Real Estate first gained notice for decidedly un-rock-and-roll subject matter. The group turned its gaze on their suburban upbringing in Ridgewood, New Jersey, filling out their 2009 self-titled debut with songs about childhood and beach days. But undercutting all this happy-go-lucky easiness is a dark core, best expressed by Martin Courtney’s plaintive voice and guitarist Matthew Mondanile’s wandering guitar riffs. 2011’s Days ratcheted up this sense of longing, as Real Estate went from being a hometown favorite into a buzzworthy touring act.
Now the group returns to Austin as a festival mainstay. They’re riding high on the strength of this year’s Atlas, a critically-acclaimed effort recorded at Wilco’s Loft studio space in Chicago. Growing up continues to be a deep concern for the band, one whose members now live across the country and are starting their own families. On “Crime,” don’t let the dreamy atmosphere fool you. “Toss and turn all night / Don’t know how to make it right / Crippling anxiety,” Courtney sings. The song shows off what Real Estate does so well: mix the sunshine in with the clouds.
Catch Real Estate at ACL Fest 2014:
*Sunday, Oct 5 – 5 p.m., RetailMeNot Stage
*Sunday, Oct 12 – 3 p.m., RetailMeNot Stage