Hanni El Khatib Head in the Dirt

Hanni El KhatibHead in the Dirt
If you've been thinking that every new rock band on the radio sounds like the Black Keys, it's no coincidence. Members Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have a pretty good production thing going on the side, with Auerbach in particular taking the breakthrough they made with 2010's Brothers to new commercial heights. Hanni El Khatib is the latest beneficiary, although he's been fully prepared, having made rumblings in the West coast garage rock scene over the past few years. Head in the Dirt definitely bears all the hallmarks of an Auerbach production — fuzz, funk and stadium-ready choruses — and often it's difficult to tell whether El Khatib is merely serving as Auerbach's stand-in. But the catchiness of his songwriting ultimately wins the day, as tracks like "Family" and "Sinking in the Sand" possess enough combined muscle and sweetness to embed themselves upon first listen. (Innovative Leisure)