The Black Keys - El Camino

The Black Keys weren’t exactly small potatoes before, but they got absolutely huge with their last album, 2010′s Brothers. And so they deserve credit for cranking out a follow-up without wasting any time and for sticking to the ferocious blues-rock pound that brought them to the table in the first place. Their new El Camino is out in the usual illegal internet spots today. What do you, the readers of Stereogum, think of it?

El Camino is out 12/6 on Nonesuch.

Comments (56)
  1. I liked it quite a bit. “Little Black Submarines” is the jump off

  2. i’ve been a black keys fan since 2005 and have everyone of their albums. imo “el camino” is their strongest body of work yet… it’s a great album.

  3. I listened to it on the drive into work this morning, and I love it. As a longtime Keys fan, I was worried when they went for a richer and more produced sound on “Attack & Release” instead of that old bluesy, recorded-on-a-tape-deck sound of their earlier stuff. I think they finally found a good balance on this. You can tell Danger Mouse had his hands all over it.

    Also, anyone else think it sounds like a really polished White Stripes album? That’s not a criticism; I just get a major Stripes vibe on it.

    • it’s true, and this might as well confirm it, everything Danger Mouse touches turns to gold. Black Keys are already incredible, and they work harder than almost every other band as big as them.

      Put those two together, sprinkle on a little Bob Odenkirk Saul-ing it up, and you’ve got one of the best albums of the year.

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    • I think it is well produced, but it doesn’t have the weirdness that all the White Stripes albums have. I think both of those bands are more different than people realize.

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  6. It’s a fun Black Keys album, plain and simple…. Just wish it was a little longer.

  7. awesome album!

  8. Stream little black submarine and read the track review here:

    But first impression of the album… I really like it, but I can’t help but miss their blues stuff. They are wacky and fun on this album and its really cool, but I just don’t think its as good as 10 cent pistol, or tighten up. Gold on the ceiling is awesome though.

  9. But on second though, they are awesome and I love them

  10. I’m diggin it… my favorite track so far is probably “Nova Baby”. :)

  11. After about 4-5 listens my favorite songs are ‘Lonely Boy,’ ‘Gold on the Ceiling,’ ‘Hell of a Season,’ ‘Stop Stop,’ and ‘Nova Baby.’

    I read that the Keys went into the studio with absolutely nothing and worked with Dangermouse from that point. His influence is a lot more evident on these songs than his work on Attack on Release. ‘Stop Stop’ especially sounds like it could have been on the Broken Bells or a Gnarls Barkley album. That’s a good thing though; I bet it will be released as the second or third single.

    Also, I’ll wager anyone that the intro of ‘Nova Baby’ will be used in a commercial by this time next year.

    Anyways, this album was everything I hoped it would be. Like Brothers, I HAD to download the leak, but i’ll be picking up the CD on december 6th and probably a few extras for christmas presents. Thanks Dan, Patrick, and Brian!

  12. Loving the album.

  13. Love it, love it, love it.

  14. Nova Baby sounds like The Black Keys publicly mocking Coldplay, and doing a really fucking good job at it. This album is really enjoyable. Its nothing ive never heard before, but that being said, its also really excellent.

  15. no, it is not some game changing art rock album. yes it IS a great album and nothing like nickleback. and no, the black keys are not “sell outs”. yes, they licensed a few songs to commercials and a tv show. is that so bad?? do these guys not deserve that? have they not paid their “underground dues” for years and years now? give them a break.

  16. A much tighter and stronger record than Brothers.

  17. “Sister” is my personal favorite right now. The grooves on this album are just great.

  18. I’m kind of bummed. I expected a lot better from these guys, and they gave us an album that sounds nothing like the Black Keys (and not in a “they reinvented themselves” kind of way, but rather a more “we just sat back and let dangermouse tell us what to do” kind of way). I’m really happy that they’re raking in the dough now, they deserve it. But at the risk of sounding like a d-bag hipster, they’re really lacking any of the fire or passion that drips off of their earlier albums. All of these new tracks sound like they should be playing in the background while a chick with an iPod dances in silhouette.

