The Black Keys are no doubt used to rocking wherever they play, but last night's intimate set at New York City's Housing Works Bookstore Café must have been a rare experience for the band, as it certainly was for the lucky 300 or so fans in attendance. It was the capstone event of their three-day pop-up store at the bookstore/café, which launched Tuesday upon release of their latest Nonesuch album, Brothers, and a benefit for Housing Works' advocacy on behalf of New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. Tonight, the band and a few thousand more of its fans will enjoy a rare experience of a different scale when The Black Keys open for Pearl Jam at Madison Square Garden.
While in New York, the duo, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, stopped by the New York Times studio to appear on the latest episode of the Times Music Popcast. They talk with the show's host, Melena Ryzik, about the making of their new album at Alabama's historic Muscle Shoals studio and perform the album track "Howlin' for You." Auerbach says of the performance: "We geared this version more toward the New York Times reader: really aggressive, fast, and fuzzed-out." Hear for yourself by tuning in online now at artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com.
Prior to their trip to New York, The Black Keys recorded a session with NPR's World Cafe from Auerbach's studio in the band's hometown of Akron, Ohio. The two talk with host David Dye and perform four songs—"Too Afraid to Love," "Tighten Up," "Everlasting Light," and "Howlin' for You"—for today's episode of World Cafe, now available online at npr.org.
BuzzBin magazine, "the alternative choice of Akron & Canton," Ohio, featured an interview with Carney earlier this month about the new record and the Ohio-bred band's career, including his Auerbach's early years in Akron.
"On the surface," says BuzzBin writer Mark C. Horn, "it appears that everything the 30-year-old drummer and his band mate, singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach, touch turns to gold. The Akron twosome, which has put Rubber City back on the musical map, has a do-it-yourself, blue-collar work ethic and they have become a true rock success story."
You'll find the article at buzzbinmagazine.com.
PopMatters says the new album finds the band "regaining some of the sweaty basement immediacy that characterized their best work." Reviewer David Gassman explains: "Rather than simply revisit their old records, however, they manage to balance the raw aesthetic of their earlier albums with a quest for new and interesting sounds." Gassman concludes: "That the Black Keys are still exploring new territories with enthusiasm is cause for celebration, and Brothers is the reason why." Read the complete review at popmatters.com.
OC Weekly gives the album an A-, with reviewer Nate Jackson citing "a wealth of interesting, stylistic brush strokes that you're not going to find on Rubber Factory, or any of the classic Keys albums." Read more at ocweekly.com.