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Coachella 2011 Artist Preview: The Black Keys


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Photo courtesy Reuters


Heard the Black Keys yet? Bet you have and might not even know it.

Fans of this two man American Blues outfit have been absorbing the bands particular brand of stompin’ riff-tastic blues rock since its inception in Akron, Ohio in 2001. Multiple releases and endless touring has built this band into a multi-million unit selling machine over the course of six full lengths, some live releases and even a recent hip-hop collaboration featuring some of the top rappers in the game.

However, the band has a very marketable ability to have their music placed in non-traditional mediums that unconsciously exposes the masses to their rock. Since their first album, “The Big Come Up” in 2002, The Black Keys music has consistently landed in television, movies and video games.

Here is a quick list of some of their songs and places you might have heard them:


  • “I’ll Be Your Man” (The Big Come Up, 2002): HBO Series Hung (TV)
  • “Breaks” (The Big Come Up, 2002): RocknRolla (film)
  • “Hard Row” (Thickfreakness, 2003): Pilot episode of Sons of Anarchy(TV)
  • “Set You Free” (Thickfreakness, 2003): School of Rock (film) and I love You Man (film)
  • “When the Lights Go Out” (Rubber Factory, 2004): Black Snake Moan (film)
  • “10 A.M. Automatic” (Rubber Factory, 2004): Live Free or Die (film) and The Go-Getter (film), MLB 06: The Show (video game) and an American Express commercial.
  • “Grown So Ugly” (Rubber Factory, 2004): Cloverfield (film) and commercials for Sony Ericsson, Victoria’s Secret, and Zales.
  • “Just Got To Be” (Magic Potion, 2006): NHL 08 (video game)
  • “Your Touch” (Magic Potion, 2006): Zombieland (film) and HBO’s Eastbound and Down (TV)
  • “Strange Times” (Attack & Release, 2008): Grand Theft Auto IV (video game) and NASCAR 09 (video game)
  • “I Got Mine” (Attack & Release, 2008): The Bridge (TV)
  • “Lies” (Attack & Release, 2008): Big Love (TV) and Lie to Me (TV)
  • “So He Won’t Break” (Attack & Release, 2008): One Tree Hill (TV)
  • “Tighten Up” (Brothers, 2010): FIFA 11 (video game)
  • “Howlin’ For You” (Brothers, 2010): NHL 11 (video game) and COPS L.A.C. (TV)


So even if you don’t think you’ve heard The Black Keys… you have probably heard The Black Keys.

It’s the bands knack for writing catchy songs, complete with simplistic arrangements and hooks that stick for days that embeds them into the social consciousness so smoothly. Their music has the clarity and simplistic nature of a two-piece, yet the songs are strong, with weighty vocals and easy to relate to themes. A catchy riff, a good vocal hook to hang the song on, and another The Black Keys gem is born. The formula seems obvious enough although The Black Keys have mastered it.

In 2010 the band earned 4 Grammy nominations as well as being named “Artist of the Year” by Spin Magazine.

2011 is shaping up to propel this band even further into the stratosphere. Recent live appearances on Saturday Night Live and Conan O’Brien are putting the band (not just their music) in front of national, mainstream audiences.

San Diego residents will have a chance to see The Black Keys at this years Coachella Music Festival as they have a slot right underneath headliners The Kings of Leon on Friday, April 15th.