    • That’s not a d-bag hipster comment… There has been a definite shift in their musical energy, but its been a pretty consistent progression. The best part about music though, is it never goes away! We can still revel in their “old” energy, while enjoying these awesome new tunes that they keep spitting out. I think that passion or fire that you’re talking about is a really difficult thing to hold onto for musicians. The most we can really hope for is that bands try and at least refine their sound…which is exactly what we see with the keys!

    • i don’t really understand how someone can sound less like themself because their sound is different than what they sounded like ten years ago. brothers didn’t sound like rubber factory and danger mouse only produced a couple tracks. not to mention that their “new sound” has a lot of passion to it. it just may not be YOUR passion.

  19. Better the Brothers.

  20. Woo!

    … That is my comment.

  21. I’m loving the album. I’ve given it a good 15 solid listens so far and can say I’m enjoying it just as much, if not more than Brothers. I’ve been a fan since Magic Potion and have always loved watching them grow and change, yet still hold to their roots. Danger Mouse’s producing is very evident in this album with a big sense of polish. I like both sides of The Black Keys, the polished AND the raw. The Black Keys are a band where you can have all of their albums, place them on shuffle, and not press skip once.

    Not really a complaint, but I did notice that the second half of ‘Little Black Submarines’ keeps reminding me of ‘Mary Jane’s Last Dance’. Heh. Since it’s the exact same chord progression and all :P Still love it though.

    My standout track so far is Gold on the Ceiling. Gets me so pumped up. Definitely looking forward to my vinyl in the mail! :)

  22. I wasn’t that big on Brothers to be honest, but this album was a pretty good listen.

  23. “Just Got To Be” 12/6 already! ;-)

  24. Didn’t really like Nova Baby at first because I expected it to be a filthy grimey punk song, ever since I heard the title.
    After a few listens, I’m loving the song. One of the standouts from the album IMO.

    Some of the other songs, (Money Maker, Gold On The Ceiling) sound a bit “road trip” ish. Didn’t like them at first either but right now, they’re sounding amazing.

  25. The thing that really blows me away about the black keys is how simple all their music is, but how awesome it all is!! I went through and figured out almost all of the chord progressions and riffs. Pretty much the only chords used on the whole album are Em Bm and A or G F and C! And the riffs… only 3-5 notes and they’re so rockin! Love it!

  26. Could just be me, but the vocals during the chorus of Gold On the Ceiling remind me of the chorus vocals of the Red Hot Chili Peppers version of Higher Ground.

    I really dig the songs I’ve heard so far, can’t wait to hear the whole thing. Black Keys roooock!

  27. Jesus…this is a good album

    After a few hundred listens in the past 3 days, i’m going to say that I’m really diggin this one.

    I’m a rubber factory era black keys fan and was skeptical, but I think I like everyone of the keys albums.

    No matter how simple the songs are, they all have heart and soul.

    • I’m calling your bluff. I’m not sure how long this album is but let’s say it’s 30 minutes. That means you can listen to it 48 times in a day. That’s a full day, including the night. If you’ve been up for 3 days straight just listening to this album,you’ve heard it 144 times. So… “a few hundred listens in the past 3 days”? – I don’t think so, mister. BUSTED! Over and out.

  28. I like it a lot. I can’t wait to hear them live, that is, if they come to Columbus…

  29. The Best Song is call…

    “Nova Baby” …that´s it !

  30. *exaggeration

  31. awful.
    sometimes riffs sound like Jet’s.
    I hate the work of Danger Mouse with The Black Keys.
    I don’t even know if it’s worst than the precedent album.
    I’m defintely stuck to Magic Potion.

  32. Banner review on the right,

    “A Tremendous, hook-laden, all-killer no-filler collection, by some distance the most powerful, compelling rock album of the year.”

    ….This is such utter shit.

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