Album Review: Real Estate’s “Days” 10/22/2011 (Score 81%)

Kevin via tranzcontinental.com

The New Jersey band Real Estate has just released it’s second full-length album, “Days.” On this follow-up the band continues to combine meditative lyrics and relaxing guitar-pop to create a simple and atmospheric sound.

Real Estate is very good at using guitars to create a relaxed ‘beach-wave’ sound. Much of this is is due to the unique style of the band’s guitarist, Matt Mondanile, who also plays guitar under the name Ducktails and might also be remembered for having collaborated with Animal Collective’s Panda Bear.

Throughout their record releases, the band has shown a common underlying theme. These simple guitar songs are all reflecting the romanticized way these guys see America; a grey and unsustainable land they navigate with jingly-jangly guitars and a zen-like attitude.

Every track on “Days” rolls on with lyrics in a way that perfectly crisp and seamless. It’s excellent music for driving down the road because it’s almost impossible to be in a hurry while listening to this stuff.

 SCORE: 84 out of 100

Fleet Foxes with The Walkmen in Ann Arbor, 9/29/11 (Review, Photos and Video)

Kevin from tranzcontinental.com

After playing a long show Thursday, Fleet Foxes tweeted “Thanks Ann Arbor, we needed that!” Occasionally bands will say they enjoy a particular show more than others, but Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold seemed sincere when he said “This has been one of our favorite shows, ever.”

 

Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, Mich. is a spectacular venue in itself, its incredible acoustics reverberating around its shell shaped interior, giving the harmonizing indie-folk group the acoustics their sound deserves. I’ve been told that singing on the stage at Hill is a unique experience, that as the sound leaves the singer it goes out into the dark abyss of the auditorium, never returning its echo to the stage.

 

The Fleet Foxes played a great mix of songs from their new album and their first release. Playing fan-favorite “Mykonos” early in the show picked up the crowd, and the band did not let up their ‘harmonize-then rock out’ songs the entire evening. The band sounded good.

 

But let’s not forget The Walkmen. The indie-rock veterans opened the crowd with a great set of songs spanning their entire 6-album catalog. They played a few new songs and then borrowed Fleet Foxes piano for couple songs, including their breakthrough song “We’ve Been Had.” Throughout the set, lead singer Hamilton Leithauser belted out; fully using natural reverb of the auditorium to stun the crowd on great songs like “Blue as your Blood.”

 

The Walkmen put down their guitars and pianos for a horn section when closing with an amusing version of “Stranded.” It was refreshing to see a band like The Walkmen not take themselves too seriously.