Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Apr 20th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Days and Confused

Real Estate’s Alex Bleeker chronicles the band’s wavy ride to its sophomore effort

In the music video for “It’s Real”—the dreamy synth and bass-driven tune off of Real Estate’s October 2011 release, Days—lead singer/guitarist and songwriter, Martin Courtney, is in the kitchen playing cards with guitarist Matt Mondanile. Meanwhile, in the living room, bassist Alex Bleeker pieces together a puzzle and Jonah Maurer (keyboard/guitar) reads a magazine. This laid-back opening scene is narrated by anxiety-filled lyrics: “I don’t know who’s behind the wheel/ Sometimes, I feel like I don’t know the deal.”

Though this unsure sentiment is expressed in a comic and endearing manner—as the band (minus drummer Jackson Pollis), continues to spend the sunny afternoon lounging around the house and jamming alongside adorable dogs—it also defines the early days of Real Estate.

“We were at home and didn’t know what to do with our lives,” Bleeker says, remembering the feeling of uncertainty that followed college graduation. “Martin’s parents own a real estate agency,” Bleeker explains. “He was getting his realtor’s license as a fallback plan.”

Both Bleeker and Mondanile, who grew up with Courtney in Ridgewood, N. J., before relocating to Brooklyn, N.Y., considered jumping on the real estate bandwagon, too. However, “This is better,” Bleeker says, referring to the music career he and his friends eventually chose.

Real Estate’s self-titled debut, released in November 2009, was the band’s first fruitful venture. It was on that record that the band defined it’s signature sound: ethereal, instrumental rock songs—situated in the suburbs, the beach, or Atlantic City—tinged with uneasiness, at least whenever vocals come into play.

Real Estate’s subsequent 10-track album, Days, is of the same melodious and pensive nature, evident from the start with “Easy,” and on “Wonder Years,” which was sung and written by Bleeker. Inspired by bassists John McVie (Fleetwood Mac), Tina Weymouth (Talking Heads), Mike Gordon (Phish), and The Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh, Bleeker came up with the contagious bassline during a soundcheck, but his interest in writing dates back to his college days.

“I wrote a lot of experimental fiction in college … somewhere between fiction and poetry,” says Bleeker. Keep an eye out for an original piece written by Bleeker as well as an unreleased Real Estate song, called “In My Car,” which will be featured in Smugglers Way, a rare FlexiDisc zine available on Record Store Day (April 21).

Unlike their first album, Days can be pensive to the point of being demoralizing—in recent years, the band has spent a large chunk of time on the road, and as a result, touring woes have made their way into Real Estate’s lyrics.

“You play along to songs written for you/ but you’re all out of tune,” Courtney sings on track five, “Out of Tune.” It’s as if the instruments themselves are venting too, considering the buoyant and hopeful tone emitted from the skilful strumming of electric guitars and bass. Then on the more dismal track “Younger Than Yesterday,” Bleeker’s bluesy bass lines pair with the drone of synth, as Courtney mourns: “If it takes all summer long/ just to write one simple song/ there’s too much to focus on/ clearly there is something wrong.”

When it came to selecting the title for Real Estate’s sophomore effort, the band members experienced a much more light-hearted struggle. Mondanile had been reading “Marquee Moon” by Bryan Waterman, part of the 33 1/3 book series about music albums. Bleeker paraphrases the quotation from the book: “If you listen to the song ‘Days’ on Television’s second album, you’ll hear the blueprint for modern indie rock.”

One listen to Television’s “Days,” and the influence on Real Estate is obvious. The lyrics, especially “days, be more than all we have,” echo an unavoidable truth, as Real Estate makes its way from Coachella to Santa Cruz for one night only.

Real Estate plays at 8:30 p.m. Monday, April 23, at The Catalyst Atrium, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $12/adv, $15/door. For more information, call 423-1338.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.

 

Waddell Creek, Al Fresco

Route One Summer Farm Dinner You’ve been buying their insanely fresh produce for years now at farmers’ markets. Right? So now why not become more familiar with the gorgeous Waddell Creek farmlands of Route One Farms?