Originally formed in New Jersey and currently based in Brooklyn, Real Estate is an indie rock band of the lo-fi variety. Their signature is creating songs with a lush soundscape that washes over you and invites a mood of dreamy mellowness, without sacrificing either intellect or expert song crafting.
Today the band is comprised of Martin Courtney, Matt Mondanile, Alex Bleeker, Jonah Mauer, and drummer, Jackson Pollis. Together, the group has succeeded at putting out two full-length albums and one EP that are each clean, coherent, and completely unassuming.
That lack of pretension is what makes their tunes linger long after they have ended. The watercolor melodies keep inviting you back over and over again, with lyrics that tend to focus on the more simplistic elements of life—the beach, sidewalks, and swimming pools, to name just a few. But that doesn’t mean these songs are without meaning or a deeper emotional undercurrent.
When reviewing their 2011 sophomore album, Days, Marc Masters of Pitchfork Media beautifully articulated the essence of Real Estate’s lyrical mastery by saying: “Like the stirring scenes of suburban Texas in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, these songs find meaning in daily mundanities—in houses and gardens, phone lines and street lights, names carved in trees and leaves pressed by footsteps. ‘All those wasted miles/ All those aimless drives through green aisles,’ sings Courtney wistfully [in “Green Aisles“]. ‘Our careless lifestyle, it was not so unwise.’ That sentiment was evident on the band’s debut, but here they’ve honed it to its essence.”
Also worth mentioning: Real Estate put out what I believe to be one of the greatest and most adorable videos ever made for their song, “It’s Real“. Now, most indie rock bands wouldn’t exactly want the moniker “adorable” applied to any of their videos. But once you watch this one, you will realize it is the highest compliment one can pay. It should also be said that any band that has the balls to make such a cute dog the focal point of their nostalgic video is more than worth their weight in gold—and it doesn’t feel like a gimmick. Seriously cool guys. Mad respect.