The Black Keys were formed in 2001 by guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer/producer Patrick Carney in Akron, Ohio.
Although they often have been compared to The White Stripes, they are of a grungier variety, exuding much of what rock should be, simple and rough. Their first two albums were recorded in Carney’s basement on an eight-track tape recorder. Their debut album, The Big Come Up, received great reviews; from there, the band signed with Fat Possum Records.
Much of their influences come from Delta blues. Not only is that obvious on their debut album, which includes a cover of “Leavin Trunk," but they dedicated an entire album to Junior Kimbrough, titled Chulahoma: The Songs of Junior Kimbrough. It should be mentioned, however, that they also covered The Beatles' “She Said, She Said," so their influences vary.
The 2003 release of Thickfreakness, which was recorded in 14 hours, brought the band some commercial success with a number of the songs being picked up by TV shows and movies. Prior to the release of Thickfreakness, the band was picked to be the opening band for Sleater-Kinney for their North American Tour.
The 2004 release of The Rubber Factory further solidified them as hit makers with singles like “10 A.M. Automatic," “Girl is on My Mind” and “When the Lights Go Out”; again they found commercial success, with many of the songs being found in movies, video games and commercials.
The release of Magic Potion and Chulahoma in 2006 and 2007 were met with commercial and critical success. The band made the leap to a major label for Magic Potion, signing with Nonesuch Records. It also is their first album made up of only original work. The singles included “Your Touch,” “You’re the One” and “Just Got to Be,” with “Your Touch” finding the most success of the three.
Their fifth studio album, Attack & Release, was mixed by producer extraordinaire Danger Mouse. The band didn’t stray far away from their bluesy-rock roots and the album became their most successful to date, peaking at No. 14 on the Billboard 200 charts. The singles “Strange Times” and “I Got Mine” found commercial success as well, as they were included in the soundtrack of Grand Theft Auto IV and Canadian television series The Bridge, respectively.
In 2009 the band was approached by Damon Dash for a project; with hip-hop artists and R&B singers singing over their instrumentals, the project would be called Blackroc. Mos Def, Ludacris and members of the Wu Tang Clan (to name a few collaborators) took part in the project, which was recorded in Brooklyn, New York.
Their latest album, Brothers, was again met with praise and commercial success, with Rolling Stone naming the album the second best of 2010. They received a Grammy for their single “Tighten Up” and two others for the entire album.
The Black Keys have said they have been working on and have finished their seventh studio album with the songs being heavily influenced by The Clash and The Cramps.