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Houston Chronicle: Four Stars for BlakRoc, "A Sinewy Masterpiece," Now Available Digitally on Nonesuch.com

BlakRoc [cover]

BlakRoc, the album that brought together The Black Keys, Damon Dash, and a star-studded lineup of hip-hop MCs, made its digital debut on iTunes two weeks ago, on Black Friday, and was released in the UK the following week, with critics and fans on both sides of the Atlantic loving the collaboration. The album is now available digitally in the Nonesuch Store at nonesuch.com for fans in the US and Canada at the same audiophile-quality 320kbps MP3s available throughout the site.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Tony Norman lists the new album among his 12 favorite albums of the year and says every track is "brilliantly played." The Houston Chronicle gives the album four stars. For all the past efforts at a rock/rap mix, good and bad, "Blackroc is gripping because it's a new species," says the Chronicle's Andrew Dansby. "It falls under the hip-hop genus while putting it in a context that suggests its scrappy early years, rather than the over-produced homogenous state it finds itself today. Rap exec Damon Dash and producers/house band the Black Keys have eliminated the worst aspects of rap albums ... and created a sinewy masterpiece." Read the review at chron.com.

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The A.V. Club gives the album an A. Reviewer Chris Martins was similarly wary of a rock/rap meeting, based on past projects, but says BlakRoc "defeats all odds by sounding both organic and cohesive." Martins's conclusion: "Dash and the Keys score an undeniable win by keeping the samples homemade and the production pared down, and by hand-picking collaborators who know how to sink into a groove. With any luck, Blakroc has effectively consigned the term 'crossover' to the previous millennium." Read the complete review at avclub.com.

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The Black Keys joined fellow BlakRoc contributors Jim Jones and Mos Def on The Late Show with David Letterman Tuesday night to perform what Pitchfork called "a smoothly psychedelic rendition" of the album track "Ain't Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo)." Says Pitchfork: "As on the self-titled BlakRoc album, the collaboration comes off way more calm and unforced than anyone could've expected, with the Black Keys' smeary blues-rock seamlessly meshing with Mos' moans and Jones' unpretentious tough talk." The Keys then joined Wu-Tang Clan's RZA for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last night.

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