Tag Archives: Black Keys

Top Albums of 2014 – #2: Turn Blue by The Black Keys

24 Dec

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To be honest I was not sure where to start with this post on the #2 album of 2014: The Black Keys’ epic LP Turn Blue, an album eagerly awaited by a substantial fan base since the uber-successful release of the band’s 2011 album El Camino. My loss of words is directly caused by the plethora of topics I can discuss concerning this album. There is the continued partnership with producer Danger Mouse (who always finds his way onto the Music Court’s end-of-the-year charts with multiple bands), the Mike Tyson aided release announcement in March of this year, the Ghoulardi-inspired album title and the blue and pink Twilight Zone-esque spiral album cover, and, of course, the powerful 11 tracks that features sounds that range from psychedelic, low-key Broken Bells inspired keys to the upbeat blues rock that the Black Keys became famous for.

I’ll stick with the music.

The Black Keys, the baby of two childhood friends Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, has produced excellent scratchy garage rock since the band’s inception in 2001, and since then the band has continued to evolve as an inventive propagator of engaging, catchy rock music, and this has helped the duo develop a loyal fan base. Turn Blue, the band’s 8th studio album, involved some tenseness (as expected in the creation of any album) and a lot of new exploration for the band, which helped produce some fascinating tunes that take the Black Keys out of its comfort zone.

“Weight of Love” is a perfect indication of this. The inception of the song draws out two chords, distorted guitar, and distended percussion.  The first two minutes plays like pre-Dark Side Pink Floyd mixed with Burton’s spaghetti-western inspired Rome. The song then transforms to a sprawling rock piece with echoed harmonies and wall-of-sound keys. There are so many elements magically combined into this piece and this combination is done incredibly well. It is masterful. The fear was that it would be too self-indulgent, but, instead, the song actually blends 50 years of rock music elements and takes on past and present with ferocity and listenability. Excellent piece.

“Gotta Get Away” is refreshing. It’s a jaunty on traditional Black Keys garage rock. It is an infectious song with drawn-out keys and jocular instrumentation. It’s just a joy to listen to, so do so, and have a wonderful holiday!

Listen to more – Black Keys Website

The Rundown: Best Songs of 2010 in Review

31 Dec

We are immersed in the New Year’s Holiday and perhaps the greatest part of it is the Twilight Zone marathon on SciFi or Syfy (they change the name of their channel often). I plan on sitting back and enjoying each episode all day long. Seriously, no episode of this the Twilight Zone is bad. Rod Serling, Binghamton native (by the way), was an absolute genius.

So, let me take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful New Years. Your support is invaluable and I hope you have enjoyed the blog over the past year. I will strive to improve it even more over the upcoming year. There is always room for improvement, of course. I am happy to hear any suggestions or comments you have. Feel free to e-mail me at musiccourt@gmail.com.

I would also be honored to have you like the Music Court on Facebook. You can access the page through this link:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Music-Court-Blog/174431312584846

Also, please follow me on twitter. My handle is “musiccourt”

Over the past few weeks I have put together a countdown honoring the best 11 songs of 2010. If you have missed any of the song reviews during the countdown, do not fret. Below, I will provide a short rundown of the countdown with links to each review. Enjoy some of the best songs of 2010 before you toast to a New Year!

Number 11

“Tighten Up” by The Black Keys

I Said:

Yes, Frank is infectious, but so is the opening whistle, catchy riff, excellent bass and drum portion (Pat Carney at his best). The song is excellently put together, clean, but rugged. The mini-solo that repeats throughout the song serves as a shaking breakdown (or Frank dance portion). Because, as we all know, Frank is a Funkasaurus Rex.”

Link to full post: https://musiccourt.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/the-best-songs-of-2010-sneak-peak-number-11-tighten-up-by-the-black-keys/

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Number 10

“Excuses” by The Morning Benders

I Said:

This is a 5-minute work of genius. Notice how we immediately are introduced to a wacky string section that already hits us with the Grizzly Bear sound. And when they erupt into the acoustic chords and normal string section it is as if we have been sent back in time. The string coordination is beautiful. Chris Chu’s voice appears in the first verse and, just like an ocean wave, douses listeners with water infused with vocal goodness. The harmony prior to the chorus is so British harmonizing it is absolutely scary. The lyric is not shabby either.

