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Black Keys

'Freak' Of Nature

CheeksFor Akron, Ohio-based duo the Black Keys, their second album, "thickfreakness," is another helping of the group's decidedly retro blues/rock hybrid, augmented by covers of Junior Kimbrough's "Everywhere I Go" and Richard Berry's "Have Love Will Travel." Like its 2002 predecessor, "The Big Come Up," the 11-track set was recorded solely by guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney in the basement of a house in a particularly gritty Akron neighborhood. It will be released this week via Fat Possum Records.

"We actually recorded it in 14 straight hours one day and did a couple of overdubs the next day," Auerbach says. "In this neighborhood, we can make noise until 8 a.m. It's the kind if place where the guy across the street seems to have constantly have a [police monitored] ankle bracelet on!"

You wouldn't be wrong to assume Auerbach had been honing his vocal chops in Mississippi juke joints for decades, but in reality, he's just a 23-year-old kid with an uncommonly emotive voice, who loves to play music with lifelong friend Carney. "It has always been an ongoing thing for us, this whole infatuation with getting in the basement and creating and recording," Auerbach admits. In May, the Black Keys will tour the East Coast and Midwest and are planning to play a handful of European festivals later this summer.