SXSW: Attacking, releasing with the Black Keys


The Black Keys couldn’t have picked a better place to play their Friday-afternoon South by Southwest concert than at La Zona Rosa. The Akron duo’s bluesy garage-rock filled the cavernous club, which sorta looks like a giant garage. The 45-minute show, part of Scene’s and Village Voice Media’s day party, mixed old material and songs from the Keys’ new Attack & Release, which comes out on April 1. ... A quick note on the new CD: Attack & Release is produced by Danger Mouse, the beatmaster behind Gnarls Barkley. And while he laces the 11 new cuts with subtle textures and faraway sounds that give new dimension to the Keys’ old sound on record, onstage there was little change to the famously primitive twosome’s noisy rattle. The best of the new tracks (“Strange Times,” “Oceans and Streams”) – stripped-down yet thoroughly structured live – already sound warmly familiar in the set. There’s a bit more complexity to the music – well, as much complexity that can be found in two guys pounding on drums and guitars – but nudged against fan faves like “Have Love Will Travel,” it’s about as soulful as rock ‘n’ stomp gets. -- Michael Gallucci


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