Sometime in the last two months, Glasslands got a face lift. What was for years a ramshackle space that smelled of stale Colt 45 and tempura paint has become a legit venue. Wood paneling and trim now covers the loft area. The grimy old couches underneath have been replaced by what looks like church pews. The stage has been raised by a foot or so and gone is their nautical sculpture behind it, with projection screens taking their place. There's now a sandwich nook where you can buy tasty Italian creations on Napoli Bakery bread. The bar now takes credit cards. I would actually come just to hang out.
But they place has some kinks to work out in the electrical department. About 20 seconds into Real Estate's first song, the stage lights went dark and the PA went silent. After a couple times of this happening, the sound guy goes up to the stage, unscrews some of the lights and the show finally goes on, louder and darker. Luckily, Real Estate are a low light kind of band, what I like to call "lazy Sunday music." Languidly paced, with gentle strumming and lead guitar that intertwines with bass played high on the neck so it's almost like a second guitar. Loads of reverb. Dreamy melodies. Perfect for a warm kitchen, reading the paper and eating English muffins. Or a freezing cold Tuesday evening in Williamsburg.
There's a New Zealand thing going on here (The Jean Paul Sartre Experience comes to mind) and, of course, Galaxie 500. (A comparison that's hard not to make when the DJ plays "4th of July" the second the band says goodnight, which I thought was a little too on-the-nose.) Real Estate are very good. The band only have a 7" out at this point (on Underwater Peoples Records) but expect a flurry of releases in the next few months: a 12" on Mexican Summer, and a 7" and LP on Woodsist. You're going to be hearing a lot about them in the coming months.
MP3: Real Estate - Old Folks (buy it on vinyl)
You can see them a lot too. If you live in NYC, they're playing the apartment/venue Dead Herring on Friday, and then there are lots more dates (SXSW and beyond) which you can find out about if you make it to the bottom of this post, as are a couple very dark YouTube videos from the show.
Where the power outages brought Real Estate to a standstill, Philadelphia's (The Sound of) Kaleidoscope barreled through at least three such snafus without every acknowledging anything was wrong. I'd never heard them before (though they've been together since the '90s apparently and used to feature The Ropers' rhythm section) but immediately took to their heavy, acid rock, psychedelic, shoegazy sound. Their drummer is an absolute beast. Great stuff, and definitely worth checking out next time they're in town. They've got a new album, All This Heaven, which isn't really available anywhere yet besides their shows. Here's a song from their debut:
MP3: (The Sounds of) Kaleidoscope - New Language
*DJ in question was Will Roan of Amazing Baby, who in general played amazing stuff all night: Kinks, Altered Images, Harry Nilsson, Thunderclap Newman...so good on ya, Will
Videos and tour dates after da jump...