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The Black Keys

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It's too facile to call the Black Keys counterparts of the White Stripes: they share several surface similarities -- their names are color-coded, they hail from the Midwest, they're guitar-and-drum blues-rock duos -- but the Black Keys are their own distinct thing, a tougher, rougher rock band with a purist streak that never surfaced in the Stripes. But that's not to say that the Black Keys are blues traditionalists: even on their 2002 debut, The Big Come Up, they covered the Beatles' psychedelic classic "She Said She Said," indicating a fascination with sound and texture that would later take hold on such latter-day albums as 2008's Attack & Release, where guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney teamed up with sonic architect Danger Mouse. In between those two records, the duo established the Black Keys as a rock & roll band with a brutal, primal force, and songwriters of considerable depth, as evidenced on such fine albums as 2003's Thickfreakness and 2004's Rubber Factory. Natives of Akron, Ohio, the Black Keys released their debut, The Big Come Up, in 2002, receiving strong reviews and sales, and leading to a contract with Fat Possum by the end of the year. That label released Thickfreakness, recorded in a 14-hour session, in the spring of 2003, and the Keys supported the album with an opening tour for Sleater-Kinney. The Black Keys' momentum escalated considerably with their 2004 album Rubber Factory, which not only received strong reviews but some high-profile play, including a video for "10 A.M. Automatic" featuring comedian David Cross. The band's highly touted live act was documented on a 2005 DVD, released the same year as Chulahoma -- an EP of blues covers -- appeared. The Black Keys made the leap to the major labels with 2006's Magic Potion, a moodier record that continued to build their fan base. The band capitalized on that moodiness with 2008's Attack & Release, whose production by Danger Mouse signaled that the Black Keys were hardly just blues-rock purists. Salvaged from sessions intended as a duet album with Ike Turner, who died before the record could be finished, the album was the Black Keys' biggest to date, debuting in the Billboard Top 15 and earning strong reviews. Following their second live DVD, the Black Keys spent 2009 on side projects, with Auerbach releasing his solo album Keep It Hid in the beginning of the year, and Carney forming the band Drummer, in which he played bass. At the end of 2009, Blakroc, a rap-rock collaboration between the band and producer Damon Dash, appeared. Brothers, released in 2010, became their biggest album yet, generating the hit singles "Tighten Up," "Howlin' for You," and "Next Girl." It also saw the Keys returning to their tough blues roots with a new grandness, earning three Grammy Awards, landing on year-end lists from NPR to Rolling Stone, and going gold. The band offered a more straight-ahead rock & roll sound with 2011's El Camino. On the strength of the hit single "Lonely Boy," El Camino debuted at number two on Billboard's Top 200 and the Black Keys worked the album hard throughout the next year, releasing "Gold on the Ceiling" as the record's second single and touring heavily. In the fall of 2012, the Tour Rehearsal Tapes EP -- a brief collection of live-in-the-studio run-throughs of 2012 material -- was released. Once again tapping Danger Mouse to produce a follow-up, the band went back into the studio in summer 2013 to record. Standing in contrast to the short, spiky rock & roll of El Camino, Turn Blue had a psychedelic undercurrent that could be heard on its preceding singles "Fever" and "Turn Blue." The album appeared early in May 2014 and promptly debuted at the top of the pop charts. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Albums by
The Black Keys

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    11 songs

    On Air

    Turn Blue

    13 songs

    On Air

    Rubber Factory

    11 songs

    On Air

    Thickfreakness

    11 songs

    On Air

    El Camino

    15 songs

    On Air

    Brothers

    11 songs

    On Air

    Attack & Release

    11 songs

    On Air

    Magic Potion

    4 songs

    On Air

    Your Touch

    1 song

    On Air

    Weight of Love

    1 song

    On Air

    Gotta Get Away

    1 song

    On Air

    Fever

    2 songs

    On Air

    Little Black Submarines

    1 song

    On Air

    Gold On The Ceiling

    1 song

    On Air

    Lonely Boy

    1 song

    On Air

    Ohio

    1 song

    On Air

    Tighten Up

    2 songs

    On Air

    Strange Times

    8 songs

    On Air

    Chulahoma: The Songs of Junior Kimbrough [7 Tracks]

    13 songs

    On Air

    The Big Come Up

    1 song

    On Air

    The Baddest Man Alive

    6 songs

    On Air

    The Tour Rehearsal Tapes

    20 songs

    On Air

    El Camino [Bonus CD] [Live Bonus Tracks]

    13 songs

    On Air

    Camino [Deluxe Edition with Bonus 7"]

    10 songs

    On Air

    Rubber Factory

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Top Songs by
The Black Keys

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Lonely Boy
  3.   Howlin' for You
  4.   Tighten Up
  5.   Gold on the Ceiling
  6.   Strange Times
  7.   Little Black Submarines
  8.   Fever
  9.   Your Touch
  10.   I Got Mine
  11.   Next Girl
  12.   Set You Free
  13.   10 A.M. Automatic
  14.   Gotta Get Away
  15.   Have Love Will Travel
  16.   Everlasting Light
  17.   Psychotic Girl
  18.   Never Gonna Give You Up
  19.   Thickfreakness
  20.   Girl Is on My Mind
  21.   The Only One
  22.   You're the One
  23.   She's Long Gone
  24.   Dearest
  25.   Meet Me in the City
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
The Black Keys

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    The Black Keys: I Am The DJ

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    Alternative Deep Dive

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    Top 50 Alternative Songs of 2014

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    Modern Blues

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    Thompson Square: I Am The DJ

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    Fired Up Hits

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    The Strokes: DNA

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    55 Best Ideas In Music History

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    Alternative Hits

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    All Time Alternative 120

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    Cage the Elephant: I Am The DJ

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    Alt. Hard Rock

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    Led Zeppelin: DNA

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    Jack White: DNA

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