Real Estate, King Krule

Sat, January 14, 2012

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Terminal 5

New York, NY


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This event is all ages

It’s rare to find something as true and beautiful as the band Girls. Listening to their music, it’s as though Christopher Owens and JR White were meant to find each other, sincere rock and roll soul mates in the age of irony. And while that might sound like fancy, it’s closer to the truth than you think.

“If you’re going to San Francisco…”

Just as the Velvets crackled with New York City electricity and Smiths’ songs came soaked in Manchester drizzle, so the music of Girls captures the stoned and sun-brushed outlook of life in San Francisco. Taking the classic California pop template perfected by Brian Wilson and applying a woozy, narcotic makeover, Girls make music that sincerely glorifies adolescence - a youth of hopeful confusion and love strong enough to hurt you. You’ll detect 50’s surf-pop, 60’s psychedelia and 80’s shoe-gaze at play here – the West Coast-by-way-of-somewhere-else; but ultimately San Francisco washes over this music.

“We’re all looking for love and meaning in our lives.”

Desire and heartbreak are themes that blanket Girls’ album, from fruitless longing (“I might never get my arms around you/But that doesn’t mean that I won’t try” – “Lauren Marie”) to painful reflection (“Maybe if I really try with all of my heart/Then I could make a brand new start in love with you” – “Lust for Life”).

Christopher’s lyrics shoot straight for your heart, as they come directly from his. As he himself notes: “Sometimes the best way is to have simple lyrics. There’s this country song by Tim McGraw where he sings: ‘We’re all looking for love and meaning in our lives.’ To me, that speaks volumes, even though it’s so simple.”

“All I have to do is dream”

It is difficult to talk about the music of Girls without addressing Christopher’s unique background. Born into the Children of God cult, he spent his childhood travelling the globe, attending prayer sessions and busking in the street, all the while shielded from the outside world. In his words, “they thought they could hide us from a whole lot of stuff and teach us to be happy, perfect children of god. But you can’t control people like that.”

The full story of Christopher’s time in the cult, which includes tales of suicide, prostitution and an eventual escape to Texas, is one for another time. What is clear is that this is far more than just a neat back-story – life in the Children of God had a massive impact on Christopher's songwriting. It was there that he learned to perform, and was exposed to a surprisingly diverse array of sound – much of it original music composed within the community, but also a variety of “sanctioned” popular music, most notably the Everly Brothers and the Fleetwoods. Later, rebellious older teens exposed him to Guns ‘n Roses and Michael Jackson, as well.

“The whole cult was really based around music,” notes Christopher, admitting that he saw a beauty in a lot of the songs they would sing together. “In fact, a lot of Girls' music has a sound that’s very much like the Children Of God music. There’s a spiritual kind of quality. Even though I’m not at all religious and very much against the whole experience, it's there. Brian Wilson talks about the spiritual thing that music is. I don’t know what that is exactly, but I know that if I just close my eyes then music takes me somewhere else.”

At 16 Christopher left Children of God and wound a circuitous route through the Amarillo, Texas’ punk scene before eventually finding a natural home in San Francisco. There he fell into the local music community, playing gigs with Ariel Pink and his Holy Shit project: “I wouldn’t have got into writing music at all if I hadn’t played with Holy Shit – watching them play was like a lightbulb going off.” In San Francisco, Christopher also met JR, a chef and amateur music producer, with whom he started Girls.

“Nothing compares to u”

Quickly after meeting one another, Christopher and JR began to spend all their time together, eventually sharing an apartment and even knocking down a wall that divided their rooms. As Christopher's openhearted songs began to take shape, JR was on hand to arrange the perfect musical backdrop.

“I have these visions of grandeur, where I want to hire string sections and timpani, and really go for it like in the 60s,” grins JR. “But we were doing it in our bedrooms. We mainly recorded onto reel-to-reel tape, and also on an old computer that shut down on us in the middle of the session. All sorts of variables made the recordings sound like they do.”

Album is a song-cycle about the various characters and desires that color Christopher and JR’s lives. Each song tells a story, some heartbreaking and some hopeful, some mischievous and others plaintive, but always, always true. Described by the band as "honest, loose, ethereal, obnoxious and perfect," it is a sincere tribute to the majesty of great pop music and the redemptive powers of rock ‘n roll.

Girls’ debut album ‘Album’ is released on 22nd September 2009 on True Panther Sounds
Real Estate
Real Estate
Atlas, the new album by New Jersey's Real Estate, arrives through Domino on March 3rd 2014. A triumph of highly evocative, perceptive songwriting and graceful, precise musicianship, Atlas carefully refines, and ultimately perfects, the brilliantly distinct artistic vision that made its predecessors Days and Real Estate so beloved.

