What’s better than getting into a conversation about music with a total stranger? In my eyes, you can learn more from a five-minute conversation rattling off bands you’ve seen and what albums you’re into at the moment than you can speaking about anything else. Whether its indie, house, chillwave, shoegaze, whatever…the records you spin are what you want to soundtrack your existence. And sharing those with another is what makes music even more fun. I say this because I was recently chatting about music with someone new to my world and the first band I blurted out when asked about some of my favorite bands were The Drums. So the next time you get into one of these conversations, pay attention to what you say…you’ll find something about what your true taste is.
Off that tangent, The Drums were at SXSW this past weekend, and someone was gracious enough to drop some fabulous stripped down performances of “Money” and “Days” onto YouTube. Watch and enjoy below.
Written by Greg Dahman
Participating in a road trip to see a show is the equivalent of a blood oath or rite of passage in the indie rock scene. We have all experienced the feeling of getting into a band only to discover, with disappointment, that they were not making a pit stop in our respective city. Without the requisite crystal ball, it is impossible to know when the next opportunity to see that band will come. Decisions must be made.
This weekend my indie rock partnership was solidified with a band that I have not been able to shut up about on this blog: New Jersey’s Real Estate. Their release Days is my favorite album of the Fall season and this also gave me an opportunity to meet up with an old roommate, good friend, and fellow musical connoisseur. The itinerary: depart from Indianapolis in the morning, swing through Cincinnati to pick up teammate, and then down to the land where Wildcats, race horses and bourbon are the only topics of conversation. The trip has come and gone, but will not be forgotten. Thank you Lexington, Kentucky for the southern hospitality, the opportunity to hang out with an awesome friend, and providing me a reasonable geographical haven to rock out with Real Estate.
Nearly 400 miles were covered on this voyage. While this number is not extremely overwhelming it displays a sense of loyalty to me. Expeditions to see bands are extremely fun. It is not only a bonding experience with music, but also gives you plenty of drive time to ask yourself why am I doing this? For them? Real Estate’s October release of Days immediately placed them in the category of bands that I had to see before the year was over. The venue was perfect, the beer was delicious, and Real Estate extended their property lines in my musical mind.
Three bands opened for Real Estate, but Lexington’s Idiot Glee stood out as the most interesting to me. While they were a little rough around the edges, the potential was there. I will keep my eye on this trio to see what they do next, but I have a feeling we all will be talking about them soon. Stream their latest album Paddywhack:
Real Estate hit the stage at 12:30 AM and they were absolutely worth the drive. They shredded tracks from their new album while reaching back on old favorites. This band has a certain synergy and you can tell they have fun together. They were able to translate this live and build on the energetic vibe of the audience. People were here to get excited about an emerging band, and their performance materialized with the mass.
Dedicated fans gushed over the “Killin’ the Vibe” teaser in between songs and new followers exploded for “It’s Real”.
I am not sure if it was the traveling, the album, or the opportunity to reconnect with my friend, but this was truly one of my favorite live shows of 2011. I am thankful for a lot of things this holiday season: great job, awesome family, and my health. Thankfulness for good tunes is something I always think about during this time of the year. Real Estate has cemented themselves into this category and a legitimate contender for my band of the year as we close out 2011. While I now have a new bond with a band that I appreciate, I would imagine more stories like this will be created as the career of a group of guys from the Jersey suburbs continues their conquest of your musical mind.
Written by Brett McGrath
As the leaves fall and the gloves fill we all have a hand in what musical selections will provide us with a certain warmth to carry us through this rigorous routine. My blanket has been an unbelievable pairing offered to me prior to this full wardrobe transition. Witness the effort of a band that has continued to build their resume with their latest release.
Days is a snap shot of a band that has done nothing but progress since its inception. Real Estate’s initial introduction to us came in the form of their 2009 EP Reality. They quickly followed it up in that same year with their self-titled release that offered us singles such as “Beach Comber,” which quickly grabbed control of our seasonal moods. I was convinced that this was a group of Jersey beach residents with a vision of summertime blues baked by rays. To add to their credentials and beach feel, guitarist, Mathew Mondanile III released his unbelievably radical side-project, at the beginning of this year with Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics. The song that took off from his release was “Killin the Vibe,” but it hardly did that for their musical career.
Having the sense to pivot and persevere is essential for any artist, but Real Estate has found a way to take this theme to the next level. Their ability to transition with the seasons is why I enjoy Days so much. At first glace I was convinced that they were a beach band, but once I have filled the plate for second helpings I realize that they have made my fall comfortable.
“It’s Real” is not only one of my favorite songs of the year, but also one of my favorite videos. If you are an indie rock / dog lover like me this will give you the warm fuzzys. Check it out HERE.
“Out of Tune” was the first song that I heard from this album and it projected the vibe of this album effectively: In no solid state / You know we can’t cop to / The frequency of your inner debate / It was all out of tune / You’re entering this town / Yourself a weeping clown /You play along to songs written for you / But you’re all out of tune / You’re all out of tune”
The introduction to dissonance on this release has allowed changed my perception of this band. Song, “Green Aisles” does its job to assist with their transition to the fall season: Under dormant trees / Under bright lit skies / Mountains of maple leaves / Standing side by side
It is this sedentary message that inspired me to bloom and search for a moment to capture one of my favorite albums live. I glanced into the calendar of Real Estate in attempt to see them during my brief holiday off-season at work. Much to my surprise I realized they were playing in Lexington, KY this Saturday in one of the final shows of their Fall tour.
Seasonal vibes kicked in and decisions were made. A trip to Kentucky is justified this weekend. An opportunity to recognize a progression before the snow falls and the ice thickens. See you Saturday Real Estate, only a couple of Days.
Written by Brett McGrath