r&r diary – El Camino – Axis of the Universe – 12.21.12

elcamino I snatched this one up when it turned up in the used CD bin. The Black Keys – “El Camino.” I don’t own any of their other discs. Some people tell me their early stuff is good too. I have to say this one is perfect. But before you listen to the music, sit down and contemplate the cover and the gateway fold-out. Get the CD or the Vinyl. The fold-out is kind of like a Penthouse fold-out, but instead of naked women, there are pictures of various El Caminos. Different colors, different locations.

Anyway, once you’ve lived with the El Caminos for awhile, then kick back and spin the disc. I’d recommend you spin it over and over. I can’t tell you why, but it took some time for this thing to totally floor me. But floor me it did. The sound is sort of Garage Rock/R&B… it’s tough and melodic and catchy and danceable too. Love the dirty guitars, the full bass, the cheesy organ, the big-time drumming. Two white guys from Akron with a little help from their friends. Soulful. Funny too. Dan Auerbach’s got a great voice, I mean, in that non-great way, just like all the best r&r singers. The record was produced by Danger Mouse, which is just cool, I guess. The sonics are great.

This is the kind of music you’d listen to if you owned an El Camino. For sure. I mean, that was the insight that zapped me right upside the head. That was when I realized form and content were absolutely perfect. Imagine you own an El Camino and you have an 8-track of this recording, and hell, you basically live in your vehicle. You eat fast-food in it, you smoke dope in it, you cruise the town, you meet girls, you have sex in the back, it’s your world. One of the sacred places. There’s dirt on the floor, and food wrappers. It’s holy. It’s The El Camino. Also, it’s funky, it’s beat, it’s clunky, it’s bad on gas. The steering is loose, the brakes are bad, the tires are almost bald, all the hub-caps are long gone, the muffler is hanging by a thread. Your friends think it’s dorky, they actually make fun of it, you think it’s sort of dorky too, but you also know it’s got it’s own kind of cool. And you play music in it. All the time. Loud. Dashboard-rattling loud. And the music you play is what is on this disc. It’s El Camino Music. And when you crank it, the whole car vibrates, like it’s ready to take off into the ether. You have found the axis of the universe, the omphalos, it’s in the middle of the floor of the El Camino. The omphalos, right?! And when you move, when the El Camino is rumbling along, the windows are down, the wind is whipping, the music is spilling out every which way, the omphalos rolls right with you. It rolls. – Jammer

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