Patrick Carney Recorded at Studio 45 December 2002 in Akron, OH by Patrick Carney, Except track 3 recorded 50% by Jeff Saltzman at Studio 880 Mixed by Patrick Carney Artwork and Art Direction by Michael Carney All songs written by D. Auerbach, Except track 2, written by Dan and Chuck Auerbach All music written by The Black Keys All songs published by McMoore McLesst Publishing (BMI), Administered by Wixen Music Except: Track 5, Written by Junior Kimbrough / Published by Big Legal Mess Publishing (BMI), administered by Wixen Music
THE BIG COME UP CD/LP
1. Busted 2. Do The Rump 3. I'll Be Your Man 4. Countdown 5. Breaks, The 6. Run Me Down 7. Leavin' Trunk 8. Heavy Soul 9. She Said, She Said 10. Them Eyes 11. Yearnin' 12. Brooklyn Bound 13. 240 Years Before Your Time
The Black Keys are Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney All Songs Performed by The Black Keys Dan Auerbach, triplofonic guitar, vocals Patrick Carney, broke beat kit Gabe Fulvimar, moog bass on track 4, 5, 8, and 9 All Songs Produced by Patrick Carney using his patented recording technique known as medium-fidelity. This system requires equal parts broke-ass shit to equal parts hot-ass shit. Recorded at Synth Etiquette Analog Sound, Akron OH from January-February 2002 Mastered by Dave Schultz at Digiprep, Los Angeles CA Cover design by Michael Carney and Patrick Boissel Photography by Michael Carney All songs written by D. Auerbach, P. Carney All songs published by McMoore McLesst Publishing (BMI), Administered by Wixen Music, Except: Track 2, Written by Junior Kimbrough / Published by Mockingbird Blues Publishing Ltd (BMI), Administered by Wixen Music Publishing; Track 7, Written by Traditional; and Track 9, Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney