The Black Keys (formed 2001)
The Black Keys are an American garage rock duo who have won 7 Grammys and released four number 1 singles.
Childhood and formation: Guitarist and vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney met as children both living in Akron, Ohio. They became friends when they attended Firestone High School despite being in different social groups; Auerbach was a soccer team captain and Carney was an 'outcast'. They started playing music together in 1996 because Auerbach had a guitar and Carney had four-track recorder and drum kit. They both attended the University of Akron but soon dropped out. Auerbach wanted to make a living from performing but needed a demo so he roped in Carney who helped him out with recording space and equipment while Auerbach hunted down a backing group. When they didn't show, the pair played together instead and ended up recording a six track demo which got them signed to Alive records. The band are named The Black Keys after a schizophrenic artist that they knew named Alfred McMoore kept leaving messages on their answering machines calling their fathers names of 'black keys' like D Flat.
Musical career: The Black Keys recorded their debut album 'The Big Come Up' in Carney's basement and released it in 2002. It included 8 original tracks and 5 covers including from blues stars Muddy Waters, Junior Kimbrough and R. L. Burnside. It later landed them a deal with Fat Possum Records. After the album was released they made their live debut at Cleveland's Beachland Ballroom and Tavern in front of just 4 people. They released their second album 'Thickfreakness' soon after signing to Fat Possum and recorded it within 14 hours. From it, three singles were release: 'Set You Free', 'Hard Row', and a cover of 'Have Love, Will Travel'. It was also named third-best album of 2003 by Time. One of their first festivals was at SXSW in Texas which took them a full day to drive themselves to in a 1994 Chrysler van. An English mayonnaise company offered them £200,000 to use one of their songs in an advert but they declined out of fear that it would alienate their fanbase. They toured throughout 2003 playing overseas and opening for the likes of Sleater-Kinney, Beck and Dashboard Confessional. However, they cancelled their European dates due to exhaustion. They later played at Reading and Leeds Festivals. In 2004, they were struggling to sell any records and so began licensing their music letting their song 'Set You Free' be used in a Nissan commercial. That year saw them play at Coachella and Bonnaroo festivals. They also released their third album 'Rubber Factory' named after where they had to move their recording studio to; an old tyre-manufacturing factory. It was their first charting album and they had comedian David Cross direct the video for one of its singles '10 A.M. Automatic'. They released their first live video album 'Live' in 2005 after it was recorded at The Metro Theatre in Sydney, Australia. They left Fat Possum in 2006 after releasing covers EP 'Chulahoma: The Songs of Junior Kimbrough' and signed to Nonesuch Records through which they released fourth album 'Magic Potion'. They then embarked on their largest tour yet in many 1,000 seat venues. The first professional studio album they released was fifth effort 'Attack & Release' in 2008 which they had Danger Mouse produce after their original project with Ike Turner fell through. It opened at number 14 on the Billboard 200. That year they supported band Devo at a concert for presidential candidate Barack Obama at the Akron Civic Theatre. They also toured with Liam Finn in Europe and released concert video 'Live at the Crystal Ballroom'.
Brief hiatus: In 2009, Auerbach and Carney struggled to get along due to Auerbach's hatred for Carney's then wife Denise Grollmus. Auerbach released a solo album called 'Keep It Hid' but Carney felt betrayed and went on to form his own band called Drummer, releasing their first album 'Feel Good Together' in September that year.
Reconciliation and breakthrough success: When the band reconciled in 2009, they played alongside the likes of The Roots and Public Enemy at the Roots Picnic on the Festival Pier in Philadelphia. They then featured on a collaborative album called 'Blakroc' which featured various hip hop artists such as Mos Def, Ludacris and RZA. In 2010, they released their sixth album 'Brothers' which sold 1.5 million copies worldwide and reached number 3 on the Billboard 200. The lead single, 'Tighten Up', spent 10 weeks at number one on the US Alternative chart and its video won the MTV Video Music Award for Breakthrough Video. The album had the duo win three out of a possible five Grammys and they were subsequently in high demand for shows everywhere. They cancelled several dates in Australia, New Zealand and Europe, however, again suffering from exhaustion. In 2011, they released their more up tempo seventh studio album 'El Camino', produced and co-written by Danger Mouse, which opened at number 2 on the Billboard 200. The lead single, 'Lonely Boy', reached number 2 on the Australian Singles Chart and was certified nine-times platinum in Canada. The song and album went on to win three out of five Grammys yet again at the 2013 awards. The album sparked their first headlining tour in 2012, performing in Europe and North America.
It's perhaps fitting that my prevailing memory of this year's Isle of Wight Festival will be guitars. This was after all the 45th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix's legendary performance on the Island, something that was being widely celebrated by festival organiser John Giddings and his team across the site. Fender, for example, brought some specially designed guitars to the party for artists including You Me At 6 to play, and there was also a world record attempt for the most number of people in one place to be wearing a mask, the face in question was naturally Hendrix himself. Despite that backdrop, it was some of the guitarists who played across the weekend that demonstrated the power of the instrument and reinforced that guitar based rock isn't on its last legs as some have speculated over the past few years.
The festival got into full swing with a Stones-esque swagger on Friday afternoon when The Struts took to the Main Stage. Their enthusiasm signalled a continuation of their set from the previous year's festival, indeed they are an ideal opening act when you want to energise a crowd. Their appearance at Download the following day, will no doubt have had a similar effect. There seemed to be a Rolling Stones theme to many of the acts getting the festival underway. Over in the Big Top The Ruen Brothers covered 'Miss You' during their rousing set that was well received.
The first moment that sent a shiver down my spine this year was the Counting Crows though. The guitar line to 'Round Here' sent a wave of excitement across the main arena. It was a strong opening statement in a nine song set that featured the likes of 'Mr Jones', 'Miami', and 'Rain King' into which singer Adam Duritz dropped some Elbow lyrics as a nod of the hat to Guy Garvey. If Counting Crows' guitars weren't haunting enough, it was actually The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach whose riffs were the most powerful and elemental of the day. The dirty Blues grit of Auerbach's playing was like a roll of thunder that saw the heavens open to drench the crowd in torrential rain. While much of the set was dedicated to material culled from 'El Camino' and 'Brothers', rather than recent record 'Turn Blue', the band's graduation to a headlining slot was well deserved and warranted. The final song of the set 'Little Black Submarines', which builds from a delicate solo performance to a dramatic climax, utilised every trick in the book for The Black Keys' expanded touring band. If Patrick Carney's drums and Auerbach's guitars are the perfect union on record, it seems their live shows rightly now have the power to command top billing with the inclusion of bassist Richard Swift and keyboardist John Clement Wood.
Continue reading: Isle Of Wight Festival - 2015 Live Review
The IoW organisers attempted to break the world record for most masks worn simultaneously at one place to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Hendrix's set.
Amid the fun of four massive headliners over three nights – The Black Keys and The Prodigy sharing the slot on Friday, Blur on Saturday and Fleetwood Mac on Sunday – the IoW chiefs had been encouraging the 50,000 festival-goers to buy cut-out Jimi Hendrix masks in order raise money for its nominated charity WellChild.
IoW made the world record attempt to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Hendrix's 1970 set
We preview some of the top acts on the bill this year.
Summer festival season kicks into high gear this weekend with the first big event of the calendar taking place on the south coast. Tens of thousands of people will be heading to Seaclose Park on the Isle of Wight for a bill, which is top heavy on heritage acts that bring with them a sense of nostalgia. While recent years have welcomed the likes of Jay-Z, Calvin Harris and Kings Of Leon to headline, this time round it seems big names with an even bigger back catalogue are being used as the main attraction.
However, many of the headline acts seem to be experiencing a renaissance of sorts. For example, Blur, whose new album 'The Magic Whip', their first since 2003, has won critical acclaim. The former Britpop poster boys will take to the Main Stage on Saturday night in the knowledge that this is one of the first times that UK crowds will get to see this new material given the live treatment. You can expect a set heavy on those new songs, but peppered with all the classic singles, certainly a formula for a memorable festival appearance. It's a similar story for The Prodigy who'll headline the Main Stage on Friday after The Black Keys. Both acts have played the festival in recent years and here they're repeating the joint top billing that was given to Biffy Clyro and Calvin Harris last year. As with Blur, The Prodigy's new album, 'The Day Is My Enemy', has revived interest in the band following an extended period out of the spotlight. Elsewhere, Fleetwood Mac will bring proceedings to a close on Sunday, bolstered by the return of Christine McVie to the band, a set covering Rumours era gems like 'Don't Stop' and 'Songbird' is a strong possibility.
Elton John and Mumford And Sons are leading the line-up.
Outside Lands organisers have finally unveiled the spectacular 2015 line-up for their eighth year, featuring headliners Elton John and Mumford And Sons. The event is set to bring its usual combination of music and munchies to San Francisco this August.
Joining Elton and Mumford are a range of equally exciting acts, both of the veteran and the up-and-coming variety. Man of the moment Sam Smith - whose already bagged a total of six awards this year, including four Grammys - will bring his pop genius to the stage, alongside The Black Keys who released their first chart-topping album last year, and Kendrick Lamar whose highly anticipated third album 'To Pimp A Butterfly' sailed to number one in both the US and the UK last week.
Patrick Carney's shoulder injury forces band to scrap Turn Blue World Tour dates.
The Black Keys have been forced to cancel their upcoming 2015 European tour dates following an accident which saw drummer Patrick Carney suffer a serious shoulder injury. They will be resuming their concert run in April.
Patrick Carney needs time to heal
Fans from the UK and Europe will be thoroughly disappointed to hear the news that seventeen concerts have been axed from February 16th to March 10th following Carney's injury, but rest assured they'll be up and running for their festival run and other global tour dates later this year. For those hoping that the Europe leg of their Turn Blue World Tour will be re-scheduled for a later time, we're afraid to reveal that you're out of luck. While the band attempted to find the time to squeeze in the dates, it is with regret that they have to announce that fans will have to wait for future shows. Full refunds on all tickets before March 10th have been made available.
Ride and The Strokes will be joined by The Black Keys, Patti Smith, The Replacements and more.
Fans and hopeful attendees of Barcelona's Primavera Sound were delighted to discover that the preview app they downloaded was a video game displaying the full line-up for the festival's fifteenth anniversary.
Already announced were Friday and Saturday's headliners Ride and The Strokes, and now they've been joined by a host of other equally incredible artists. Thursday sees The Black Keys leading the bill alongside The Replacements, who are hitting Spanish stages for the first time and Antony and the Johnsons, who've been doing plenty since their last Barcelona gig. Bringing some variation to Thursday proceedings are electronic virtuosos James Blake, Richie Hawtin and Simian Mobile Disco.
Continue reading: The 15th Anniversary Line-Up For Primavera Sound Is Finally Here!
For the fifth year running, the Governors Ball three day festival will take place in NYC.
Drake, The Black Keys, Florence And The Machine and Lana Del Rey are among the names confirmed for this year’s Governors Ball, to be held in New York’s Randall's Island from June 5th to 7th. The festival will mark the first time both Florence And The Machine and Lana Del Rey have played in NYC since 2012.
Drake will be heading to Randall's Island on June 5th
DJ DeadMau5, who will be playing his first NYC show since 2011 has also been confirmed, along with Bjork, My Morning Jacket, Ryan Adams, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, St. Vincent and Weird Al Yankovic.
The Friday night will see another rock / dance combination after the success of Biffy Clyro / Calvin Harris this year.
The two bands will perform on the Friday night of next year’s festival, although the order in which they’ll appear on stage has not yet been confirmed. Pharrell Williams, who has had runaway success as a solo artist in the last 18 months, will also be playing the festival.
U.S. blues-rockers The Black Keys will co-headline Isle of Wight with British veterans The Prodigy
Continue reading: Black Keys And The Prodigy To Co-Headline Isle Of Wight 2015
Ex-Weezer bassist Matt Sharp and his collaborative band The Rentals re-group with The Black Keys' Patrick Carney and unveil new album 'Lost In Alphaville'.
Newly signed to Polyvinyl Records, Matt Sharp's pop supergroup The Rentals are back after fifteen years with a new line-up featuring The Black Keys' Patrick Carney and their brand new album 'Lost In Alphaville'.
The Rentals are back with 'Lost In Alphaville'
The Rentals are the latest addition to the Polyvinyl roster, along the likes of Xiu Xiu, Generationals and Japandroids, with a line-up that has been shaken up and now includes Matt Sharp from Weezer, The Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney, Lucius vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, Ozma frontman Ryen Slegr and The Section Quartet viola player Lauren Chipman. Like a revolving door, artists are constantly leaving and joining the band with Sharp making an effort to surround himself with a variety of new musicians with each release. With Patrick Carney and the Lucius girls becoming some of the latest members, the new set-up seems especially exciting.
Continue reading: The Rentals Are Back With Members Of The Black Keys And Lucius [Listen]
Unlike her first record as Lana Del Rey, "Ultraviolence" is doing great with the critics so far
Lana Del Rey’s sophomore album (post-transformation, that is), Ultraviolence, is finally out after some questionable promotional tactics. The album is now up for the top spot in the iTunes chart and LDR has her work cut out for her in competing with Sam Smith’s debut record In The Lonely Hour.
Lana Del Rey returns as a perfectly crafted drama queen in Ultraviolence.
Besides her competition, Del Rey is up against some unfortunate odds; her previous album, Born to Die, was panned by just about every critic in the Western Hemisphere and a good chunk of the hipster crowd.
Continue reading: Reviews: Lana Del Rey, The Concept, Hits Her Stride With "Ultraviolence"
Lana Del Rey and Dan Auerbach, vocalist and guitarist of The Black Keys, decided to work together on Del Rey's latest album 'Ultraviolence' whilst at a strip club in New York!
Lana Del Rey and Dan Auerbach ended up in a New York strip club.
It seems the pair had not previously met but were aware of each other's music. In an interview with The Sun, the singer described her meeting with Auerbach in New York and how the pair had met for dinner and wound up in a strip club. She said ''Dan and I weren't friends before this. We both knew each other's music, but it's not that we listened to it a lot of the time. The thing that was fun about Dan was we went out one night for a meal and ended up in a strip club in New York."
2nd September, 2015