The most collaborative Real Estate record to date, Atlas was written by Martin Courtney, Matt Mondanile, Alex Bleeker and Jackson Pollis while cruising through the Arizona desert and during a presser in Madrid, in a practice room in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and in an attic in the band's hometown of Ridgewood, New Jersey. It was recorded in the summer of 2013 in Chicago with Tom Shick (Sean Lennon, Low, Cibo Matto) at Wilco's loft studio where new member Matt Kallman (formerly of Girls) joined the fold on keyboards.

Over the course of five years of collaboration and friendship Courtney, Matt Mondanile and Alex Bleeker have honed a masterfully focused aesthetic feel and unique sense of atmosphere in their work, a kind of subtle American impressionism that belies their relatively small discography. Theirs is a subtly inimitable sound that achieves a unique timelessness in its assured identity. Nevertheless, Atlas does not represent a resting on the laurels of Days.

"We wanted to make a cleaner, more well-rehearsed record that reflected the way we've come together as a live band over the last few years", explains Courtney. "Basically we wanted to make a better record than Days without changing the general structure of who we are as a band."

The songs of Atlas still unfurl in iridescent, warm webs of Courtney and Mondanile's guitar, they're still anchored by Bleeker's nimble bass and they’re still patient and deliberate – ebbing and flowing, frequently building to moments of euphoric release in a way that feels perfectly organic. Likewise the band's searching, human songwriting still illuminates the quiet, important moments of life in exquisitely minimal language.

Intimate and spare, these ten new songs unfold as one impossibly warm, enveloping suite - conjuring quiet, late-night drives down wooded highways, rural rambles with friends (and maybe a love interest) on the sunniest afternoons of the year, and hazy summer evenings spent alone, thinking back to those times and the people who were with you for them. You can catch glints of Galaxie 500, Little Wings, Luna, Neu, Nick Drake, and Pavement, and also the art of Fairfield Porter, Milton Avery, and Albert York. It’s precise, taut and uniquely American, cut through with a melancholia that can feel variously heartbreaking and newly wise.

The record's beautiful cover shows sections of a mural by a Polish artist named Stefan Knapp that hung for more than 30 years outside a department store in North Jersey that went under in the ‘90s. For a time it was regarded as the largest mural in the world. The band grew up a few minutes away and spent years driving by the abandoned building and its monumental painting. This vivid, nostalgic image, now lost, goes someway to explaining the concept of Atlas in the way it explores time, growth and change.

"I was trying to write more about where I was at in my life at the time", explains Courtney, "which inevitably led to thinking about my future and where I would like to be. Thoughts of wishing to move away from the city and have a life for my family similar to the one I had growing up. It's a little more uncomfortable writing about your present, a little more personal. The title of the record is meant to convey the idea of these songs as a personal road map for the future. I like to think of this record as an object that can be used and looked to for guidance and reassurance, at least for me personally."
King Krule
King Krule
With his debut single “Out Getting Ribs/ Has This Hit”, King Krule (formerly known as Zoo Kid, but still the musical alias of 17 year old Archy Marshall) announced himself as the startling voice of a new generation; his unexpectedly deep and mournful baritone tracing fissures of disappointment and disorientation to devastating effect. Comprised only of his stark vocals, guitar and searing lines such as “and I’m the only one believing/ there’s nothing to believe in”, it was a bleak but brilliant treatise on the inchoate frustration and fury of youth, rubbed raw and laid bare.

Now comes his second release, and with it, an expansion of vision, both musically and thematically. The connective tissue between these 5 tracks is still Marshall’s lyrics of searing clarity, but over the span of the self-titled EP, there is an arresting sonic progression, as his songs open up to become a loose knit meditation on regret and discontent, loss of faith and renewal of hope, and optimism in the face of desperation. Opening track “Bleak Bake”, for instance, opens with twinkling keyboards and Marshall clearing his throat, before sampled strings swoon in and he sighs, “everything hits you in the end”. “The Noose of Jah City” drives the knife in deeper, with Marshall singing of being “suffocated in concrete” over a lushly upholstered backdrop of chiming guitars and beats, while in the gorgeous “Portrait in Black and Blue” he concludes, ruefully, that “time never gave me a chance…trapped in a lizard state/ looking for an escape”. But even though the subject matter may at times be harrowing, the songs themselves are never anything less than exquisitely crafted, possessed of an almost spectral beauty, as epitomised in the shimmering instrumental “Intro”. Taken as a whole, the “King Krule” EP is the sound of a young man growing up and attempting to grapple with the realities of the world he inhabits, and a fascinating, brutal journey it is too.
Venue Information:
Terminal 5
610 W 56th St
New York, NY, 10019