Real Estate (band)
|Origin||Ridgewood, New Jersey, United States|
|Associated acts||Vin and the Vin Tones|
|Past members||Etienne Pierre Duguay|
Real Estate is an American rock band from Ridgewood, New Jersey, United States, formed in 2009. The band is currently based in Brooklyn, New York, and currently consists of Martin Courtney, IV (vocals, guitar), Alex Bleeker (bass, vocals), Jackson Pollis (drums), Matt Kallman (keyboards) and Julian Lynch (guitar).
Formation and early years
Courtney, Bleeker and Matt Mondanile were childhood friends in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Courtney and Bleeker first met in third grade, and became friends in eighth grade over a mutual interest in Weezer, Built to Spill and Pavement. When Courtney and Bleeker were students in Ridgewood High School, Courtney met Mondanile, who was a year above him, while on the school bus. Mondanile was listening to the Impossibles on his Walkman and asked if Courtney wanted to listen. From there, Courtney became acquainted with Mondanile and his friends, and even auditioned to join the latter's band as a bass player before being rejected in favor of an older kid who had a car. Mondanile and Bleeker also took guitar lessons from the same teacher, along with school friend and future Real Estate guitarist Julian Lynch. After lessons, Mondanile would teach Bleeker how to play Pixies songs. Meanwhile, Courtney was a proficient bassist who played in the school's jazz band.
On Courtney's 15th birthday, he organized a show in his parents' back yard, with performances by all of his friends who were in bands. This was the first time that he, Bleeker and Mondanile performed live together. Throughout high school, all three would play in various bands, facilitated by the school's Open Mic Nights.
After graduating from Ridgewood High School, they went their separate ways to study in college. Courtney attended The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington; Mondanile attended Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts where he became involved in the burgeoning local noise scene and started his own recording project which he named Ducktails; and Bleeker attended Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont. Each would continue writing songs on their own and pass them among each other.
During a summer break while they were in college, Courtney, Mondanile and Bleeker reunited as Lese Majesty, the recording and touring backing band for their high school friend Julian Lynch, with Lynch as the lead singer and guitarist, Courtney on Fender Rhodes piano, Mondanile on bass and Bleeker on guitar. Playing drums was Etienne Pierre Duguay, an acquaintance of Mondanile's in Massachusetts with whom he had formed a band called Predator Vision that was named after watching the movie Predator while listening to a cassette recording of them jamming in the basement of Mondanile's house, high on acid. Lese Majesty recorded an album at Courtney's uncle's house in Maine and embarked on a U.S. tour, though Courtney had to opt out due to still being in college and not having the freedom to tour.
Courtney's songs in particular inspired the others to suggest forming another band to perform them. When Courtney and Mondanile moved back to Ridgewood in summer 2008, they wrote more songs which formed the basis of what would become Real Estate. After recording several songs, they were eventually joined by Bleeker and Duguay. They would jam in the basement of Courtney's parents' house, and during a night of drinking vodka by the backyard pool, Courtney came up with the bass line for "Suburban Beverage." Bleeker briefly moved to Philadelphia while the others continued developing the band, and when Bleeker asked to rejoin, he took up the bass so that Courtney could play guitar, making it easier for him to sing. Spurred on by the success of local bands Titus Andronicus and Vivian Girls, they decided to take the band seriously. After lengthy deliberation, they chose the name Real Estate because Courtney was studying to acquire his real estate license at the same time the band started, and even managed to sell his grandmother's house. While rehearsing at Courtney's house, his parents also suggested that they all get real estate licenses. The band also had the idea of working for Courtney's parents' real estate agency in case their music career didn't achieve success.
Real Estate, Days, and Atlas (2009-2015)
After issuing singles on the Underwater Peoples and Woodsist labels, the band's 2009 self-titled debut received critical acclaim, including an 8.5 rating and Best New Music tag from Pitchfork Media. Review aggregator Metacritic gave the album a normalised rating of 79%, indicating "generally favourable reviews". Tours followed, supporting acts such as Girls, Kurt Vile, Woods, and Deerhunter. In 2010, Real Estate performed at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago and the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona.
In 2011, Real Estate signed with the Domino Recording Company. After initial recording sessions and prior to signing the deal, the band parted ways with Duguay, not wanting to be legally-bound to the drummer due to his unreliability. Subsequently, the second album, Days, features one song with Duguay, "Out of Tune," while the rest of the drum tracks were performed by Courtney, Mondanile and Samuel Franklin. For live shows, the band recruited drummer Jackson Pollis, formerly of Tiny Masters of Today, and keyboardist Jonah Maurer, a friend of Mondanile's at Buxton boarding school in Massachusetts.
The group issued Days, on October 18, 2011. The album received positive reviews, including a rating of 77/100 on Metacritic and 8.7 on Pitchfork. Later that year, The Fader featured Real Estate on the cover of Issue #76. 2012 saw the band perform at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California and the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago. From mid-2012 and throughout 2013, Real Estate shows would feature the band playing new material, some of which would eventually be included in their third album.
A single "Talking Backwards", was released in early 2014, followed by the band's third album, Atlas. The album was written by Courtney, Mondanile, Bleeker and Pollis, with Maurer having moved on to join Titus Andronicus. Shortly before recording of the album commenced, the band decided to add keyboard parts that were more advanced than they were capable of themselves, and so they recruited Matt Kallman, formerly of Girls.
