LOS ANGELES The Black Keys still feel like the black sheep of the Grammy Awards.
"It's unexpected. I don't think we'll ever get used to this stuff," singer and guitarist Dan Auerbach said Friday.
"I don't think we ever will either," added drummer Patrick Carney. "It's more surreal now kind of being here and seeing all the musicians gathering for their annual `pat on the back."'
The bluesy Ohio-based rockers are nominated for five trophies at Sunday's ceremony. They were rehearsing Friday at the Staples Center with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and legendary New Orleans pianist Dr. John, who'll join the group when they perform "Lonely Boy" live at the Grammys.
Justin Timberlake was also heard rehearsing as he transitioned from his comeback single "Suit & Tie" to a new song called "Push Your Love Girl," which featured his falsetto.
The Black Keys' five nominations include album of the year for "El Camino" and record of the year for "Lonely Boy." Auerbach is part of the six top acts with six nominations Sunday night, thanks to his nomination for non-classical producer of the year.
The duo said in an interview that they're fans of their top-album competitors, which include Frank Ocean, Mumford & Sons, fun. and Jack White.
"They're all good records, so it's exciting," Carney said before Auerbach jumped in with a light laugh: "Stiff competition. This is a competition right? I don't know what the odds are. Are they taking bets in Vegas right now?"
The group said they've spent the last month hard at work on a new album in Nashville.
"It's still coming together. We have tons of ideas," Carney said. "It's also something that will develop in the studio. We don't really know what it sounds like until it's done."
Carney makes an appearance on drums on Ke$ha's recently released album, "Warrior."
"She's a friend of ours. She asked me to play on a song. She lives in Nashville, too," he explained of the collaboration.