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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tuesday Is For Tunes: Real Estate


This week’s Tuesday Is For Tunes band is Real Estate. But first, let’s have a disclaimer. Yes, I found this band by reading Pitchfork. Yes, I am an indie scenester fuck, who has been known to succumb and follow a trend or two. Yes, I’m okay with that.

Now then, Real Estate has crafted songs composed of lovely tones that are rambling across space and time all the while reverberating against the firmament as they go. Listening to their song Beach Comber makes me want to skip through a sunlit field of ripe wheat with a dog at my heels. Sure the guitar and some of the percussion instruments evoke scenes of folky-minded beach bums at first listen, but that is definitely not what is going on here. This is everything about that, but with the self-serving jamming, rampant appropriation of reggae music, and effects indulgence strained out, and then reduced to its best essences.

Plus, I might argue that although the sounds are nothing revolutionary, their composition is original. It’s well-layered, but not ornately intricate. Real Estate let things purposefully lapse for just a moment so they can enticingly pick it up, but in a subtle enough way that you don’t notice until they’re almost finished working their magic. This makes their songs interesting without resorting to the heavy-handed, long-winded tactics of the summertime jam bands from which they seem to draw a little influence. Though make no mistake, their influences are undoubtedly many. From the almost rockabilly flourished ending on Fake Blues to the vaguely sitar-inspired effects in Basement, this band is eclectic.

It would be impossible to talk about Real Estate without mentioning the reverb that is pervasive through out all their songs. The reverb is at a delicate tipping point, but I think they’ve managed to find a harmonious balance. If there was any more I’d hate it, but there’s just enough to make me feel warm in the dead of winter with a bad head cold. Thank you, Real Estate. Double bonus, the reverb saves them from being too polished.

All the reviews I’ve read so far of this band seem center around the fact that they’re from New Jersey. Sure, I get the shore thing, and I can hear their hometown roots in the production value. I suppose I associate certain music from Jersey with lo-fi on some level, though that might be largely due to the bias of own experiences. Still, I’m not sure how much being from Jersey matters when listening to this music. I think it has an appeal for a wide variety of people from many different places. It’s sincere. It’s likeable. It’s for the easy-going, and for the passionate. For all their indie cred, Real Estate is rather accessible.

To everyone who is still listening to Vampire Weekend, put it down. It’s played out, and it sounds over done. Instead, give Real Estate a listen. It reminds me of what I think would happen if Vampire Weekend and The Wrens had an amazingly delightful child, who loved to hum, and understood the wonders of occasional simplicity.

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