Exclusive: Black Box Revelation’s 5 Most Influential Albums

Belgian rock duo take the best of blues-driven garage grit, mix with classic inspiration & make modern magic.

Johnny Firecloudby Johnny Firecloud


2012 is guaranteed to be a kickass year for rock, and there's a palpable electricity in the air around Black Box Revelation, a powerful rock duo who've crafted their Black-Keys-meets-Kinks-meets-Black-Rebel-Motorcycle-Club sound over two albums and ten years.

After building a formidable foundation with 2007’s Set Your Head on Fire and 2010’s Silver Threats, there's a perfect storm brewing for the band’s third album, My Perception, due out in early 2012. Queens of the Stone Age/Them Crooked Vultures six stringer Alain Johannes, a beacon of taste and creativity, hosted the Belgian Rock duo at his home studio to record the album, and had nothing but praise for the band when I spoke with him late last year.

The result of those sessions is their most accomplished album to date, with sound and noise now coalescing into real songs like the title track and “Rattle My Heart,” which meld strongly with the spooky acoustic strains of the British Invasion vibe of “Bitter,” the pounding blues of “High On a Wire,” the thick ambience of “2 Young Boys,” the percussive beat of “Shadowman” and the psychedelic blues of “White Unicorns.”

Check out the rockin' video for "High On a Wire" below:

BBR took the time to break down their five most influencial albums for CraveOnline, to give us a glimpse inside the mindset of a band that's all the reason you need to have faith in rock & roll in an age when people can't seem to wave the "rock is dead" flag frantically enough.


Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street

The Stones have always been one of our all time favorite bands. What's really fascinating to us is their way of playing music together as a band. It's all about that pure, raw sound and the attitude in their playing. It's so extreme that they actually sound best when the guitars are out of tune and when Charlie Watts is on the edge of playing in a completely different rhythm. That's exactly what we like about music; the moments where you're struggling with your instrument, or when you played something that you didn't mean to play at all. Those surprising little moments are the most charming, and that's why we like Exile on Main Street so much. Spending nights and weeks in a basement in France to record an album, and just having a great time is perfect for that raw pure sound. It's amazing how this album sounds. It feels like you're actually there with them in that sweaty, dark, smokey basement which is probably the best experience you can get listening to a record. The great thing is that our new album, 'My Perception', which is going to be released early2012, is recorded in a very similar way! Not a basement, but Alain Johannes 11AD home studio. It's amazing how a certain location can influence you so much. We had a fantastic time recording the album over there. It's was a really relaxed, positive way of creating stuff and writing new tunes and lyrics. It fit our vision perfectly of how we wanted the new album to sound. Now that it's recorded, we just can't wait to release it here in the States! 


Nirvana – Nevermind

I discovered Nirvana when I was 12 years old. Kurt Cobain was an amazing songwriter, and his voice is beautiful! I love Kurt's voice on the song, Lounge Act! I watched movies of them playing live, and I was really into Dave Grohl! Hitting his drums so hard made me do the same. It's crazy that while recording our album with Alain Johannes, we met Dave once at a secret gig Foo Fighters did in town. Also, we toured with Meat Puppets in June, and did another tour with them early november. Of course we know Meat Puppets from their songs on the Nirvana album, "Unplugged In New York", so it was an honor for us when they asked us on tour. Chris, the bass player, joined us on stage two times to play bass on "Sealed With Thorns"! 


Neil Young – On The Beach

Neil Young is the man with the everlasting guitar solos who never get boring. It's like losing your mind when you listen to his tunes. His music inspired us a lot on the last album we recorded. The long jams are straight from the heart, and the dynamics are insane. Perfect example for music that really sounds alive. 'On the Beach' is probably our favorite Neil Young record. Almost every song is made out of 3 chords, but in such a magical way. If you close your eyes while listening, you can really start dreaming that you're lying in a beach chair, taking a nap, and enjoying the sun in your face with Neil's music all over you. My favorite track on this record is "Vampire Blues"!


Howlin' Wolf – This is Howlin' Wolf's new album. He doesn't like it. He didn't like his electric guitar at first either.

Should we immediately say this is the best album cover ever? Can't describe how much I like the humoristic undertone in it. We knew Howlin' Wolf for a long time already, and he's one of our favorite blues artists. We only found out about this record a couple of weeks ago, and from the first second you hear that electric guitar, it's an overwhelming revelation of purity, and a hell of a sound. Phenomenal. A lot of the songs are on different albums in other versions as well, but on this record they are performed in a way where they get extra psychedelic with a foolish touch to them, and that's what it's all about isn't it?


Iggy Pop – Lust For Life

Iggy Pop is by far the most rock and roll person on Earth. The story of his life is so intense, the friendship with David Bowie and then this record. You know that Iggy isn't a fake character. The lyrics, his performances, his attitude, it's all real and crazy and that's what makes it so honest and beautiful. 'Lust for Life' is one of our favorite records because of the attitude in Iggy's singing. We once opened for Iggy in Lille, France at Le Zenith. 10,000 people were going wild because each and every one of them was so fascinated and astonished that he's still so wild and energetic. After all these years, he is still stage diving and performing like he would break his ribs on stage.. respect!


Pick up the band's Shiver of Joy EP here (sample sounds as well), and to stay current with all things Black Box Revelation visit their Official Site.