Welcome to another installment of The Baker’s Dozen, a feature in which I will deliver a playlist of some of the things I’ve been listening to lately and tell you why.
This week, I’ve been listening to Nomad, the album that Tuareg musician Bombino just put out that was produced by Dan Auerbach. It got me thinking about the unique sound Auerbach has carved out for both himself and the musicians he has worked with. Thus, the idea for this week’s playlist was born, a look into the mark Auerbach has made on the music of the past decade.
Without further ado, check out this week’s edition of The Baker’s Dozen, hot and fresh out the kitchen:
1. Bombino – “Amidinine”
Because even though Auerbach hails from Akron, Ohio and Bombino from Agadez, Niger, these two men both come from the same tribe of blues guitar nomads.
2. The Black Keys – “Tighten Up”
Because this Danger Mouse-produced single launched The Black Keys to the level at which your mom gets just as excited when it comes on at brunch as you do when it comes on at the bar. Also that key change during the bridge is nothing short of transcendent.
3. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals – “The Lion The Beast The Beat”
Because his production provides this song with the muscle and edge that the rest of the record sorely lacks. He should produce every song on their next record, just sayin’.
4. Dr. John – “Revolution”
Because he brings out the best material this New Orleans septuagenarian has produced in decades, almost making him relevant again. Almost.
5. The Black Keys – “The Lengths”
Because he makes his guitar weep out every ounce of pain he has in his soul.
6. Michael Kiwanuka – “Lasan”
Because you can barely notice Auerbach’s presence on this track from Kiwanuka’s debut album, but the song would be utterly incomplete without his subtle slide guitar work.
7. Jessica Lea Mayfield – “Kiss Me Again”
Because his production on this album succeeds in bringing out the same level of musical emotion from Mayfield, a teenager when this was recorded, as he got out of Dr. John, an old man when his album was recorded.
8. Blakroc feat. Jim Jones & Mos Def – “Ain’t Nothing Like You (Hoochie Koo)”
Because even if the execution on this rap/rock collaboration fell flat on the album as a whole, the concept was interesting and it worked pretty well on this track. Maybe next time, instead of a rotating roster of guest rappers, The Black Keys will work solely with Mos Def–excuse me, Yasiin Bey.
9. Freddie Gibbs – “Oil Money”
Because he’s as comfortable laying down the chorus on a rap track as he is playing guitar on an aging punk’s midlife transitional record…
10. John Doe – “There’s A Hole”
See explanation for #9. And sorry, there’s no video for this one. You can only listen if you have Spotify. (Helpful tip: Get it! It’s awesome! Then you can be cool like me and make playlists all the time!)
11. Nathaniel Mayer – “I’m A Lonely Man”
Because Auerbach’s guitar gently buoys Mayer’s soft yet raspy vocals to a happy medium between mournful and sweet. I wonder if this is what The Black Keys’ “Lonely Boy” will turn into when they get old and grey. If so, I’m totally ok with that.
12. Hacienda – “Don’t Turn Out the Light”
Because he heard a demo tape after meeting these guys at some bar in San Antonio and has produced everything they’ve put out ever since. Including this happy-go-lucky gem that sounds like a lost cut from the ’60s.
13. Dan Auerbach – “Goin’ Home”
Because it was in that movie where George Clooney fires people and flies in planes a lot.
Until next time, keep it hot and fresh.