Akron, Ohio-based rock duo the Black Keys have just finished their fourth studio album, which will arrive Sept. 3, almost exactly two years since the release of the band’s breakthrough, “Rubber Factory.” That set, which was issued by Fat Possum, has sold more than 79,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The as-yet-untitled new album will be released by V2 in Europe and Asia and Modular in Australia. A new North American label deal is being finalized, Keys singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach tells Billboard.com, adding that the band’s split with Fat Possum was an amicable one.
On May 2, the label will issue the Keys’ Junior Kimbrough covers EP, “Chulahoma,” which sports such songs as “Meet Me in the City,” “Nobody but You” and “Keep Your Hands Off Her” as well as a hidden answering machine message from Kimbrough’s wife.
In addition, Fat Possum will distribute releases from Keys drummer Patrick Carney’s Audio Eagle imprint, including the debut from his side project, 10% Animal. Three of the group’s songs can be streamed from its MySpace.com page.
As for the new Black Keys album, it features 12 originals, including “Your Touch,” “The Flame” and “It’s Just Got To Be,” which the Keys previously debuted live. “I think this album has the best songwriting I’ve done so far,” Auerbach enthuses. “The last two records, we just were in a total ‘studio’ state of mind and not thinking about how to play the songs live. This time, we’ll be able to play every song live.”
Auerbach has also found time to record with his own side band, Marble Arches, with former Party Of Helicopters guitarist Jamie Stillman, who doubles as Carney’s partner in Audio Eagle. “He had some songs, I had some songs, we put them together and it’s awesome,” Auerbach says of the group.
The Keys will begin a 10-day tour of Australia April 7 in Adelaide, to be followed by a May 21 appearance at the U.K.’s All Tomorrow’s Parties festival and a May 23 headlining date in London. The band is mulling a handful of June North American shows but will save its next major tour for the fall. Says Auerbach, “We want to try to take it easy this summer.”
Here are the Black Keys’ tour dates:
April 7: Adelaide, Australia (Governor Hindmarsh)
April 8: Freemantle, Australia (West Coast Blues & Roots Festival)
April 9: Darwin, Australia (Browns Mart)
April 11: Cairns, Australia (Johno’s Blues Bar)
April 12: Townsville, Australia (James Cook University)
April 13: Byron Bay, Australia (East Coast Blues & Roots Festival)
April 15: Sydney (Great Escape)
April 16: Melbourne (Forum Theatre)
April 17: Geelong, Australia (Narana Festival)
May 21: Camber Sands, England (All Tomorrow’s Parties)
May 23: London (Scala)