Today is my birthday, and when Real Estate announced they were going to release their album on my birthday, I couldn’t think of a better gift. Today, on March 4th 2014, Real Estate released their latest album, Atlas in North America. Since first hearing them in 2010, the New Jersey based Real Estate have become one of my favorite bands. I’ve fallen in love with the sound lead singer Martin Courtney, guitarist Matt Mondanile, bassist Alex Bleeker, drummer Jackson Pollis and newest member, keyboardist Matt Kalman have created. That is, gorgeously crafted guitar pop-rock that’s a little bit surf, a little psychedelic, with a warm summer vibe. Their 2012 album Days is one of my all-time favorites, and Bleeker and Mondanile have released great albums in the last couple of years as The Freaks and Ducktails respectively, but Atlas was much awaited. The album was recorded over 10 days at the Wilco Loft in Chicago, IL.
Atlas opens up with “Had To Hear”, and features the signature Real Estate sound, dreamy clean and crisp guitar based rock with Martin Courtney’s reverbed vocals. The third track on the album “Talking Backwards” was the first single off of Atlas, and it’s a poppy song, upbeat and catchy. It’s followed up by “April’s Song” which is a psychedelic beach rock instrumental, in the vein of “Kinder Blumen” off of Days. The longest song on the record is “The Bend” which takes off into a psychedelic Beatles-esque jam about three quarters of the way through, and is one of the many highlights of Atlas.
Over the last few years I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Real Estate perform live many times, and one of the highlights of a Real Estate set is when Alex Bleeker takes lead vocals for his song off of Days, “Wonder Years”; and a highlight of Atlas is when once again, Bleeker takes a turn on lead vocals on the beautiful “How Might I Live”. Overall, Atlas has a bit more of a jammy and laid back feel to it than Days, and that works to its benefit. Courtney and Mondanile are incredible guitarists, and their guitar work really shines on tracks like “Crime” and “Primitive” which have some great solos. As I said before, the album is gorgeously crafted, and the warm feeling that Atlas provides is much needed during this crazy winter here in New York.
“Talking Backwards” (Official Video):
How to play “Crime”
The Making of Atlas:
Above picture taken by Richard Moses
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