Album Reviews: Kate Nash and The Black Keys

Kate Nash: My Best Friend is You

Remember a couple years ago when Kate Nash and Lily Allen were on top of the indie world with their British-Bitch-Pop music? Well Kate Nash is back and possibly a little sweeter and charming than I remember. “My Best Friend is You” focuses a lot more heavily on timeless, vaguely retro, hand-clapping choruses than anything Nash had put out in the past. Also there are even moments where Nash seems vulnerable and scared. In her rambling, nervous breakdown(ish) monologue at the end of “Don’t You Want to Share the Guilt”, Nash proclaims “I don’t know how more people haven’t got mental health problems. Thinking is one of the most stressful things I’ve ever come across…”. Don’t worry though, Kate hasn’t completely lost her edge. She is still definitely a bitch. The only difference is that now she might just be the sweetest bitch you know: “Everyone thinks that girl’s a lady. But I don’t. I think that girl’s shady”, is how Kate matter of factly puts it early on in “Do-Wah-Doo”, only to lose all hope of restraint in the songs closing second by grumbling “I think she’s a bitch!” just as the music ends.

Stand out Tracks –
Kiss that Grrrl

Don’t You Want to Share the Guilt


My Best Friend is You – 3.5 out of 5

Black Keys – Brothers

I feel like you have to respect the Black Keys. They’ve (rightfully) received nothing but critical acclaim, and have been building a solid fan base for years now, and they have done it by exploring a musical style that most people had (for reasons unknown) left for dead: The Blues. And not some watered down “vegan friendly” brand of blues either, but serious heartfelt, soulful blues that even die-hard Delta Blues aficionados have to respect. In that sense “Brothers” is no different. The way that the guitar really begins to kick in at about 13 seconds into “She’s Long Gone”, makes your hair stand on end. This is serious music. The most shocking thing though is not that they have somehow manufactured the most authentic blues sound in recent memory but that they have actually made the blues not just cool (it has always been that) but “hip”. Kind of makes me wonder whether this is good for ‘the blues’. I don’t claim to be a musical historian but I’ve always felt that blues was something that was supposed to exist on the fringes of main stream culture as something that was too deep and painful for most of America to understand. Not really sure what Junior Kimbrough would think of a bunch of fashionably spindly, v-neck clad suburbanites jamming out to music that he obviously influenced. It’s hard to say. Do we truly ‘get’ blues music? Not sure. Either way there is no doubt that “Brothers” is damn good and is the Black Keys’ most accessible album to date. At times the Akron Ohio duo even mixes in classic R&B / Motown influences in some of the later tracks on the album like “Sinister Kid” and “I’m not the one”. While I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about those songs. I do know that for two nerdy white Midwesterners, the Black Keys sure do know the blues. Either that or they tricked me.

Stand Out Tracks –
Next Girl

Tighten Up

She’s Long Gone

Brothers 4.5 out of 5


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