04 February 2009

Dan Auerbach gets all grown up 'n dirty

photo by Jim Quine

Dan Auerbach has been through some changes since we first came in contact with him. Back then he was a young dude going deep in the blues but still down for finely crafted pop and stoopidsmart hiphop who's life was changed by the sound of Junior Kimbrough. Now he's found himself in demand, the man to mention by some of music's biggest boys to help them return to the river. A smart kid with a deep curiosty and hunger for the thing that moved him. Auerbach's sound has always had a certain sweet salacious swagger. Not a cocky swagger but a swagger stalking a deep swingin' get down and hunting for a larger understanding of the heart and blue soul of it. Dan wallows in music and always has. He wallows in the studio work too. He's a rat and his depth of knowledge on both sides of the studio window shows in his own work, as well as in those he records, but it's his ears as much as his (just as important if not more so) sense of vibe and feel, and service of the song that really sets him apart. He knows that happy little songs ain't no fun and rockin' your own kind of (you can call it whatcha wanna) blues (whatever that is) is where it's at and it shows on his first solo release Keep It Hid. From his pre-Black Keys days to the Keys EP of Junior Kimbrough songs (Chulahoma) Dan Auerbach ,with his partner Pat Carney, aquired the tools to be in full control of refining the sound. Each of the Black Keys albums has been an advancement and a stronger statement of where Dan was on his road. Their work with Danger Mouse in 2008 on an album (some of which became Attack and Release) aimed for working with Ike Turner turned into one step back to Dan's roots and three steps forward in song writing strength and sonic skills. To my mind and ears it's Dan's work on those two albums in particular, plus his production work for protege Jessica Lea Mayfield, the Black Diamond Heavies and others, and most important of all, becoming a husband and daddy that has brought Dan Auerbach to the fine artist he is today. Dan Auerbach is gettin' all grown up and dirty. Keep It Hid is the most swaggerin' sad n' sexyass album i've heard in ages. It's an expansion of the recent Black Keys sound and stature from bigger than national to near universal. It's the Keys as full band yet with perhaps a deeper more personal depth. Dan's Uncle Jim Quine contributed guitar, Bob Cesare brought drums etc, but Dan played most everything else. This has given Auerbach the freedom to really broaden and refine his sonic palette. From the sweet, haunting gospel folk of Trouble Weighs A Ton to the sad heartbreak superock of Whispered Words (written by Dan's dad) to the just plain filthy creepy crusher The Prowl and the pure lovely hopefulness of Goin' Home (which i'll bet is informed by thoughts of his young family) with it's beautiful sad slide solo. In every song , as this album has no filler, Dan has built and honed his best work yet. This is an album that should go down as a gorgeous american classic.

Dan Auerbach Keep It Hid
BUY iT! on cd
on delicous 180 gram Vinyl w/gatefold sleeve and free cd!

"Trouble Weighs a Ton"

Dan sez it's OK if you steal these MP3s:

Trouble Weighs A Ton MP3

The Prowl MP3


Nate Dog said...

i don't know rick, i've listened to most of the album on the myspace and i'm not really all that impressed. don't get me wrong it's good and all, but if this was his first release i don't think i'd really care too much who dan auerbach is. i'm a huge black keys fanboy though so i'll still probably get a copy in some form or another, but i don't think this is his best work. the big come up is still my favorite black keys album, maybe because it's closer to what i do. i love the raw live basement studio sound, and while i realize you can't just keep doing the same thing i still miss it. it's interesting to see dan and the black keys develop and progress as artists though, and i think it's great that they are actually giving back too by producing other bands records. (dan helped give my friends in radio moscow their start which was really cool of him.) dan seems like such a humble guy for a rockstar (he's still based out of akron!) and i really hope this new record does as well as i think it will. dan and pat have been such an inspiration to young punks like me and it's been great seeing them get the props they deserve.


Rick said...

Well all I can say Nate is spend some time with the album. My first couple listens I was like...hmmm...I like it ok...the more ive listened...really listened...the more i've come to really dig it.