Later this week, the 14th May, is Dan Auerbach’s birthday.
Auerbach is most well known as one half of the blues-rock duo The Black Keys, a band with which he continuously takes old blues and soul influences and repackages them with a modern sound. Auerbach’s talents are not restricted to that of frontman and guitarist though. There have been numerous times the blues enthusiast has sat in the producer’s chair and shared his knowledge with up and coming musicians. In celebration of Auerbach’s 38th birthday, we share with you five albums you DIDN’T know The Black Keys frontman produced.
Ultraviolence-Lana Del Rey
An unusual choice at first glance, Ultraviolence (2014) is one of Auerbach’s most accomplished records as producer. Cinematic pop songstress, Lana Del Rey, was only meant to work with Auerbach for three days, but ended up spending two weeks at the guitarist’s Easy Eye Sound Studios in Nashville finishing the entire album. The real victory of Ultraviolence is the way in which Auerbach whittled away the electronic beats and synthesisers of Del Rey’s previous work, and helped her fit into a more stripped back, blues and soul inflected environment. Maybe not an album aligned with many Black Keys’ fans tastes, but one that demands respect regardless.
Tell Me I'm Pretty-Cage The Elephant
Tell Me I’m Pretty (2015) is the fourth studio effort by Kentucky rock band Cage The Elephant. The group has become known for its eclectic style of rock ’n’ roll, with their debut album, Cage The Elephant (2008) inspired by classic rock, funk and blues, their second, Thank You, Happy Birthday (2011), inspired by punk as well as groups like the Pixies and Nirvana, and their third, Melophobia (2013) recorded with an emphasis on discovering their own musical identity. Tell Me I’m Pretty sees Cage The Elephant continuing to strive to find their own sound with the help of Auerbach who emphasised the importance of first takes and kept the band second-guessing themselves. The record won Best Rock Album at the 59th Grammy Awards.
Radio Moscow-Radio Moscow
Radio Moscow are known for reviving the sound of psychedelic blues trios of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Often compared to bands such as Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Blue Cheer, their 2007 self-titled debut delivers an ultra-retro sound. Auerbach not only produced the whole record, but played slide guitar on eighth track, “Deep Blue Sea”. The next Black Keys album to be released after Auerbach produced this record was Attack & Release (2008) which contained a psychedelic influence similar to that of Radio Moscow.
All Or Nothin'-Nikki Lane
Outlaw country songstress, Nikki Lane, and Auerbach met at a flea market before working together on the former’s sophomore record. Exercising his more traditional country side, Auerbach let Lane record All Or Nothin’ (2014) at his Easy Eye Sound Studios in Nashville. Not only did The Black Keys’ frontman produce the whole record, but he co-wrote five of the songs with Lane as well as performed with her on duet, “Love’s on Fire”.
Head In The Dirt-Hanni El Khatib
Head In The Dirt (2013) is the album that sounds the most like The Black Keys on this list. Despite this, Hanni El Khatib allows his own sound to develop and shine through. While working as creative director for the streetwear brand HUF, Khatib began recording himself singing and playing acoustic guitar. Originally a skate-punk, the multi-instrumentalist let his love of old school R&B, soul and surf music creep into his compositions. Khatib’s sophomore effort sees the moulding of all of these genres into a style that is distinctly his own.
What do you think? Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments!
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