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First Listen: The Dead Weather, 'Horehound'

The Dead Weather is yet another rock 'n' roll supergroup, but it happens to be a particularly ferocious and acclaimed one. The band's debut, Horehound, is shaping up to be one of the year's best rock albums. Listen to the new record here in its entirety, and on Tuesday, hear The Dead Weather perform these songs in a full concert, webcast live on NPR Music.

The group features Jack White of The White Stripes and Kills singer Alison Mosshart, along with Queens of the Stone Age guitarist-keyboardist Dean Fertita and bassist Jack Lawrence (both of whom also play with White in The Raconteurs).

The Dead Weather's sound is rooted in blues-infused rock, but with Mosshart, the expected dynamic has shifted. Except for singing and offering up the occasional guitar solo, White — the group's most widely recognized member — stalks in the shadows behind the drums, allowing Mosshart command of the foreground. Really, she's the breakout star.

As The Dead Weather's frontwoman, Mosshart is an elemental force: Brooding and seductive, her voice growls with biting attitude and often soars to the same Robert Plant-ian heights that White can reach when he takes the mic. The two share an innate chemistry, playing off each other on songs like "Hang You From the Heavens" and "Treat Me Like Your Mother."

Fertita's vintage guitar riffs and grinding Moogs propel the group on Horehound, but White's presence is still felt throughout. He's a fine rock drummer — brutal, yet tuneful. In the few instances he does come to the foreground, as on "I Cut Like a Buffalo," his lyrics are elusive as ever, brimming with inside references and innuendo. "You're a prick with a pin, woman / Push it into my skin, girl / I'm a prick when I sin / And I know I can't win," he sings over an almost reggae-like backbeat.

The Dead Weather formed at the end of a recent tour for The Kills and The Raconteurs when Mosshart filled in for White after he'd lost his voice to bronchitis. White loved the energy they had together, as well as the new sound Mosshart brought to The Raconteurs' songs, so they decided to record a one-off single, covering Gary Numan's "Are Friends Electric?" The recording session soon became a two-week stint at White's Third Man Studios in Nashville, Tenn., as well as a full-length album.

Listen to the album here and tell us what you think in the comments.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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