Shaken: Experiencing Dan Auerbach

Posted on August 15th, by mbenaim in Features. No Comments


Friend and Gopher-writer Dylan Shrader came up with an idea for a review format. Early on, us Gophers agreed that we’d like musicians to do all the music reviews. Shrader is a musician, so he qualifies for this, but he may have just convinced us that personal experiences with music can be effective introductions to music. Read through and let us know what you think. Check out Dan Auerbach’s music here.
The proposal?

“Hey. I strayed from your length, instructions and content just like I promised…Tell me about the format, I’ll be in civilization until tomorrow. I think I’m on to something. Most reviews are like, it sounds like this, or its bold. But never how it makes me feel or what it means to me, or where in my life I was once I got it. Crazy idea, maybe, but I’m bat-shit crazy. It’s fun too. I’d be interested in doing it again. Don’t steal my format, either.” (Sorry, D!)

Dan Auerbach
Keep it Hid (2008)

I was sitting in my car, with my one of my dearest friends, at 1 a.m. Sunday morning. We had decided to open a few beers and drive around the countryside, and crank “Keep It Hid.” He’s the kind of friend whose spirit rides the fine line between freedom and decay, once he dropped a loaded twelve-gauge in my room, blowing a hole in the wall and singeing my sleeping bag.

We were talking, smoking, sipping our beers and placing them back in our laps, not doing much listening, more like drunken bad-boy bitching. We pulled into my driveway and began discussing an old girlfriend of mine, of the Tangled-Up in Blue variety: gone, but never escaped my mind. She’s the type that could have you feeling bad (and responsible) when she lost her car keys or a concert ticket. I was mid-sentence about just what I wanted to say to her new man when the opening riffs of “the prowl” silenced me like getting caught with your girlfriend’s sister. Greasy pentatonic-chunk hook, “I see you walkin’ after dark/Trading looks with other men/But I’m the only one you need/And I know just where you’ll be.” We both released these moans, the noise you make when things are perfect and your speech is slurred, heads back, slapping our knees. God damn, Auerbach’s right, look at me, still on the prowl trying to concoct a plan for a dead love. Here’s some music that gives that old human condition the up and down.

Thank god there isn’t any shiny Berklee College bullshit on the album. It sounds like a real person making music, which seems to be as rare as tribal peoples untouched by cigarettes or cell phones. Guitar lines any long-haired, rarin’-to-go sixteen year old can execute. Auerbach’s lyrics, his carpenter-speak poetry, stunk of truth throughout my workweek. I listened to it in my car in the driveway, iPod on and mowing the lawn, until the woman/women that a majority of the album is about took the face of the one haunting me. It crept me out and I had to stop listening and thinking about her. “I’m just a kid and you’re a walkin’ candy store/oh I want some more.” But by the end of the week I had comprehended every track and finally let the tangled-up-in-blue girl leave my mind. And I thought, look at this, art you can use.

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