Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Music Does A Body Good

Over the long holiday weekend, I picked up three c.d.'s with my B&N gift card: "Swordfishtrombones" by Tom Waits; "El Camino" and "Chulahoma" by The Black Keys. "El Camino" will be the focus of today's music review.

I was first introduced to this group and this particular c.d. by noted writer/musician (click here for a song by his group American Falcon)/blogger Chris LaTray, who had posted a video clip of Lonely Boy on his blog about a month ago. The song rocked so much that I decided right then and there that I needed to have that c.d., which for me is a rarity, since I like to experience an artist's output in chronological order.

Anyways, when I purchased my copy the sticker on the wrapper said, "Play It Loud". So I did and the end result was a c.d. that not only kicked ass from track 1, but forced you to listen to it all the way through in one sitting.

Most bands, when they release a c.d., can usually be listened to piecemeal. In other words, it would contain maybe one or two radio friendly hits, a few decent tracks and the rest filler. Thus, you could listen to it for ten or twelve minutes, take a break to do something, then come back and listen to it for another chunk of time, etc..

"El Camino" is written and played in such a way that it's virtually impossible to listen to it piecemeal. Each track seamlessly flows into the next, allowing almost zero time to come up for air and prepare for the next. Even when it goes from a rocker like "Gold On The Ceiling" to a mellower song called "Little Black Submarines", it still maintains that uptempo pacing that allows no room for breathing. And should you be forced to take a break longer than twenty seconds from the c.d., it's almost impossible to go back where you left off at and pick up the current story line, thus leaving you with no other option than to start at the beginning and hope to hell that no one bothers you for the next thirty-eight minutes and twenty-seven seconds.

Overall, I found this c.d. an absolute pleasure not only to listen to, but to experience as well. Everything, from the music to the vocals, both lead and backing, is done in such a way that quite often it's hard to tell who's doing what when. Even if you've never experienced The Black Keys before, this c.d. is a great example of what's being played not only on real radio, but at the smaller (i.e. non-arena) music venues around the country and on the small indie labels (Nonsuch Records is not an indie label, although their earlier stuff found on Fat Possum Records is).


  1. I became a big American Falcon fan as soon as I heard Tallulah Black. Wow it rocks.

  2. Weird -- I literally JUST saw the video for Lonely Boy on VH1 (was watching some music videos while I took care of some laundry this morning), and then I came here and read your blog post... apparently the universe is telling me that I need to buy this CD... :)

  3. Great recommendation! I'm always looking for new music. Thanks for sharing :)

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  4. I will definitely check this out!

  5. Hey, G, thanks for the plug and I'm glad you liked the CD. I've been a fan of The Black Keys for quite a while now -- it's exciting to see how big an audience they've built!

  6. Charles: I agree 100%, that track definitely rocks. Not too many rock songs nowadays can keep my interest to the very end, but this one did.

    Lisa: Not so weird as that song kept rambling through my head for the entire day at work. The money would be extremely well spent.

    Sarah: You're more than welcome. I'm always glad to give everyone a little peek into what makes me tick music-wise.

    Lynn: You won't be disappointed, that's for sure.

    Chris: You are more than welcome for the plug. If the rest of the c.d. sounds like that "Tallulah Black", this might become my very first downloadable purchase.

    I tell you one thing, I'm going to enjoy exploring their earlier stuff. I actually saw their previous one as a vinyl release out here.

  7. Funny, the El Camino CD was on my Christmas list and I didn't get it, so I am going to go buy it for myself. I'm rather selective with musical purchases, so your review cast the deciding vote.

  8. R: Glad I was able to give you that little nudge in that particular direction.

    I'm way beyond selective with my purchases. If I got spare money, then I try to buy used/cheap new c.d.'s. Otherwise, I just dream from afar when it comes to purchasing music.

  9. Thanks, G! I'll give this a listen.

  10. Never head of them, but I'll be checking them out now, G.

  11. Glad you found a good one n shared the info- Will check it out on the better machine soon.

  12. Mama Z: You're more than welcome.

    Talon: I'd never really heard of the Black Keys either until I started reading about them in Chris's blog. I think you'll find them to be pleasing to the ears.

    Snaggle: It's always interesting to give people an extra special look at what makes me me.


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