Dan Auerbach: Black Keys Frontman’s Production Efforts Are Unmistakable

Dan Auerbach must be one of the busiest men in the music business.  In addition to doing his part to keep bluesy rock & roll vital with the Black Keys, he’s been a very active record producer.  When you listen to some of the work he’s produced, you can clearly hear that he’s not afraid to infuse it with his own style.

Later this summer Valerie June will release “Pushing Against a Stone” in the U.S., with Auerbach as co-producer and co-writer of a number of songs. June is just getting noticed, playing festivals all over Europe this summer after opening for Jake Bugg earlier in the year (see our recent post Jake Bugg). Listen to “Raindance” from June’s self-released album “Valerie June and the Tennessee Express”, then listen to “You Can’t be Told” from the upcoming album. The latter pretty much screams Black Keys.

Another of Auerbach’s recent production efforts is “Nomad” by African guitar wizard, Omara “Bombino” Moctar. The subject of Ron Wyman’s documentary “Agadez, the Music and the Rebellion”, Bombino is touring the world this year including a month in the U.S.  Listen to “Mehegagh” (What Shall I Do) from “Agadez”, then listen to “Amidinine” from “Nomad” to hear Auerbach’s influence.

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Reader Suggestions: Justice, Hundred Waters, and Vintage Trouble

Over the past few months readers have suggested some bands definitely worth a listen.

First up, Justice, a French electronic duo who gained notoriety (Grammy nominations, etc.) with the release of their debut album “Cross” in 2007.  “New Lands” is from their 2011 release “Audio, Video, Disco”.  This track and others from the album pay homage to older synth-rock styles, funk, disco and more.  And the video’s Rollerball theme is more evidence that Justice enjoys updating the past.  Thanks for the suggestion, Cliff!

Next is Hundred Waters performing “Boreal”.  A close-up of musicians recording with a mix of vocals, classic instruments and electronics makes this video especially fun to watch.  Looks like this band is set for take-off, too, touring with The XX beginning in May. A link to their website is also included below – some really cool art work on the “Images” page. Thanks for the link, Charlie!


As for something definitely NOT electronic, check out “Blues Hand Me Down” from Vintage Trouble. The track appears on their debut 2011 release “The Bomb Shelter Sessions”. The rock and soul band is opening for The Who on a number of tour dates in 2013, has been hitting all the big festivals, and has recently made the late night talk show circuit. Got to be a good band to see live! Thanks for the tip, Rainer!

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Great Music in Any Language

People around the world listen to music with English lyrics whether or not they understand the language.  Great music comes through regardless. The links below will likely challenge your language skills, but the great music certainly comes through regardless.

Japan is chock full of great rock bands, and one we’d love to see tour the U.S. is Asian Kung-Fu Generation.   AKG wrote lyrics in English for their first EP in 2000, but most of their catalog is in their native language.  The track translated “Blue Train”, performed live in the clip below, was a hit single from “Fan Club”.  It shows off their nifty rhythms and song structures.

Thandiswa Mazwai is a South African singer/songwriter who wins music awards regularly in her home country, and who also performs internationally.  The track below appeared on “Zabalaza”.

“Buena Vista Social Club” was a worldwide sensation when it was released in 1997.   American guitarist and musicologist Ry Cooder brought together many of Cuba’s greatest musicians to record what would become the biggest selling Cuban album of all time.   The first track, “Chan Chan”, was written by Compay Segundo.

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