The Black Keys Biography

The success of acts such as the White Stripes and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion helped open the door for other minimalist, bluesy rockers, such as the Akron, Ohio, USA-based duo, the Black Keys. Unlike the other aforementioned bands, the Black Keys are more of a straight ahead blues rock outfit, especially evident in the howling vocals of Dan Auerbach (Daniel Auerbach, 14 May 1979, Akron, Ohio, USA). With Auerbach doubling on guitar and joined by drummer Patrick Carney (b. April 1980, USA), the duo first started jamming together back in their high school days, recording four-track demos of originals from 1997 through 2000. During this time, Auerbach travelled to locales such as Greenville, Mississippi, to learn from his blues mentors, that included James ‘T-Model’ Ford.’

After taking a break, Auerbach and Carney picked up where they left off in 2001, recorded a demo, and signed a contract with indie label Alive Records. 2002’s debut, The Big Come Up, earned the Black Keys a surprising amount of publicity and accolades worldwide, helping to build a healthy buzz in the process. Wasting little time, the Black Keys returned to the studio to record their follow-up, Thickfreakness, issued on renowned blues label Fat Possum in 2003. The following year’s The Moan EP and the long-playing Rubber Factory were thrilling blasts of raw blues rock that generated a positive reaction from the mainstream music press.

The Black Keys’ final recording for Fat Possum was the 2006 covers EP Chulahoma, which paid tribute to the work of the late bluesman Junior Kimbrough (the duo had already recorded a couple of his tracks on their first two albums). After switching to Nonesuch Records, they made their major label debut later in the year with Magic Potion. The duo’s real breakthrough came with the 2008 release Attack & Release, on which they teamed up with the in-demand producer Danger Mouse.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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