Rock & Roll Salvation: Jack White, The Black Keys and The Strypes

This summer we can look forward to new albums by two of today’s giants of rock & roll, and we can expect to here a lot about a young Irish band.

Jack White is scheduled to release his second solo album “Lazaretto” in June, and a couple of weeks ago he put out the video for the instrumental “High Ball Stepper”, the album’s first single.  The Huffington Post claims that you will be watching a physics demonstration of non-Newtonian fluids and the operation of a Chladini plate as you listen to Jack’s blistering soundscape.   Physicists out there, feel free to comment.

The Black Keys have announced that “Turn Blue” will be out in May.  The title track and “Fever” have been released in advance and seem to be preparing us for a bit of a different album than 2013 Rock Album of the Year “El Camino”.  Danger Mouse helped produce the new album, just as he did “El Camino”, and the track below carries his influence.

While Jack White and the Black Keys are digging into all the corners of rock & roll, The Strypes tunnel right down the middle.  The young Irishmen have been on all the late night TV shows following last summer’s major label debut “Snapshot”.   The tracks “Blue Collar Jane” and “What a Shame” leave no doubt where this band’s heart is at.  They are fun to watch, and that drummer – wow.

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Broken Bells Back With Another Album

Broken Bells is a collaboration between Brian Joseph Burton (aka Danger Mouse), one of this century’s best producers, and James Mercer, frontman for indie favorite The Shins.  Their second full album together, “After the Disco”, is due to be released in early February 2014, but the track “Holding on for Life” is already out.  A few versions of the tune can be viewed on YouTube, including this spare live version.  But the spacey (literally) official video lets you hear the more layered album version.

The Shins have been around since 1996 and got a big boost when their song “New Slang” was featured in the movie “Garden State”. Below is a clip from the movie with Natalie Portman giving Zach Braff a listen, followed by the full  album version of the song.

Over the last decade Danger Mouse has produced albums for the Black Keys, Norah Jones, Beck, and Gorillaz, and he is currently working on U2’s upcoming release. He’s probably most well known for being half of Gnarls Barkley opposite CeeLo Green. “Crazy” was the 2006 mega-hit from the duo’s first album “St. Elsewhere”. Below are two versions of the song, one featuring CeeLo and Danger Mouse in a live studio setting, and the other featuring Prince on guitar.

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