Put on your most flattering pair of Levi’s, your grandpa’s suede shoes, a button down shirt and some retro-looking spectacles, and join me as we melt into the giant puddle of lo-fi indie love, otherwise known as – Real Estate. We will explore the complexities and vast inner-workings of Matthew Mondanile’s somewhat neurotic and uncomfortable facial expressions, and also unmask the true meaning behind Martin Courtney’s overwhelming disinterest in pretty much everything.
Are you lost in a sea of irony and humor (Uninhabitable Mansions? Secretly Canadian? In the Red?) Well, here’s what you need to know about the top-dogs of the rock-label world.
Sub Pop: Let’s start with the biggest and baddest of them all. These guys are the Al Pacino’s of record labels – powerful, prolific, and a little scary (more Godfather, less Gigli…yes, Al Pacino was in this tragedy). They’ve covered the map on big-names in the little-world of ‘indie rock.’ They’re home to dozens of break-out bands with new releases – Blitzen Trapper, Dum Dum Girls, Fleet Foxes, Male Bonding, Washed Out….the list goes on and on.
As much as I’d like to think I’m the free-spirited, loose-cannon cop type, when it comes down to it, I’m a planner and an organizer at heart. So when I tell you that I’ve been carefully documenting my favorite albums of 2012 (even though it’s only three months into the new year), I mean it. I’m doing this 1) because I’m a go-getter, and 2) because I want my year-ender to be the best it can be. This year’s trajectory is pretty intense, and the competition is as stiff as Lindsay Lohan’s new face – Willow Smith is set to release her debut album, Knees and Elbows, alongside JoJo, who’s dropping her third studio album, Jumping Trains, in mid April. It’s hard to imagine that any half-decent record could hold its own against the likes of these gifted musicians, but I’m pretty sure Hunx’s Hairdresser Blues could put up a good fight.
As music lovers, we face a debate that is considerably paramount to that of the ‘chicken or the egg:’ on one hand, we must choose between listening to an album in full, thus forming our own opinions and potentially becoming those free-thinking individuals we always dreamed about being, or on the other less attractive hand, read some grandiose reviews made by faux-bespectacled twenty-somethings who have more attachments to their vegan cookies than to the bands you love.
I’ve watched at least twenty episodes of Law and Order SVU over the past few days and there’s really no telling when I’ll stop. I’m not sure what keeps me coming back – Ice T’s catch phrases? Perhaps it’s Olivia Benson’s ever-changing hair? Whatever it may be, I’m addicted like a balding shoe-salesman with a foot fetish. When I sit down in my thinking chair and think, I can’t help but find myself trying to answer a question that really might not have an answer at all: how do people go from helping old ladies cross the street, to hanging them by laces taken from their orthopedic shoes? This very same question can be applied to music – why do great bands go from really cool to really lame?
Earlier this year, Scottish post-rock band Mogwai released an album titled, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will. I can’t say I liked it very much (Mogwai + vocals = ?), but I can say that it brought me back to an old time full of mosh pits, forehead sweat and ultimately, tears of satisfaction. As the album title suggests, hardcore will never die – in fact, its evil little head has reared it’s way back into my life yet again, thanks to Mogwai’s sucky album.