I don’t know a whole lot of two person bands. I mean there is, of course, the late White Stripes and They Might Be Giants but the list is rather short. Well, one quintisential band in this category is The Black Keys. They have probably been wrongly compared to The White Stripes but in fact other than the fact that there is a drummer and a guitarist and they are both blues-influenced, the comparisons start running thin. I heard about them about the time thickblackfreakness came out in 2003. The album is raw and bluesy and sounds like far more than 2 guys. The vocals and guitar of Dan Auerbach are completely distinctive. Set You Free is a classic (you can also catch a great live version of this one on the Austin City Limits Festival 2005 CD) as well as Have Love Will Travel. It is worth reaching back to their debut release The Big Come Up for more blues and in particular their reinterpretation of She Said, She Said by the Fab Four. The breakthrough release for them was probably 2004’s Rubber Factory which just blows the doors off. There is nothing spare at all from the Kink’s cover tune Act Kind and Gentle and the blues attack of 10 AM Automatic, it was probably one of the best albums of 2004 to quote the allmusic.com review. I actually missed Magic Potion from 2006 but did grab Attack & Release in 2008. This one, like Beck’s Modern Guilt, was produced with Danger Mouse. I can’t say that I really liked Modern Guilt and to be honest, this album might be the weakest Keys one other than the great song Psychotic Girl. It just meanders way too much. Fortunately, their latest, Brothers from 2010, picks up where Rubber Factory left off and delivers some strong songwriting and excellent blues too especially Never Gonna Give You Up.
I can’t wait for the 7 December release of El Camino this year, it should be rockin’!