The members of Akron, Ohio-based rock duo the Black Keys may not be blood related, but the title of their upcoming album reflects their deep bond. Due May 18 on Nonesuch, “Brothers” is the Black Keys’ sixth studio record and was largely tracked at the legendary Muscle Shoals Studio in Muscle Shoals, Ala.
Additional work was done at Keys’ guitarist Dan Auerbach’s Akron studio as well as the Bunker in Brooklyn, N.Y. “Brothers” was mainly produced by the band, with the exception of one Danger Mouse-produced track, “Tighten Up.”
“Brothers” features 14 originals and a cover of Jerry Butler’s “Never Gonna Give Up On You.” In a statement, drummer Patrick Carney says, “Dan and I grew up a lot as individuals and musicians prior to making this album. Our relationship was tested in many ways but at the end of the day, we’re brothers, and I think these songs reflect that.”
The album is highlighted by “Next Girl,” a Zeppelin-y blast of fuzzed-out guitar, and “Howlin’ for You,” which features a “da da da” chant and a drum beat akin to Gary Glitter’s glam-rock classic “Rock and Roll (Part Two).”
“Brothers” is the follow-up to 2008’s Danger Mouse-produced “Attack & Release” which has sold a career-best 206,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
So far, a few tour dates have trickled out in support of “Brothers,” including April 8 in Iowa City, Iowa, April 18 in Miami and April 19 in Orlando, Fla. The Keys will also perform at the Bonnaroo festival in mid-June and July 27 at New York’s Central Park Summerstage.
In 2009, Carney and Auerbach took time away from the Black Keys to pursue a variety of projects. Auerbach released his first Nonesuch solo record, “Keep It Hid,” and Carney debuted his side project Drummer, which released an album on his own Audio Eagle record label.
But the big story last year was the Black Keys’ shift into the world of hip-hop. Recording under the name of Blakroc, the Keys collaborated with rappers like Jim Jones, Mos Def, Q-Tip, Raekwon and RZA. The self-titled project debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Heatseakers chart and has sold 47,000 copies so far. Details are scant, but Auerbach and Carney are planning to release a second volume of Blackroc music at some point in the future.
In addition to his regular gig with the Black Keys, Auerbach has devoted much time in recent years to producing bands. Up next is a spring session with former Dr. Dog drummer Juston Stens, who is working on his first solo project.
Here is the track list for “Brothers”:
“Howlin’ For You”
“She’s Long Gone”
“The Only One”
“Too Afraid To Love You”
“Ten Cent Pistol”
“The Go Getter”
“I’m Not The One”
“Never Gonna Give Up On You”