Even though El Camino is just out, the Black Keys are eager for a return to the studio

The Black Keys are on a roll. Just months after the release of El Camino, and before the band has even launched a new North American tour, Dan Auerbach says the band has enough material for a follow up.

“We don’t know when it would come out,” Auerbach said in an interview with Billboard.com, “but we want to try to get in the studio this year just to start working.”

Recording has become a lot more organic since Auerbach opened up his own space as Easy Eye Studio in Nashville. While the Black Keys have been touring Europe, the studio has already played host to JEFF the Brotherhood and the Growlers, among others: “It’s really busy, to be honest,” he said. “It’s pretty cool ’cause I love making records. It’s my favorite thing to do. And having a place I got to design and flow the way I wanted it to is really nice, a total luxury.”

No word on the tone of these new Black Keys songs, which would follow a sharp turn toward rock on El Camino, after the bluesier R&B successes of Brothers. “We won’t know ’til we get in there,” Auerbach said. “We’re always trying to write and keep ideas going, but where we’re most comfortable is in the studio. I can’t wait to get back in there.”

The Black Keys begin the U.S. leg of their ongoing tour March 2 in Cincinnati, with dates continuing through May 16 in Milwaukee.

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on the Black Keys. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

THE BLACK KEYS – EL CAMINO: This album didn’t so much try to follow up 2010’s Brothers, their most acclaimed release, as feel around on its outer edges. There was less blues, and more brawn — something that’s laid out perfectly on the lead single and opening-track “Lonely Boy.” Whereas Brothers – while deftly balancing both the modern rock and Delta styles that have long obsessed the Black Keys — came off like a chest-bumping celebration of summer, El Camino was this angry shove back against winter. Gassed up and ready to roll, this follow up — from the very first — was on a serious tear. Think Brothers, turned up to 11.

THE BLACK KEYS – BROTHERS (2010): Singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney return, in many ways, to their template — the blue-eyed soul, the lo-fi atmospherics — but that doesn’t mean these well-known acolytes of the urban mid-century blues cliche have stopped hybridizing black music into modern rock. They’ve just skipped forward a few decades into the 1970s — complete with blaxploitation grooves and ghostly new Curtis Mayfield-esque vocals from Auerbach. It sparks a complete return to form inside Brothers, even while advancing the Black Keys’ core sound.

THE BLACK KEYS – MAGIC POTION (2006): The Black Keys reach back into the blues’ swampy past to pull at the greasy, grimy roots and get something good and gritty. This is the kind of stuff you always hear modern guitarists talking about listening to, but you never hear a whole lot of proof in their own music that they actually listened to anything beyond some old Zeppelin records. The Black Keys actually deliver.

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