Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Strange Bedfellows

MiddleCoast fave Danger Mouse is actually a real-life superhero, making the world a better place. After producing some of the best albums in the past five years (see: The Grey Album, Demon Days, The Good The Bad & The Queen, St. Elsewhere), not to mention pulling one of the best pranks ever in 2006, Mouse is still at it. He teams up with Cee-Lo once again (hallelujah) with a new Gnarls Barkley release, The Odd Couple (due out in April); he's produced the newest from Martina Topley-Bird (of Tricky's Maxinquaye fame), entitled The Blue God; and perhaps the most interesting pairing is with Ohio garage-rockers, the Black Keys.

As the story goes, Danger Mouse was planning an album for Ike Turner, a fallen idol he'd hoped to return to his rightful glory. Mouse and Ike had employed the Keys to write the songs (it was to be billed as Ike Turner & the Black Keys), Mouse would produce, and Ike would sing, as well as play guitar, organ, and piano. When Turner passed away last December, the songs the Keys had written simply became the basis for their own new album, and Danger Mouse stayed on to produce Attack & Release (due out April 1st on Nonesuch).

The first single, "Strange Times", is evidence that the pairing worked, giving the middleCoast our favorite song of the year thus far. The minimalist blues-rock of the Keys, which owes so much to Turner's career, gets infused with the sound of soul that Danger Mouse has brought to all of his rock 'n roll projects. Here is a sneak peek:

The Black Keys hit Chicago April 12th at The Riv.

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