Quick Hits: Black Keys, Jack White, Rotary Downs, and Hypercolor


Quick Hits is a new colum where I share my occasionally coherent thoughts on some (relatively) new releases.

The Black Keys – “Fever”

Here is a list of ways to describe “Fever” I scribbled down while mildly drunk and listening to this song for the first time:

  • Like falling down a set of stairs into a moon bounce
  • Like kissing a stripper you thought was your sister only to find she’s neither
  • Like birds chirping in your ear because they wanna get busy with your beard
  • Like drinking a beer, spilling it, and having the libation fall into a wormhole which opens back up in your mouth so you get to drink your dropped brew

The Black Keys – “Turn Blue”

And in a similar vein of questionable sobriety, here’s how I would describe their second single:

  • Like stepping into quicksand, being pulled under and falling out the bottom into a pit of recently fluffed pillows waiting below
  • Like getting high and listening to a rave three houses down while trying to watch the Earth turn
  • Like watching your friend drop acid and wonder why the lights are suddenly looking at you funny while you slowly begin to believe he’s right
  • Like getting lost in a strange city that’s speaking a foreign language and you’re tapped on the shoulder by a face you think you know but can’t quite place

Jack White – “Lazaretto”

I have nothing clever or interesting to say about this, I just have a feeling Jack White’s second solo album will be something really special.  Also, the hornets nest buzz he gets between notes on his solos get me all giddy inside.  It’s as if instead of playing guitar he just tears down some powerlines and shapes the resulting sparks into whatever unholy sounds he can concoct. It’s probably my favorite new wrinkle White’s added to his playing recently.

Rotary Downs – “Flowers in Bloom”

What’s that song about tripping on daisies or something?  I don’t know.  Anyways,  this song sounds like tripping and falling into a face full of mud but being so high you think it’s a cloud and you’re floating away on gusts of Rotary Downs-patented psych-guitar counter-melodies as the voice of someone else’s god calls out, obscured by static and reverb.  In less esoteric terms, these guys put out one of my favorite albums of the past few years with 2010’s Cracked Maps & Blue Reports, and although this song sounds like a return to their pre-Blue Reports ways, I couldn’t be more excited they are finally peeking their heads out of their New Orleans home for us fans in the rest of the world to get our fix.

HYPERCOLOR – “100 Hands”

A new song from Richmond, VA’s own HYPERCOLOR (they just released a new EP you can check out here) that also happens to feature two members also in RVA’s Avers who also just released an excellent record that I will be writing many words about when I get around to it.  But more to the point of this song, can I just talk about the coda for a bit (except for a brief mention of that killer guitar solo in one of the instrumental breaks; the guy’s about to fall out his chair in the video and I really, really, really hope that’s the take they used)?  It’s a continuation of the theme the song runs on but with a monstrous drop into a heavy groove; clean-tone guitars snaking through tom hits bouncing from ear to ear.  It wraps the whole song together with a nice little bow before the hammer swings down and smashes the whole thing to pieces at the last second.  I’m also listening to this song on repeat as a Spring downpour pummels the trees outside and this particular mix of sounds and circumstances makes the world seem like a pretty fucking amazing place.



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