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First Listen: The Black Keys, 'Brothers'

There's no shortage of bluesy rock records, and I sure didn't think I needed to rush out and hear another one -- that is, until I heard The Black Keys' new album, Brothers. Packed with great songs and devoid of throwaways, Brothers is the sixth album by the duo of singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney.

Like its predecessors, Brothers is remarkably, consistently strong stuff, though this one feels a bit tamer, with more of an R&B influence. The album was recorded mostly in a studio dripping with the sounds of Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and The Rolling Stones (circa Sticky Fingers), and even finds The Black Keys covering soul singer Jerry Butler.

Exceptionally well-produced by Auerbach and Carney themselves -- though "Tighten Up" is produced by Danger Mouse -- Brothers was mixed by Tchad Blake, a genius in making sounds pop from the speakers while giving definition to the playing.

If you're a Black Keys fan, what do you think of Brothers? If you're a newcomer, are you hooked yet? Please leave your thoughts on the album in the comments section. Brothers will stream here in its entirety until its release on May 18.

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In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.
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