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The Black Keys – Long Walk Off a Shortlist

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The 2003 Shortlist Finalists have been announced:

    Black Keys, Bright Eyes, Cat Power, Cody Chestnutt, Floetry, Interpol, Damien Rice, Sigur Ros, The Streets and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

    INTERPOL, BRIGHT EYES, CAT POWER, DAMIEN RICE AND BLACK KEYS CONFIRMED TO PERFORM AT 2003 SHORTLIST CONCERT ON OCTOBER 5TH

    MTV2 TO BROADCAST SHORTLIST PRIZE TELEVISION SPECIAL IN MID-OCTOBER

    Los Angeles, September 2, 2003 – The Shortlist Organization announced today the ten finalists for the 2003 Shortlist Music Prize, as selected by a panel of “Listmakers” including Dave Matthews, Flea, Erykah Badu, Perry Farrell, Chris Martin (Coldplay), and the directors Spike Jonze and Cameron Crowe. The third annual Shortlist Concert, Presented by MTV2, will be held on October 5th at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, to be taped for broadcast as a sixty-minute special with multiple airings on MTV2 in mid-October.

    Finalists Interpol, Damien Rice, Bright Eyes, Cat Power and Black Keys will perform at the Shortlist Concert and on the Shortlist special, with possible surprise guest performances from the “Listmaker” panel of judges. This year’s “Shortlist” of ten finalists also includes the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, the Streets, Cody Chesnutt, Floetry, and 2001 Shortlist Music Prize winner Sigur Ros. Tickets will be available to the public and will go on sale via Ticketmaster on September 6th.

    ….The winner of the 2003 Shortlist Music Prize will be announced at the end of the concert, and will be presented with a $5000 cash prize from Sirius Satellite Radio. A highlight of last year’s concert was a three-song mini-set of Stooges classics by Listmaker Iggy Pop, fronting an all-star band including two members of the Hives on guitar, Listmaker Pete Yorn on drums, and Mike Watt of the Minutemen on bass.

Hey, that’s a pretty damn good list and will be a great show – we have reviewed most of the finalist albums here on Blogcritics (just pop the title or artist into our Search box and click Go). BUT, this announcement reminds me that I have not yet reviewed an absolutely killer album by my neighbors – Thickfreakness by Akron’s own Black Keys.

A rampaging electric blues-roots rock-juke joint duo – Dan Auerbach on guitar and vocals, and Patrick Carney on drums and record production – in the same mold as the much ballyhooed White Stripes, the Keys BLOW the Stripes out of the thickfreaky water with their hard-riffing, groove-jamming, pocket-exploding psychoblues that is closer in spirit and amp-rattling distortion to their neo-Delta Fat Possum labelmates Paul Jones, and T-Model Ford than to pale Jack and Meg.

Auerbach’s guitar threatens to rupture a spleen with sludgy aggression before settling into a swampy groove setting for his preternaturally soulful, bluesy, and slightly insane vocals on the title track. “Hard Row” packs more great punch, highlighted by Auerbach’s unison singing and guitar picking in between thick descending slabs of power chords and straining lead asides. I am a great lover of bass, but due to the force, energy, drive, sheer audacity and songwriting skill of the duo, I never missed the bass once on this entire disc – I cannot say the same for the Stripes. Auerbach’s voice sits on a growling pantheon somewhere between John Fogerty and Gregg Allman.

If you like the Fat Possum blues label or fancy the White Stripes, you’ll love the Black Keys. Trust me. And good luck in the Shortlist Finals.

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About Eric Olsen

  • rokfan1

    Agree wholeheartedly!THE BLACK KEYS outta Akron,”O” rawk bigtime with some major blooze!Can’t wait for their 3rd album!Without a doubt,those two cats,Dan Auerbach and Pat Carney are the real deal!Totally awesome!THICKFREAKNESS:10 STARS!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks Rokfan1! You are wise and far-seeing. I’m surprised we haven’t found more Keys fans out there.

  • Noelle

    Another Keys fan comming over here!
    They’re one of the best rocknroll/blues bands ever!

  • Eric Olsen

    thanks Noelle, glad you checked in – we will rally the troops!