The Black Keys have announced their 11th studio album, Dropout Boogie, launching its bouncy, groove-driven first single, Wild Child.
Arriving May 13 via Nonesuch Records, Dropout Boogie follows last year's Delta Kream, a collection of blues covers that saw Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney pay tribute to the likes of R. L. Burnside, John Lee Hooker and Big Joe Williams.
Dropout Boogie sees the duo return to original material, and features guest appearances from the likes of ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, Reigning Sound's Greg Cartwright and Kings of Leon collaborator Angelo Petraglia.
The album will drop one day before the 20th anniversary of the band's debut LP, The Big Come Up. All of its material was written in the studio, with many first takes captured and used, harking back to the “stripped-down blues rock of The Black Keys' early days making music together in Akron, Ohio basements”.
“That's always been the beauty of the thing Pat and I do,” Auerbach says. “It's instant. “We've never really had to work at it. Whenever we'd get together, we'd just make music, you know? We didn't know what we were going to do, but we'd just do it and it would sound cool.
“It's the natural chemistry Pat and I have. Being in a band this long is a testament to that. It was a real gift that we were given. I mean, the odds of being plopped down a block and a half from each other in Akron, Ohio – it just seems crazy.”
The album's first single, Wild Child, is characterized by The Black Keys' uber-accessible brand of blues-rock, with Auerbach's catchy vocal lines and crunchy electric guitar powerchords taking center stage. Check it out below.
After conceiving initial ideas for the album at Auerbach's Nashville studio, Easy Eye Sound, he and Carney got things going with the help of Gibbons, Cartwright and Petraglia. The latter two contributed to the album's first single, Wild Child.
“Living in Nashville and making records here has opened both of our minds to that experience a little bit more,” Auerbach says. “I knew Pat would love working with both of these guys, so we decided we’d give it a shot. It was the first time we’d ever really done that. It was fun as hell. We just sat around a table with acoustic guitars and worked out a song ahead of time.”
“The cool thing with Greg is that he wants to approach stuff with a story in mind – there’s a plot, almost,” Carney adds.
The story of Billy Gibbons' inclusion on the record began over a decade ago, when Auerbach and Carney jammed with the ZZ Top legend while he worked on an album with Rick Rubin in LA.
“We never even really wrote one song – we just had some ideas we put down,” Carney remembers. “We really just wanted to hang out with him. We stayed in touch, and Dan invited him to the studio once we started working on this album.”
The band will support the record on a North American tour – their first in three years – commencing in July. The trek will make stops in Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and more, before wrapping up in Dallas, Texas on October 18.