The Black Keys is a rock duo comprised of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney. They formed the band in 2001 in Ohio and have risen to international fame in the past three years. Their breakthrough album was “Brothers”, released in 2010. The album and its accompanying single, “Tighten Up”, won a combined three Grammy Awards. The band’s latest album, “El Camino”, won this year’s Grammy for “Best Rock Album”.
Fame came a little more quickly to Alabama Shakes, a rock band formed in Alabama in 2009. Alabama Shakes was nominated for the 2013 Grammy Award for “Best New Artist”. In 2012, the band played at the Newport Folk Festival as well as Bonnaroo. Alabama Shakes and The Black Keys have a similar sound, both vocally and instrumentally.
Both bands have a distinct and traditional rock sound, reminiscent of the many projects of Jack White. Both Auerbach and Brittany Howard, the lead vocalist for Alabama Shakes, have brooding, throaty voices. They both emulate the raspy quality that is so prevalent in the voices of many passionate rock singers. The one major difference between the two? Howard is a woman! Jon Pareles, a New York Times reporter, compared her unique and soulful voice to Janis Joplin’s.
Alabama Shakes and The Black Keys rely heavily on percussion, as many rock bands do. Their screaming electric guitars define each individual song. Since the release of their album “Boys & Girls”, Alabama Shakes has appeared on Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Saturday Night Live, and even David Letterman’s birthday version of The Late Show with David Letterman.
Here is Alabama Shakes’ single, “Hold On”:
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