Mondanile's departure and In Mind (2016-present)
On May 25, 2016, the band announced that Julian Lynch had replaced Matt Mondanile, who "will continue to focus his creative energy on Ducktails." Regarding Mondanile's departure, Courtney admitted that it was less than amicable. "He didn’t just quit. I mean, there’s more to it. It’s kind of stuff that I don’t necessarily want to talk about. So I don’t know, its just complicated. It’s definitely a little more mutual than I guess what people might think is the case," said Courtney. After Mondanile's exit, the band considered recording their fourth album as a four-piece, with an additional guitarist brought in for live shows. While Courtney was in Madison, Wisconsin for a solo show, he met with Lynch, who by then already had several solo albums to his name and had collaborated with the members of Real Estate in various forms since high school in Ridgewood. When Courtney mentioned a vacancy in Real Estate, Lynch offered his services. After Courtney consulted with Bleeker and gained the latter's approval, Lynch officially joined and participated in writing and recording the band's fourth album.
Regarding the change in guitarists, Courtney said, "Removing Matt from the band definitely changes the equation, but I'm pretty sure I met Julian on the same day I met Matt Mondanile. So this isn't just some new guy; we have a long history with him, too." As for Lynch's contribution to the band's sound, Courtney commented, "He's a very different musician from Matthew, all around. We weren't asking him to join to replace Matthew. We were asking him to join in order to make the band new. He was a friend, yes, but it was an added bonus that he would be pretty different from Matt. So it was exciting for us to see what that meant."
During the band's Fall 2016 tour, Lynch was unable to participate due to a five-month visit to India from September to February with the purpose of research for his Ph.D dissertation in ethnomusicology. The band recruited Doug Keith, who had played guitar on tour for Courtney's solo album Many Moons, to fill in until Lynch's return.
On January 24, 2017, the band announced the March 17 release of the Cole M.G.N.-produced In Mind, their fourth album and the first with Lynch. They also debuted the music video for first single "Darling". The new album's release date coincided with several gigs the band played at SXSW, including a headlining set at an event hosted by Showtime to promote the new series of Twin Peaks; the show's lead actor Kyle MacLachlan also introduced the band before their set. On May 22, 2017, the band debuted an animated video for In Mind's second single "Stained Glass", along with a special interactive website in which viewers could virtually add color to the video as it played. On May 26, Real Estate announced it had designed a shoe for Keep Company, with net proceeds for the Keep x Real Estate limited edition Ramos shoes going to the ACLU. Each pair of shoes included a cassette single containing previously unreleased instrumental "In Time" and demos of "Two Arrows" and "Two Part".
On October 4, 2017, the band announced the postponement of a fall tour "for a mix of unforeseen reasons both personal and professional," with the cancelled dates being rescheduled for February 2018. On October 13, 2017, the band issued a statement indicating that Mondanile had been fired due to allegations of his mistreatment towards multiple women. Hours before the statement was issued, Mondanile denied the allegations in a phone interview for Pitchfork. Three days later, an article elaborating on the allegations was published in Spin, where the band added that they had not gone public sooner with details regarding Mondanile's dismissal because "the women concerned requested privacy and we honored their wishes." In a statement issued by his attorneys, Mondanile apologized for his inappropriate behavior. He also accused Real Estate of violating the "leaving agreement" he signed upon his dismissal that "prohibits both him and the band members from making any negative or derogatory statements about the other, or that may negatively affect the other’s reputation and career," claiming the band came forward not to "protect the victims" as stated but "to protect the band's commercial viability."
- Martin Courtney – lead vocals, guitar (2009–present)
- Alex Bleeker – bass guitar, backing vocals, occasional lead vocals (2009–present)
- Jackson Pollis – drums (2011–present)
- Matt Kallman – keyboards (2013–present)
- Julian Lynch – lead guitar (2016–present)
- Matt Mondanile – lead guitar (2009–2016)
- Etienne Pierre Duguay – drums (2009–2011)
- Jonah Maurer – keyboards (2011–2013)
- "Fake Blues" b/w "Pool Swimmers" (7″ Woodsist, 2009)
- "Fake Blues" b/w "Green River" (7″ Half Machine, 2009) UK issue
- "Suburban Beverage" b/w "Black Lake" & "Old Folks" (7″ Underwater Peoples, 2009)
- "Atlantic City" (Future Sound Recordings, 2009)
- "Out of Tune" b/w "Reservoir #3" (7" True Panther Sounds, 2010)
- "It's Real" b/w "Blue Lebaron" (7" Domino, 2011) UK issue
- "Green Aisles" (Domino, 2011)
- "Municipality" (Domino, 2011)
- "Easy" b/w "Exactly Nothing" (7" Domino, 2012) UK issue
- "In My Car" (Domino, 2012)
- "Exactly Nothing" (Domino, 2012)
- "Talking Backwards" b/w "Beneath the Dunes" (7" Domino, 2014)
- "The Chancellor" b/w "Recreation" (7" Domino, 2014)
- "Had to Hear" b/w "Paper Dolls" (7" Domino, 2014)
- "Crime" (Domino, 2014)
- "Darling" (Domino, 2017)
- "Stained Glass" (Domino, 2017)
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