Feb 14 2013
Grammy awards have on numerous occasions awarded or nominated more commercially successful albums rather than critically successful ones.
But in spite of all the criticism against the Grammys, one cannot deny the fact that the awards are in fact the most respected musical recognition in a large part of the world (or at least, part of the world that matters) and a Grammy can do wonders for any artist or band’s musical career. Thus The Black Keys’ El Camino winnings the best rock album the year, does great justice to an award recognised by so many. Although The Black Keys are not new to this award — having won it in 2010 for Brothers record, but it’s always great to be rewarded for genuine original music, something very rare in the industry today.
The Black Keys is one of best bands today in the hard rock genre. With their coarse, grungy blues, this two-piece band might be one of the best to emerge out of the second wave of garage rock revival artists from the 2000s. It’s almost unbelievable how they manage to bring such a heavy sound to their music when you consider that it is just the two guys who are creating it. While Patrick Carney forms the backbone with drums and percussions, Dan Auerbach multitasks on guitar, vocals, bass, piano, organ and keyboards.
Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach grew up in the same Ohio neighbourhood. Both had music in their blood. Carney’s uncle, Ralph Carney, was a founding member of Tin Huey, a bizarre New Wave band. Meanwhile, Auerbach’s cousin was unsung guitar hero, Robert Quine, a former member of the Voidoids who toured with Lou Reed during the ‘80s. The Black Keys didn’t form until a few years after graduation, when both members found themselves jobless after dropping out of college. As the story goes, Auerbach — who realised he couldn’t get gigs in other cities without a proper demo – asked Carney to help him record some songs. Auerbach would supply the band; Carney would supply the recording equipment. They hatched plans to track the songs in Carney’s basement. When the day arrived, though, Auerbach’s backup band was nowhere to be found. He ended up jamming with Carney instead, sparking a series of rehearsals that eventually resulted in the duo’s first recording: a rough, six-song demo composed of old blues rip-offs and words made up on the spot. They pressed some copies, solicited artwork from Patrick’s younger brother and mailed packages to a dozen labels. Alive, a small indie imprint from Los Angeles, wrote back, offering the guys a record deal before they’d even played their first show and as they say, the rest is history.
Since then, the band has gone on to record seven studio albums, gained a very sincere fan following and played to full arenas all over. The best part of their music is the ability to come out with an individual sound. Listen to any The Black Keys track for 10 seconds and anyone would the faintest idea of music would tell the difference. zz