Link to full post: https://musiccourt.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/the-best-songs-of-2010-10-excuses-by-the-morning-benders/

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Number 9

Infinite Arms” by Band of Horses

I Said:

The band lives on vocal harmony. That is how they evoke their feelings. And, they have always done this well. But, by adding more instruments they have created an even more dynamic presence on stage. Now they pair more complex instrumentation with their harmonies. This provides a sound that hits you on multiple levels. This is why “Infinite Arms” works. The end of the song features the combination and it sounds like the puzzle pieces have been put together. It is form fitting. The song then fades beautifully.

Link to full post: https://musiccourt.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/the-best-songs-of-2010-9-infinite-arms-by-band-of-horses/

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Number 8

Bloodbuzz Ohio” by The National

I Said:

The song is immediately depressing. The charcoal video is paired with Berninger’s gloomy voice, dark but level, and a solemn loneliness that immediately presents itself after the drummed opening. The squirming repetition is almost as uncomfortable as Berninger’s drunkenness throughout the video. But, please don’t take that the wrong way. Songs are occasionally supposed to move you out of your comfort song. If you listen to pure mainstream you never get the opportunity to experience different music. And this is exactly what “Bloodbuzz Ohio” is. It is representative of a band that may be slightly out of your normal listening zone. So expand it and taste something that nears on acerbic and austere, but still maintains a hook and melodic quality that draws you in.

Link to full post: https://musiccourt.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/the-best-songs-of-2010-8-bloodbuzz-ohio-by-the-national/

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Number 7

“Flash Delirium” by MGMT

I Said:

Then the pre-chorus hits you with a wall of sound that just comes out of nowhere. Suddenly you are being hit by an orchestral sound before the chorus (or what seems like the chorus) hits you with this Bowie-like “Ashes to Ashes” segment. Then a sing-a-long and a flute. You stop and think to yourself, what the hell is going on? And that is when I first realized that this is a good piece of psychedelic music.

Link to full post: https://musiccourt.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/the-best-songs-of-2010-7-flash-delirium-by-mgmt/

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Number 6

“Stylo” by Gorillaz

I Said:

Gorillaz often do an exceptional job combining visual and auditory stimulants that excite and please the listener. Like I implied above, listening to a Gorillaz song and watching any released visual material is like watching a short film. Art and music are combined effortlessly.

Link to full post: https://musiccourt.wordpress.com/2010/12/24/the-best-songs-of-2010-6-stylo-by-gorillaz/

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Number 5

“The High Road” by Broken Bells

I Said:

It successfully blends two different genres of music effortlessly. It is so impressive. It may have been hard to find, but Broken Bells found and mastered the high road.

Link to the full post: https://musiccourt.wordpress.com/2010/12/25/the-best-songs-of-2010-5-the-high-road-by-broken-bells/

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Number 4

“Another New World” by Josh Ritter

I Said:

“Another New World” is the album’s chef d’oeuvre. It is a close to eight minute wonder. Seriously, the song is spectacle. Josh Ritter and his Royal City Band (his often forgotten tour/studio musicians) produce an epic.

Link to full post: https://musiccourt.wordpress.com/2010/12/27/the-best-songs-of-2010-4-another-new-world-by-josh-ritter/

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Song 3

“Fuck You” by Cee Lo Green

I Said:

“Fuck You” is a warped Motown song. Everything from the old-school video with the corny dance moves to the call and response to the soul swing and vocal. It’s funky and fun. Cee Lo Green displays his vocal range and at times even introduces humor into the song. It is bright Motown with a spiteful “Fuck You.”

Link to full post: https://musiccourt.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/the-best-songs-of-2010-3-fuck-you-by-cee-lo-green/

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Song 2

“Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

I Said:

The chorus is infectious. It’s like a disease. For days you are singing “let me come home.” And then the band adds an instrumental breakdown. The horns are matched with shouts of home and then a vocal end.

Link to full post: https://musiccourt.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/the-best-songs-of-2010-2-home-by-edward-sharpe-and-the-magnetic-zeros/

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Song 1

“King of Spain” by The Tallest Man on Earth

I Said:

Before the song ends, Matsson holds out the word “the” in this vocal climax that is shattering. It is also a perfect way for me to end this countdown. There is an animation in Matsson’s croon that is warm, inviting and aggressive. This is a true strength in his music. He is a folk musician who can provide the erupting emotion that Spector’s “wall of sound” does, but with only himself and a guitar. He is a one-man-band who is significantly stronger then mostly all of his five or more band counterparts. That is an impressive feat. Heck, he might actually be the “King of Spain”

