It hasn’t been a secret that Dan and Pat have been working on many artists new albums. What’s interesting is when you dig a bit deeper you discover some unexpected connections not only with the artists they have chosen to work with but others who are moving in the same circles as them. This also creates the possibility for some speculation about future collaborations.
In one of the best interviews I’ve read with Dan, he talks about the band’s DIY recording ethic and his gear fixation. This affinity for music making in their home studio and open attitude to musical influences/direction (Danger Mouse) has created a natural propensity for passing on their experiences to others and working with them.
When I thought about some of the artists they have worked with, I couldn’t help but think about the more melancholic and darker strains of The Black Keys sound and attitude. The artists also seemingly have their own raw, distinctive and authentic sound much alike the ‘Keys when they first attracted greater public attention. One such artist who fills both categories is Jessica Lea Mayfield. The languid and mournful sprawl of Dan’s guitar fills the space so well on her track “I Can’t Lie To You”. She, of course, became The Black Keys first guest vocalist when she recorded vocals for the track “Things Aint What They Used To Be” on the Attack and Release album.
Dan is quoted on Jessica Lea Mayfield’s MySpace page explaining, “I think she’s dark and moody in a mysterious way, not unlike Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.” I must say I was surprised Dan even knew who Nick Cave was. Perhaps I shouldn’t be considering that another band Dan has produced, The Black Diamond Heavies, are supporting Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds in Chicago on 28 and 29 September 2008. Just imagine a festival three-way of the ‘Heavies, Nick Cave and the ‘Keys doing a rollicking live version of Nut Bush City Limits! The mind boggles.
A while ago I wrote half-jokingly that Liam Finn looked “like a younger version of Dan with his own full beard.” I hoped for a possible collaboration between the two of them if they should ever cross paths. Now I read that no less than Jessica Lea Mayfield and Liam Finn are supporting The Black Keys on some UK tour dates in November 2008. I tell you my prophecy could well come true!
Supporting Liam Finn at present across the USA are The Veils. If Dan ever wanted a melancholic and self-absorbed band to work with then he should look no further. Lead singer Finn Andrews (who out of interest, my girlfriend saw at a Melbourne Boost Juice listening to his ipod the other day) appears part-Jeff Buckley, part-Nick Cave, part-praying mantis on stage and is surely the perfect brooding counterpoint for Dan to work on some tracks with.