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Real Estate’s Days Turns 10: “That Was Our First Experience Doing It for Real”

Martin Courtney and Alex Bleeker reflect on the tenth anniversary of their sophomore LP

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Real Estate Days
Real Estate, photo by Jake Michaels

    The album cover for Real Estate‘s seminal 2011 sophomore album Days features a bit of an odd image: a photo from 1966 that depicts several white tract houses in a row in Bayonne, New Jersey, with a cloudy sky above and a seemingly lifeless set of exteriors, copied perfectly across the line. It’s part of a 1967 series by Dan Graham called Houses For America, and though there’s a certain suburban tension depicted in the photo, there’s also a peaceful malaise and a nostalgic glow — something Real Estate know very well.

    Days operates in the same cloudy world as its artwork: within the set of 10 reverb-drenched, mid-tempo tracks are moments of vivid imagination, longing, and, at the album’s most luminous, acceptance. Real Estate arrived with a fully-formed sound on their 2009 self-titled debut, and on Days (released on October 18th, 2011), they expanded their contemplative dream pop to ambitious heights and emotional clarity. This is perhaps best represented by standout tracks “It’s Real,” “Easy,” and “Municipality,” which, to this day, possess an idyllic simplicity that many have attempted to emulate since its release.

    Days was the sound of a band moving from the suburbs to the city and handing its growing audience their takeaways: those days in the sun, floating aimlessly, wandering and wondering, were not wasted. The nostalgia hidden in the dreamy, frequently-fluttering guitar work provides a soothing presence, and the album’s name ends up having two meanings: “days,” in the most general sense, a simple passing of time and a reflection; and “daze,” the act of getting lost in the present moment, a wash of acceptance and a willingness to simply be.

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    A decade later, Days exists not only as a fundamental entry in Real Estate’s now sizable catalogue, but as a landmark indie rock album. The album’s success — coupled with Real Estate’s presence in the North Brooklyn music scene — allowed for the vibrant dream pop of Mac DeMarco, Beach Fossils, and DIIV to flourish nationally.

    Even now, artists like Gus Dapperton, boy pablo, and Clairo, who have all enjoyed commercial success in the last few years, share traces of the same gorgeous palette that Real Estate created from, complete with extra reverb, saccharine guitars, and delicate-but-poignant vocals.

    To celebrate ten years of Days, as well as their 2020 LP The Main Thing and this year’s Half A Human EP, Real Estate is hitting the road for some special anniversary shows in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, where they’ll play Days in full.

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    Before their show in Indianapolis, Consequence caught up with Martin Courtney and Alex Bleeker of Real Estate to chat about getting back into touring, their favorite songs from Days, and reflecting on ten years of the album. Check out the full interview below.


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