For more than 20 years, childhood friends Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have come together in settings ranging from musty midwestern basements to expensive Hollywood multitrack facilities to the kind of custom-built space where their remarkable album “Dropout Boogie” was recorded, and there has been one constant: When these two musicians get in a room together with no distractions besides their instruments, the songs instantly emerge. Recorded at Auerbach’s Nashville studio, Easy Eye Sound, “Dropout Boogie” is the best execution yet of The Black Keys’ finest instincts: a 10-track testament to the enduring power of their signature brand of elemental blues rock.
Whether it’s the electrifying jolt of lead single “Wild Child,” the guttural stomp of “It Ain’t Over” or the hypnotic blues groove of “Good Love (feat. Billy F Gibbons),” “Dropout Boogie” exudes a sense of ease and the confidence to mix new ideas with classic impulses. The latest album follows the band’s 2021 Grammy-nominated “Delta Kream,” a project that renewed their faith in their chemistry, although the duo has always prided themselves on the ability to work together instinctively. “Delta Kream” was the band’s fifth consecutive Top 10 debut on the Billboard 200 and scored career peaks in several countries, as well as earning a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album.
It may be pure coincidence that the release of “Dropout Boogie” on May 13, 2022, came one day before the 20th anniversary of The Black Keys’ debut album, “The Big Come Up,” but the symbolism isn’t lost on Carney and Auerbach. Auerbach says: “When I sit down and play with Pat, I’m instantly transported to a basement in Akron. And it’s a really good feeling. It’s the natural chemistry Pat and I have. Being in a band this long is a testament to that. It was a real gift that we were given.” Carney agrees: “After 20 years of making music together, we've made an album that we think is one of our best, and we had more fun making it than any of the others.”
The Velveteers, a primal rock trio from the mountains of Boulder, Colo., and made up of singer/guitarist Demi Demitro and drummers Baby Pottersmith and Jonny Fig, unveiled their debut album, “Nightmare Daydream,” in October 2021. Produced by Grammy Award-winning artist Dan Auerbach, the record is the long-awaited first statement from a band that formed in 2014 and has been carefully honing its sound and identity ever since. “Charmer And The Snake” was the record’s first single. Growing up in Boulder, Demitro rebelled through her guitar, practicing up to nine hours a day and neglecting schoolwork to develop a playing style that is heavy but agile, theatrical but nuanced, grounded in rock history but wholly idiosyncratic. With Pottersmith and Fig playing on a conjoined drum set, the band developed a reputation for its rip-roaring performances. Clips of the band’s live shows and DIY videos made it to Auerbach, who invited them to his studio in Nashville to produce “Nightmare Daydream.”“I instantly dug them,” says Auerbach. “They’re amazing live, and their videos are so creative. And they just sound so powerful. Any time you doubletrack drums on a record, it’s going to sound heavy. Then you put that together with this baritone guitar player who is so unique, and it’s bombastic. There’s nothing like them.”
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