Tag Archives: Dan Auerbach

Rocks In The Attic #846: Night Beats – ‘Who Sold My Generation’ (2016)

RITA#846I found this record in the digital equivalent of a sale bin. I’d admired the record cover before, but didn’t know anything about the band. A psych-rock band from Seattle, they sound far different to what I was expecting, what with the obvious reference to the Who in the album title, and the Who’s Next colour-scheme of the cover.

This, the band’s third studio album, features Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Robert Levon Been on bass, and you have to wonder how much his presence influenced the album cover. It definitely looks like the sort of image you more likely to see on the cover of a BRMC release. The album covers for Night Beats’ first two efforts – 2011’s self-titled debut, and 2013’s Sonic Bloom – definitely look more like what you’d expect from a psych band. All wishy-washy colours and the vague threat of hallucinogenics.

RITA#846aNext to a few moody black and white photos of the band on the rear cover are some typically overcooked liner notes. ‘Through all the echo chambers, broken sound barriers and miscarried choruses, the sons and daughters of the sold generation wash onto the shore intact,’ it begins. The preposterousness ends with ‘Let me play on, like the fool does. Let the fields burn, the apparition lurk and the tower fall. The hands are dealt and the king is dead.’

Music-wise, the album contains some great songs but the whole thing feels underproduced…or just recorded quickly, and on the cheap. Any brilliance in the songs is immediately diminished by it sounding too similar to the one that’s just finished. Fourth album Myth Of A Man (2019) sounds like a more interesting proposition: produced by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach and featuring a backing-band made up of old-time session musicians for Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin.

Hit: Power Child

Hidden Gem: Egypt Berry


Rocks In The Attic #481: The Steve Miller Band – ‘Book of Dreams’ (1977)

RITA#481jpgUp to last week, I wouldn’t have known Steve Miller if he had passed me in the street. He’s one of those people I’ve just never seen interviewed (as far as I can remember), and his music is just far enough outside of the mainstream that you don’t see him regularly on the likes of MTV or in the music magazines. All in all, I get the impression that he likes his anonymity.

I love his music though; him and his older brother Glenn (that’s a joke, by the way; keep up). Even Steve’s really early stuff, like 1968’s Living In The USA is worth checking out – he definitely hit the ground running. Everybody loves The Joker (or at least everybody seems to have loved it ever since Levi’s used it for an advertising campaign in 1990). Take The Money And Run, Fly Like An Eagle, Jet Airliner – just awesome; and even the later cheese like Abracadabra can be happily put in the guilty pleasures pile.

But then, bursting out of his cloud of anonymity last week, after being inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, he shows his true colours. Half of his complaints in regards to the Hall Of Fame process and the music business in general seemed to be fair enough – and probably needed to be said – but his attitude and treatment of the Black Keys was just disgusting. A severe case of Grumpy Old Man syndrome.

Looking very uncomfortable in a pair of matching leather jackets, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney gave a lovely speech to induct Miller, but ended up leaving the venue half-way through his set. According to Auerbach, Miller didn’t even know who they were when they were introduced backstage (after the event he complained about the aspect of not being able to choose who inducts you) and was just unpleasant to them throughout the evening.

I don’t think those outside of the USA truly understand the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame process. It does seem to be a very American thing. Most of the coverage of it seems to be from commentators amazed at how certain acts are still to be inducted, decades after their commercial peak. I applaud Miller for holding the institution up to the light, but I just can’t get over that Black Keys thing.

I’m not a huge fan of the Black Keys. In my eyes they sold out a long time ago, but Miller’s attitude seems to stem from reverse ageism – disrespecting them for being a younger band. What a battler.

Hit: Jet Airliner

Hidden Gem: Threshold

Rocks In The Attic #357: Neil Young – ‘After The Gold Rush’ (1970)

RITA#357Well I heard mister Young sing about her, well I heard ole Neil put her down, well I hope Neil Young will remember, a Southern man don’t need him around anyhow.

There isn’t enough sniping between bands these days. It’s fun and reminds you that everybody’s playing in the same pool. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like the level of antagonism on something like How Do You Sleep – John Lennon’s poison pen-letter to Paul McCartney. That’s taking it down to a schoolyard level (and anyway, McCartney’s initial snipe – a photograph of two beetles fucking each other on the rear cover of Ram – was far more tasteful).

But if it’s one band having a bit of a dig at another band, I usually love it. The above lyrics from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama showed that the rednecks weren’t too enamoured of Neil Young’s song on this album. As usual, with these sorts of things, it all got blown out of proportion and became widely known that Neil Young and Skynyrd didn’t get on.

The same is almost true of Steely Dan and the Eagles. First of all, the mighty Dan include the lyric ‘Turn up the Eagles, the neighbours are listening’ in the song Everything You Did, off The Royal Scam. Glenn Frey then returned the compliment by including the line ‘They stab it with their Steely knives’ in Hotel California. Most people think the two bands were at odds, but the Eagles loved Steely Dan and perhaps most importantly Donald Fagen and Walter Becker both had a respect for the Eagles – that’s Glenn Frey, Don Henley and Tim Schmit you can hear singing backing vocals on the Dan’s 1978 single FM (No Static At All).

I was expecting more snipes from Jack White against the Black Key’s Dan Auerbach on 2014’s Lazaretto, but it’s okay. It seems White was more concerned with rubbing his ex-wife’s face in his new-found promiscuity – ‘I got three women, red, blonde, and brunette, it took a digital photograph to pick which one I like’ – on Three Women, his version of Blind Willie McTell’s Blind Women Blues.

Hit: Southern Man

Hidden Gem: Cripple Creek Ferry