The dream is over. Winter is here. Not the moderately enjoyable, holiday laden, over imbibing happy days of winter. The fuck me, it’s frigid why the fuck am I driving to work in the dark winter. That special time of year when your back clenches up like the spring of a Chinatown wristwatch, ticking closer to dysfunction with each passing second.
If you’re me, this is not the time to dust off The Beach Boys or Jimmy Buffet, as if the mere strum of the ukulele will teleport your spirit to the beach. No thanks. I would rather listen to a band or artist that articulates the bitter, harsh – often lonely winter months. It should be stark. Fragile. Haunting at times. It should sound like Mountain Man’s Made the Harbor.
Everyone always talks about spring fever, but winter is where the real yearning for love originates. Life is easy in warmth. Navigating a week without sunlight proves tough. It just so happens that spring lies at the end of winter and suddenly the thin, invitation of an April dress is enough to knock a man over. Words like wind chill and frost bite make an intimate evening beneath the covers feel like a necessity more than a want. The outdoors are a lover all their own, it’s the emptiness of a drafty living room or a frosty mattress feels like an unwarranted punishment.
“Boots of Spanish Leather” could never have been written without the jarring winds of a New York City winter. The heartbreak proves more palatable picturing Dylan shuffling through snowy streets while his love sails toward sunny Spain. “My spirit is in shambles and my feet are cold. Send some boots you soulless, selfish hell cat.”
In the same way, Van Morrison seems unlikely to ever have penned the incomparable “And it Stoned Me” without the warmth of summer, when a brief rain proves more opportunity than hassle – a welcome relief and healing. The bouncy piano line and floating acoustic guitar sound destined for nights where mosquitoes swarm the solitary light outside a screen door. Love is less essential on days like this, when an icy beverage can be as satisfying as a lengthy embrace.
Weather constrains and shapes an artist as much as any influence imaginable. The claustrophobic aspect of winter forces us to create for ourselves. The beauty of the outdoors has vanished and the artist is left with a blank, snowy canvas. I’m excited to see what songs winter inspires this year. What will the winds blow our way this time?
Written by Rob Peoni
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