Just as the Black Keys "blimp" hits the pop music skies again for the first time in several years, one of that band’s members is doing musical double duo duty, having just released an album with a longtime friend and fellow musician.

That band is Sad Planets and the duo’s record is “Akron, Ohio,” released on Tee Pee Records on April 19.

The album is named for the city where much of it was recorded and for the birthplace of the band’s members: Patrick Carney, drummer of the Black Keys, and the well-traveled John Petkovic of Death of Samantha, Cobra Verde, Sweet Apple and Guided By Voices, although Petkovic grew up in the Cleveland area.

Before they were a band, they were friends brought together by their mutual love and admiration for Carney’s uncle and veteran musician Ralph Carney, who died in 2017.

“We met at the Akron Art Museum [in 1999] and Ralph had been recording with Cobra Verde and with Death Of Samantha. And he said, 'I’m Patrick and you recorded with my uncle Ralph.' And I really loved Ralph’s playing and I know Pat obviously did, he is his uncle but he also loved his playing and that just seemed like a cool thing to me."

The two became friends and remained so through the rise of the Black Keys and Petkovic’s many revolving and evolving projects, but they had never really considered or found the time to work together.

But in 2010, Carney asked Petkovic if he wanted to come down to his North Hill studio Audio Eagle to jam. Both went in with eyes and ears wide open with no idea what they would do and where they could find a common musical path.

“Turns out, Pat and I had similar [musical] reference points, but we didn’t know that going into it,” Petkovic said.

Things went pretty smoothly.

“Well, I know what the Black Keys are about and he knows what Cobra Verde or Death of Samantha and Sweet Apple are about, but it wasn’t a close proximity thing," Petkovic said. "It’s like a mouse in a laboratory going through a maze. But it wasn’t a maze; it was like two mice on a wide open space wandering around. We weren’t channeled in one direction or another; we were just kind of wandering around.”

All that musical wandering eventually began to take shape as the two found those reference points in sounds, styles and songs of bands such as the Electric Prunes, Serge Gainsbourg, Captain Beefheart and others. And the time between sessions also informed the final product.

“As the record was being put together, we started having more of an idea of what it's going to be like," Petkovic said. "And because we didn’t really know what we were doing, I mean we know what we’re doing musically in the studio, but we didn’t know where we were going with it. I think maybe that it channeled it in a more coherent direction because the time between gave us time to reassess and figure out what did and didn’t work.”

“Akron, Ohio” was recorded across a decade with the bulk taking place at Audio Eagle as well as some additional recording in Nashville and Los Angeles.

The two play the bulk of the instruments with Carney handling drums, bass and some synths, Petkovic taking singing and guitar duties along with assistance from Petkovic's Sweet Apple bandmate guitarist J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. and Akron multi-instrumentalist Steve Clements, formerly of local bands Beast, Houseguest and Relaxer.

The relatively brief 10-track album has strains of psych rock in the jangly “Not of This World” and the languid, hazy throb of “City Ghosts." The bouncy “Yesterday Girls” has a mid-1960s rock vibe and also recalls some of the poppier moments of Death of Samantha while the power-pop-infused “Want You to Want You” is ready to drop right into the rotation on 91.3 The Summit.

Petkovic wrote most of the lyrics on the drive from Cleveland to the studio in North Hill and said Akron definitely informed the feel of the album and deepened his relationship with the city for which he’s always held an affinity.

“I was born in Akron and I thought this was a great chance to — not reconnect with Akron — but to spend time down there,” he said.

He's always dug going to Akron as it was a cool place to take photos — one of the remains of the Rubber Bowl is featured art inside the CD and vinyl.

"It was almost like revisiting a place I was from and I also lived there for a year," he said of his brief stint as a University of Akron student in 1984. "I thought this will be a really great opportunity to work with Pat and see Akron and work in Akron and try something with someone you know, but not musically on an intimate basis.”

With Carney getting ready to release the Black Keys' "Let's Rock" studio album and hit the road, and Petkovic always making music with someone, there are no immediate plans to promote “Akron, Ohio” onstage.

There are two Petkovic videos available for the singles "Yesterday Girls" featuring the band and Cleveland rock legend Cheetah Chrome of Dead Boys and Rocket from the Tombs fame in a chivalrous bar fight, and "Just Landed" featuring Petkovic as an alien.

Petkovic said it’s possible that sometime early next year after their schedules clear, he and Carney might get a band version of Sad Planets together and play a few shows.

Malcolm X Abram can be reached at mabram@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3758. Like him on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1lNgxml, and follow him on Twitter @malcolmabramABJ.