Keep It Hid (Nonesuch/Warner)
Fewer and fewer contemporary artists are making modern music with the warmth and rawness of your favourite pre-80s recordings, which is what consistently sets the Black Keys apart. Well, that and singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach’s superior understanding of what makes a song work.
On his bluesy badass solo outing Keep It Hid, Auerbach takes a breather from the house-wrecking stomps favoured by the Black Keys to show what he can do with either just an acoustic guitar or a full band ready to do his bidding.
A sinister swinger like The Prowl could’ve turned the career of Otis Rush around, Van Morrison might’ve built a comeback around When The Night Comes, and the late Doug Sahm is probably looking down right now wondering how the heck he didn’t cut My Last Mistake before checking out. Fortunately, Auerbach delivers the goods with spooky, sleazy and soulful style.
Top track: Heartbroken, In Disrepair