To What We’re Listening (and Youtubing): The Black Keys’ new single Lonely Boy

As usual, I swore at the beginning of the football season that I wouldn’t travel to The Game Formerly Known As The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (“TGFKATWLOCP”). The many reasons for my apathy about this game included: recently Georgia has refused to put up much of a fight, Jacksonville is so overrated, coordinating getting to the game is always a royal pain, and the stadium, while neat to look at when its split blue and red 50/50, doesn’t provide anywhere near the joy of being in The Swamp. Et cetera.

But just like in years past, here we are about 24 hours to kick-off, and my willpower has faded. So I’ll be leaving in a couple hours for TGFKATWLOCP, and I’m actually pretty excited about it. We’re allegedly including a bourbon fountain in our tailgate this year, which is the good kind of bad idea that makes you scared for your life, and more importantly, your bar license. It’s a bright spot on a weekend that otherwise features grown men dressing like vampires, or drag queens, or the ultimate: vampire drag queens.

One other bright spot is that The Black Keys (Dan Auerbach – vocals/guitar and Patrick Carney – drums) dropped their first single from forthcoming album, El Camino (the cover of which inexplicably [to me] has a photo of a 90s vintage minivan on it). The new song, Lonely Boy, already has a funny video up on their Youtube channel. While you’re there, check out the videos for Tighten Up and Howlin for You. They’ll all make you laugh.

This new album was recorded at Dan’s new studio in Music City, USA. In the past, they’ve recorded all over the place, including Pat’s basement, an old rubber factory (for an album titled…wait for it…Rubber Factory), and Muscle Shoals Sound Studios (founded by a group that defected from FAME, including David Hood, father of Drive By Truckers front man Patterson Hood). AD tells me their experience recording in Alabama was suboptimal, which is sad to hear. All the same, they’ve put out consistently strong bluesy rock over a series of records, no small feat for a couple of white dudes in a power duo. Though to be fair, if a white dude is trying to sing the blues with any kind of authenticity, coming of age in post-industrial Ohio can’t hurt. If the new single is any indication, they’re close to the mark again.

Good listening, Godspeed, and Go Gators.

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4 thoughts on “To What We’re Listening (and Youtubing): The Black Keys’ new single Lonely Boy

  1. Re: Black Keys on Muscle Shoals —

    GROSS: That’s “Howlin’ For You,” from The Black Keys’ latest album, “Brothers.” And the album is nominated for four Grammys. And my guests are the members of the band: Dan Auerbach, who sings and plays guitar and Patrick Carney, who is the drummer and they co-write the songs.

    Now, this latest album was produced at the Muscle Shoals Studio in Alabama. Was it the history of that studio that made you want to go there to record?

    Mr. AUERBACH: Yeah. I wanted to go to an old studio. I had a few that were on the list and one of them was Sam Phillips Recording in Memphis. There was Robin Hood Bryan’s studio in Tyler, Texas. And I guess we sort of got talked out of those ones and talked into going to Muscle Shoals Sound. It was an experience for sure. I mean I’m into old studios but it wasn’t like we were trying to make a throwback record.

    GROSS: So do you feel like you got a special sound from being at Muscle Shoals?

    Mr. AUERBACH: No. Absolutely not. I don’t think we did.

    (Soundbite of laughter)

    GROSS: Really?

    Mr. AUERBACH: Yeah. Because when we got there, it’s the same building, but all of the treatment had been ripped out. There was none of the same equipment. It didn’t resemble anything. It didn’t have any of those same microphones. Nothing. So it was pretty much just like a location recording. We brought our own equipment and that was it.

    Mr. CARNEY: It’s like, you know, when you see an old Wendy’s that’s a Chinese restaurant now?

    GROSS: Mm-hmm. Yup.

    Mr. CARNEY: Or an old—? Yeah, it’s that. It’s pretty much what it was like.

    GROSS: Right.

    Mr. AUERBACH: And that was it, you know, and we’ve kind of realized we can make it happen wherever we go. I mean it was, it might’ve been inspirational the first time we walked through the doors but then it wasn’t pretty much immediately.

    Full interview at: http://www.wbur.org/npr/133276978/the-fresh-air-interview-the-black-keys

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