Link to full post: https://musiccourt.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/the-best-songs-of-2010-1-king-of-spain-by-the-tallest-man-on-earth/

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Well, there it is. I hope you enjoyed the countdown. And, to you and yours:

The Best Songs of 2010: Sneak Peak – Number 11: “Tighten Up” by The Black Keys

Last year at around this time in December I was summing up a decade of music. Today premieres a preview of the top songs of 2010, a post category that will run from December 20 – December 30 (Skipping the Sunday in between). Each day will feature a different song in a running countdown to the best song of 2010. Please understand this disclaimer. All opinions expressed in this list (especially order of songs) are opinions. That’s right. So, if you have another song that you believe deserved a spot, post it in a comment and let’s talk. Also, be nice. It’s New Years and Christmas and overall merriment should be the pervasive thought during this season.

Anyway, before I travel home tomorrow (today marked the official end of Fall semester of my senior year at Binghamton University), I wanted to leave you with the #11 song on my 2010 countdown. The list is made up of 11 songs to mark our transition into 2011 and to hold true to the “one for good luck” axiom. I know. Aren’t I witty? Okay, not really. Let’s get to some music.

#11.) Tighten Up” by The Black Keys

We kick off our list with a song about a dinosaur. Well, no, it’s not about a dinosaur, but Frank, the Black Keys’ puppet dinosaur, does star in the video for this catchy rock tune. Take a listen:

Yes, Frank is infectious, but so is the opening whistle, catchy riff, excellent bass and drum portion (Pat Carney at his best). The song is excellently put together, clean, but rugged. The mini-solo that repeats throughout the song serves as a shaking breakdown (or Frank dance portion). Because, as we all know, Frank is a Funkasaurus Rex.

The Best Songs of 2010: Sneak Peak – Number 11: “Tighten Up” by The Black Keys

14 Dec

Last year at around this time in December I was summing up a decade of music. Today premieres a preview of the top songs of 2010, a post category that will run from December 20 – December 30 (Skipping the Sunday in between). Each day will feature a different song in a running countdown to the best song of 2010. Please understand this disclaimer. All opinions expressed in this list (especially order of songs) are opinions. That’s right. So, if you have another song that you believe deserved a spot, post it in a comment and let’s talk. Also, be nice. It’s New Years and Christmas and overall merriment should be the pervasive thought during this season.

Anyway, before I travel home tomorrow (today marked the official end of Fall semester of my senior year at Binghamton University), I wanted to leave you with the #11 song on my 2010 countdown. The list is made up of 11 songs to mark our transition into 2011 and to hold true to the “one for good luck” axiom. I know. Aren’t I witty? Okay, not really. Let’s get to some music.

#11.) Tighten Up” by The Black Keys

We kick off our list with a song about a dinosaur. Well, no, it’s not about a dinosaur, but Frank, the Black Keys’ puppet dinosaur, does star in the video for this catchy rock tune. Take a listen:

Yes, Frank is infectious, but so is the opening whistle, catchy riff, excellent bass and drum portion (Pat Carney at his best). The song is excellently put together, clean, but rugged. The mini-solo that repeats throughout the song serves as a shaking breakdown (or Frank dance portion). Because, as we all know, Frank is a Funkasaurus Rex.

The song, not to be confused with Archie Bell and The Drell’s “Tighten Up” from 1968 – because who in the world would confuse a Black Keys song with Archie Bell’s awesome hit – appeared on The Black Keys’ release Brothers (May 18, 2010). The song was created by The Black Keys and Brian Burton, a.k.a Danger Mouse (who actually makes several appearances on our list through numerous different projects).

As guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach told The Sun, “That was the last song we did for the record. We had a couple of days off and so did Brian (Danger Mouse) and since we are friends and like hanging out with each other we thought it would be fun to go into the studio and see if we could come up with a tune. We always have a blast when the three of us get together.”

The result was a rock hit that fuses pop and the Keys’ trademark gritty style. Also, let us not forget Auerbach’s vocal which is trademark Keys, bluesy and upbeat. The end of the song definitely shows some Danger Mouse influence, as the song slowly moves into an odd techno, robotic beat and cuts out.

I think the songs greatest strength is in its simplicity. That, and Frank, mark it as #11 on our countdown. Tune your dials to The Music Court on December 20 where we will pick up with #10. I will be back posting on Thursday. Wish me happy traveling tomorrow (and hopefully none of that white stuff)

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