The two-man duo comprising the Black Keys, singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney, were in their early twenties when their debut, The Big Come Up, was issued in 2002. From Akron, OH, they play close-to-the-bone, raw blues-rock, the only instrumentation being Auerbach’s guitar, Carney’s drums, and the occasional organ.
Auerbach had a fine, mature, lived-in blues voice for one so young, and the group’s material worked in funk, soul, and rock influences from the likes of Jimi Hendrix and James Brown that avoided undue repetition of the overdone chord progressions and stock riffs common to so many such acts. Before the year’s end, the band inked a deal with Fat Possum.
The Black Keys’ second album, Thickfreakness, was recorded in 14 straight hours one day in 2002. To prepare for its April 2003 release, the duo was handpicked by Sleater-Kinney as the opening act for their winter tour of North America. Rubber Factory followed in 2004 and earned notices as one of the best records of the year. A live DVD arrived in 2005, followed by the Chulahoma EP and the full-length Magic Potion in 2006. Three years later, the Keys issued the Danger Mouse-produced Attack & Release, an album rumored to have originally been planned as a collaboration between the duo and Ike Turner prior to Turner’s death in December 2007. – Richie Unterberger