El Camino 10th Anniversary Edition
The Black Keys: El Camino 10th Anniversary Edition
Mike Ayers on December 10, 2021
In 2011, The Black Keys’ sixth album, Brothers, hit No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and yielded the band multiple Grammy nominations. The story goes that, after a Saturday Night Live appearance, a snowstorm forced them to cancel a few live dates. Instead of hibernating, they teamed with Danger Mouse and promptly started banging out the tracks that would make up El Camino, arguably the band’s most accessible record in their now-extensive catalog. For the 10th anniversary edition, the band culls together a few different versions, with the “super deluxe” offering a robust collection of live tracks recorded in 2011-2012. First up is a complete show from the band’s tour stop in Portland, Maine—20 tracks that capture the group energized by new cuts like “Gold on the Ceiling,” “Little Black Submarines,” and “Next Girl.” The term “garage rock” has always been thrown around when discussing the Keys—but this night’s performance was truly an assault on the blues, with Dan Auerbach’s guitars thrashing throughout. The other two performances draw from more intimate settings—a BBC taping and a session at the famed Electro-Vox studio in Hollywood. Both gigs find the Keys performing at another intensely high level, with short and punchy versions of “Howlin’ for You” and the smash single “Lonely Boy” showing off just how good this band was at creating compacted, yet transformative rock moments.