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Rocking the Garage, Ohio-Style

The Black Keys' members have spent their entire career as the Midwestern garage-rock duo that isn't The White Stripes. With the exception of their shared love of psychedelia and blues, and the fact that both bands have guitar-and-drums lineups, the similarities end there: The Black Keys' Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach make albums that can optimistically be described as mid-fi, often in cobbled-together studios in Ohio. They seem darker and clumsier and less self-congratulatory than The White Stripes, and less concerned with experimentation than with the perfection of their own sludgy basement-rock aesthetic.

"Your Touch," from the band's new Magic Potion, represents a neat summation of The Black Keys' oeuvre to date, which is to say that it sounds exactly like many of the duo's other songs. With its bottom-scraping guitars and vocals that sound as if they were issuing from inside a bowl of pea soup, "Your Touch" feels less like a song and more like a collection of noises wrapped around other, louder noises. It's fuzzy and uneventful and pretty terrific.

There's not much in the way of melody, nor is there much to be said about the song's lyrics other than to note that it probably has them. If Jimi Hendrix had been a white guy from Akron who frequented hipster dive bars, he might have made music like this. And while "Your Touch" might not make The Black Keys as famous as its Detroit brethren, it cements the group's reputation as one of rock's most reliable pleasures.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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Allison L. Stewart
Allison Stewart is a writer living in New York. It's entirely possible to see her work in The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, No Depression, Rolling Stone or any number of other places. Or to miss it entirely, which is just as likely.