The Black Keys loosen up while Janelle Monae tightens down. Plus: No to Hanson, yes to John Prine.
Akron, Ohio’s The Black Keys have been playing their version of the blues for six albums now, but they’ve never sounded looser than on their latest, the excellent Brothers. Guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney took the stripped-down Zeppelin approach as far as they could for four albums and have been expanding their sound ever since. They called on Danger Mouse to produce their last album (Attack & Release, and seem to have taken what they learned and stretched things out even more (just check out the falsetto on the opener “Everlasting Love,” for starters).
The Black Keys will be likely performing the combination of “Tighten Up” (the one Danger Mouse joint on the album) and “Next Girl” on The Late Show with David Letterman Tuesday and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Wednesday. And I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that The Roots will lend a hand to the duo in some fashion for the latter.
Meanwhile, I was all set to make a big deal about those ‘MMMBop’pers Hanson being back, but then I looked into it some more and realized that they actually came back in 2007 with The Walk and it didn’t take. It’s three years (and some Tinted Windows) later and the brothers have another album coming, titled Shout it Out. I confess I don’t care about this either, and they’re playing The Tonight Show With Jay Leno on Wednesday night, which makes me care even less. Instead, let me I suggest checking out genuine songwriting legend John Prine performing on Letterman that same night, with the added bonus of having My Morning Jacket’s Yim Yames with him. He performs in support of his latest release, In Person & On Stage, out tomorrow.
Finally, we sang the praises of Janelle Monae to you just last week, but after seeing her face-melting performance on Letterman (video below), we must push this unique artist on you once again. The tiny Atlanta native performs three times this week, so there’s plenty of opportunity for you to catch her James Brown from another planet act. Monae will be shaking and singing on Ellen Wednesday, Lopez Tonight on Thursday night, and ending the week with an in concert look in on Last Call with Carson Daly.