We The Beat presents:
1221 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA, 93101
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is 18 and over
On October 18th 2011, New Jersey's Real Estate released Days, their second album and first for Domino. A coming of age moment for childhood friends Martin Courtney (Guitar and Vocals), Matt Mondanile (Guitar) and Alex Bleeker (Bass), Days was recorded over the course of five patient months in a remote New Paltz, NY barn-cum-studio with the help of Kevin McMahon (Titus Andronicus, The Walkmen.) A gorgeous suite of guitar-pop songs, Days is a testament to the fact that the sonic formula Real Estate developed and shared with their debut album (Real Estate, Woodsist 2009) heralded the arrival of a new, genuine and enduring group of voices in American independent music. Days sees the band tighten and refine their brand of timeless, melodic and genuine music- consolidating the breezy sketches of their earlier work into considered, graceful pop songs.
In the summer of 2008, high school friends Martin, Matt and Alex graduated from their respective colleges and returned to Ridgewood – the New Jersey suburb in which they had all grown up, first learned to play music and shared countless hours of stoned, aimless drives through together. Finding themselves living back with their families, revisiting old haunts and re-navigating the beautiful beaches and forests they had grown up with, they were equally inspired and confused by the powerful memories such places held. This sense of disorientation led to a natural creative spark that inevitably pulled them back to each other. As Martin himself puts it, "it wasn't even something worth talking about…it was always obvious we were going to play together again." The resultant eponymous debut album, (Woodsist, 2009) wove together their relived youthful summers and charmed thousands with its warm, heartfelt songs born of a truly natural, organic understanding and friendship.
The band spent the two years since the release of their debut touring around the world, working out the album's songs live, improvising their structures and allowing them to breathe enough to reach their most natural and refined end. Days, months and eventually years went by, seasons changed, and with that change Real Estate came of age. While Real Estate devoted itself to the golden haze of summer, Days, is a distinctly more evergreen and autumnal suite of songs.
The songs are built around deceptively simple, cyclical riffs; caressed and performed with a rhythm and restraint that is atypical for a band Real Estate's age. The instruments swim together, anchored down by Bleeker's firm Lesh-esque bass, ebbing and flowing, occasionally enriched with flourishes of country piano, soft synths and slide guitar. Several songs, like the album's rousing first single "It's Real" were written by Courtney in the way he wrote some of his first songs, laying out their architecture first on a bass rather than a guitar, allowing him to evolve the song's basic melody. Others, like "Green Aisles" and the Bleeker-fronted "Wonder Years" formed out of extended jams, providing them a fluid structure that only a band of craftsmen could make sound so effortless and guided. Courtney has also matured as a lyricist, adeptly capturing and singing youth's most potent crystalline moments with a surgeon's precision. He wrote most of the songs on Days early in the morning, immediately upon waking up, when the unscripted promise of a new day was still in its purest form. In "Green Aisles" he sings "all those aimless drives through green aisles / our careless lifestyle, it was not so unwise". Such a sentiment is an almost perfect lens through which to view Days, the coming of age album they've made. Days is greater than the sum of its parts, as defined by its ebullient moments as it is by its moments of restraint. Lyrically and melodically part of what makes Real Estate's music so vital are the moments where the disarmingly simple is made unexpectedly profound.
New Jersey is the central character of this record - its placid, boring microcities/municipalities juxtaposed with the often-overlooked majesty of its forests and oceans. Courtney, Bleeker and Mondanile don't view this place with the oft-repeated disdain and criticism associated with one of America's less cool states, but with a bemused sense of wonder and appreciation. It's where they're from, what fostered them – and, for better or worse – what has shaped them. Unlike many artists who deny their origins preferring to cultivate an aura of urban hardness and experience at the cost of genuine reflections, Real Estate sing about exactly where they come from.
To quote "Green Aisles" again, for Martin "all that wasted time," is maybe "not so unwise" because the careless sensations of youth that seem trivial in the adult world are actually something that endure and influence us long
Bedouine , a gallicized riff on bedouin, the nomad, the wanderer. Anyone can assume such a name, but Azniv Korkejian has an experience of what it means , the type of ground it covers. “Moving around so much caused me at some point to feel displaced, to not really belong anywhere and I thought that was a good title.” Her development was shaped by political landscapes and family opportunities, her adult life patterned by paths of her own. Born in Aleppo, Syria to Armenian parents, Korkejian spent her childhood in Saudi Arabia, moving to America when her family won a Green Card lottery. They settled in Boston, then Houston, but she split for L.A. as soon as she could. A casual offer to stay on a horse farm took her to the rolling hills of Lexington, Kentucky, followed by a year in Austin, and a trip east to Savannah for a degree in sound design. Returning to L.A., she discovered a close-knit community of musicians in Echo Park that started to feel like home. Maybe America is just a highway that leads back to L.A.
Korkejian works with sound professionally, in dialogue editing and music editing, a slice of Hollywood’s sprawling industry. She never set out to be a singer in L.A., taking a zen approach to that part of her life, thinking that if it happens, it happens. “I just kept meeting the right people, who were professional musicians, and even though they were going on these big legitimate tours, they were still coming back to this amazing small scene, still demoing at home, and I immediately felt welcomed to join in on that. L.A. actually made me less jaded.” One day she walked into the studio of bass player / producer Gus Seyffert (Beck, Norah Jones, The Black Keys) to inquire about portable reel-to-reel tape machines and ended up cutting “Solitary Daughter in a first take. So they began another kind of journey.
Bedouine has a sound. Sixties folk meets seventies country-funk with a glimmer of bossa nova cool. Lithe guitar picking and precise lyrical excursions. That mesmerizing voice and phrasing. Working on around thirty tracks over three years, with contributions from a remarkable cast of players like guitarist Smokey Hormel (Tom Waits, Joe Strummer, Johnny Cash), Seyffert and Korkejian brought a selection of ten songs to Richmond, Virginia. She specifically sought out Spacebomb, approaching Matthew E. White after a show in L.A. He remembers listening to the song she sent over and over, on and off the road, “‘One of These Days’ became our alarm when we woke up for almost all of that tour.” Anticipating this future collaboration, the tracks were created with breathing room for the Spacebomb touch and Trey Pollard’s sinuous symphonic
arrangements. Back in California, Thom Monahan (Pernice Brothers, Devendra Banhart, Vetiver) brought all the elements together in a masterful final mix.
Eschewing notions of nomadic chic, Bedouine represents minimalism motivated by travel, paring down and paring down until only the essential remains. Her music establishes a sustained and complete mood, reflecting on the unending reverberations of displacement, unafraid to take pleasure along the way. At the end of “Summer Cold” Korkejian composed an interstitial piece to recreate the sounds of her grandmother’s street in Aleppo. Partly due to America’s role in destabilizing Syria, this sonic memory is the only way to return to her birthplace. Worlds that have been lost might only be accessed through a song, in a line or a melody or a trace of tape, but they must be looked for in order to be found, so she wanders on.