Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Sep 22nd
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

 

Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past

 

The Peace Equation

Sunday is the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, a global peace-building day when nations, leaders, governments, communities and individuals are invited to end conflict, cease hostilities, creat 24 hours of non-violence and promote goodwill. Monday is Autumn equinox as the Sun enters Libra (right relations with all of life). The Soul Year now begins. We work in the dark part of the year (Persephone underground) preparing for the new light of winter solstice. Tuesday to Wednesday is the Virgo new moon festival. We know two things about peace. “The absence of war does not signify peace.” And “Peace is an ongoing process.” In its peace-building emphasis, the UNIDP, through education, attempts to create a “culture of peace, understanding and tolerance”. Esoterically we are reminded of the peace equation: “Intentions for goodwill (and acting upon this intention) create right relations with all earth’s kingdoms which create (the ongoing process of) peace on earth.” At noon on Sunday, in all time zones, millions of participating groups will observe a moment of silence for peace on earth. Bells will ring, candles will be lit, and doves released as the New Group of World Servers recite the Great Invocation (humanity’s mantram of direction). To connect with others around the world see www.cultureofpeace.org    Let us join together with the mother (Virgo). Goodwill to all, let peace prevail on earth. The dove is the symbol for the day.
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

What fashion trends do you want to see, or not see?

Santa Cruz  |  High School Guidance Counselor

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.