Free Music Friday – More Keys June 4, 2010Posted by Matt in free music friday.
Tags: Black Keys, Tighten Up, video
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I don’t know about you but I can’t get enough of the new album from the Black Keys. Check out the video for “Tighten Up.”
Ten For Tuesday: Music to Play LOUD! July 28, 2009Posted by Matt in top ten.
Tags: albums, Beastie Boys, Black Keys, Green Day, guns n roses, Jane's Addiction, loud music, Pantera, Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Sonic Youth, The Hold Steady, volume
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What is it that makes us want to turn some types of music up loud, raise a fist in the air and rock out? There is just something about it that makes us want to blast the decibels to an extreme, eardrum-bursting level and lose ourselves in a cloud of crowd-pleasing power chords. Some albums are just that way and, despite the fact that they will no doubt contribute to me needing a hearing aid by the age of 40, I’m glad to have them. Below are ten albums, in no particular order, that I love to blast out loud. Enjoy.
10. Beastie Boys – License to Ill
I thought about including my favorite Beastie’s album, Paul’s Boutique, but their testosterone-fueled party anthem-filled debut seemed more applicable in this instance. Just try to keep the volume low on classic songs like “Rhymin’ and Stealin’,” “No Sleep Till Brooklyn,” “Brass Monkey,” or “Fight for Your Right,” it can’t be done.
9. The Black Keys – Rubber Factory
You can’t go wrong with this loud and crunchy blues-rock duo, whose Jimmy Page-like blues riffs can knock anybody flat on their back. From the opening track, “When the Lights Go Out” (If you’ve seen “Black Snake Moan,” you’ve heard it) through the rest of this great collection, they hit as hard as anyone in the business today.
8. Pantera – Cowboys from Hell
This one will take you back. Pantera burst on the scene with this blast of aggressive metal in 1990 and it still resonates today. Dimebag Darrell was one of the most distinctive guitarists of an era and Phil Anselmo’s vocals are rife with unbridled fury. I put this album, with great songs like “Psycho Holiday” and “Cemetary Gates,” on when I’m tired at work. It perks me right up.
7. The Hold Steady – A Positive Rage
The Hold Steady have been called the greatest bar band in America and this live collection displays them in all of their ragged glory. Songs like “Stuck Between Stations” and “Massive Nights,” are meant for playing in noisy bars with amps turned up loud.
6. Jane’s Addiction – Nothing’s Shocking
There are few songs from the past 20 years that are more mind blowing than “Mount Song” turned up as loud as it will go. Just try it out and thank me later.
5. Radiohead – The Bends
The first of Radiohead’s incredible trilogy of albums from 1995-2000, this strongly rivals OK Computer as the best work by the greatest band in the world. The intricacies of this album cannot be heard at low levels, just pump it up loud and lose yourself in the sonic goodness of “High and Dry” and “Fake Plastic Trees.” It is an experience not to be missed.
4. Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
I admit that I didn’t always appreciate the artsy noise-rock of Sonic Youth. Today I don’t know what I would do without them. This breakthrough album from 1988 is a blast from the beginning with “Teenage Riot” to the 14 minute “Trilogy” at the end.
3. Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine
This debut from everyone’s favorite rap-rock Marxists is violent, rage-filled shotgun blast that took the country by storm in the early-90’s. “Killing in the Name Of” is, without a doubt, one of the greatest, loudest anti-authority anthems ever put down.
2. Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction
What do you get when you mix 70’s stadium rock, punk sensibilities, and a good dose of sleaze, drugs, and debauchery from the streets of L.A.? Guns N’ Roses. And this is definitely their best work. “Paradise City” is one of the greatest rock anthem ever recorded and it cannot be played at low levels.
1. Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown
Not the best collection on the list, but it is my favorite from the current year and I happen to be listening to it right now, so this incredible concept album definitely needs a spot. Like many others on the list, this album is meant to be experienced as a whole, so I would encourage you to eschew the Itunes-fueled idea of downloading individual songs and get the entire thing. You won’t be disappointed.
What about you? What do you like to turn up to 11?
Free Music Friday: The White Boy Blues November 7, 2008Posted by Matt in free music friday.
Tags: Black Keys, music, thickfreakness, video
The end of the work day is only hours away, so it’s a good time for the Black Keys. Turn it up loud and enjoy.
Flying Solo with the Black Keys September 26, 2008Posted by Matt in concerts, music.
Tags: Black Keys, concert, Memphis, New Daisy
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There are few things in this world that I enjoy more than live music. I love the atmosphere, I love the energy, and I love that feeling of exultation when the artist plays that certain song or hits those certain notes that send chills up your spine. There is something ortherworldly about the transcendent power of music that lifts you from your current station I life to some higher plane of existence, and it is that feeling for which we yearn.
Last night I had the opportunity to catch a band in concert that I have become a big fan of over the past year, The Black Keys. I first really came into contact with their blues-rock style through Memphis’ own Craig Brewer and his excellent film Black Snake Moan and I’ve been following them ever since. They are somewhat similar to the White Stripes in that they are a two piece (guitar and drums) outfit with blues influences, but, where the White Stripes are more closely aligned with Zeppelin’s blues excursions (think “I Can’t Quit You Baby), the Black Keys’ sound is far dirtier and grimier, as if their amps are somehow submerged in Mississippi river mud. Oh, and they just flat-out rock. Though I couldn’t find anyone to join me for their show last night at the New Daisy, I wasn’t about to miss the chance to see them live.
Around 9:00, the first of two opening acts (which couldn’t have been more different from each other) took the stage, Jessica Lea Mayfield. I enjoyed her melancholic folk sound for the most part, though it seemed a bit out of place when compared to the loud, crunching guitar-driven sound of the Keys. The second act that took the stage offered a completely different sound, something from the far opposite end of the spectrum. While I’m sure Memphis punk-thrash icon Jay Reatard has a niche in the city’s musical landscape, it just escapes me for the most part. They blazed through a 30 minute set with songs only broken by the lead man, Jay, yelling out the names of the tunes in between them. Though it was a bit excruciating, it was short, so I can’t complain too much.
The Black Keys finally hit the stage around 11:00, opening with “Thickfreakness” (I believe, but my memory tends to be faulty and the set list hasn’t been posted anywhere yet). Reverb-soaked riffs filled the theater with their loud, crunching sounds, punctuated periodically by large doses of feedback. With a sound akin to that of the Mississippi Delta cranked to ten with tons of reverb, the guys tore the place down and the sweat-drenched crowd enjoyed every minute of it. I recognized nearly every song they played during their 1.5 hour set. The band tore through tunes like “Stack Shot Billy” and “10 AM Automatic” with a vengeance, Patrick Carney providing rock-steady beat and Dan Auerbach just killing it on guitar. They ended the set with a rousing version of “I Got Mine,” before retreating to the back.
After a short break, the men again emerged to the adoration of the crowd and performed two more stellar cuts – the slower, bluesy “Psychotic Girl”, followed by their final number of the night, the rocking “Have Love, Will Travel” – wrapping up the concert around 12:30 or so. All in all, it was a great show. The crowd was cool, the band was smoking, and, even though I attended the show alone, I had a great time. I heartily recommend seeing them if you ever have the chance.
If you’ve never listened to them before, check out the video below.