Don't be fooled by their move to Nonesuch Records: The Black Keys are still the spare, muddy, riff-heavy blues duo they always were. On the recent Magic Potion, singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach sounds both world-weary and road-wizened. The entrancing "Goodbye Babylon" shimmers in a dirty haze, as Auerbach gives a kiss-off to the temptations and false idols of his past. Credit drummer/producer Patrick Carney for the open, reverberating tone of Potion, which feels intimate amid the sparseness. "Sparse" isn't in the vocabulary of Philly's Dr. Dog, who cram as many vocal harmonies, sleigh bells and piano twinkles into songs as the tape machine will allow. Their newest EP, Takers and Leavers, features sun-stroked, shambling pop sung through a cloud of pungent smoke and lost weekends.
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