Today, Real Estate announce The Main Thing. Out February 28th on Domino, the brand new album delivers the band’s most inspired and self-aware set of songs to date, created over the course of a year at upstate New York’s Marcata Sound. Following his work on 2011’s Days, engineer Kevin McMahon returns as producer, and, for the first time ever, Real Estate has brought in outside instrumentalists and special guests like Sylvan Esso, whose vocalist Amelia Meath features on the first single, “Paper Cup.” Across the album's 13 interrogative tracks – as full of depth, strangeness, and contradictions as they are lifting hooks – the band balances existential, environmental, and political anxieties with fatherly sentiments, self-satirizing lyrics, forever-lively guitar lines, and shimmering strings.
New single “Paper Cup” (feat. Sylvan Esso) comes alongside a Nick Roney-directed music video chronicling the final performance in the life of a giant animatronic squirrel named Chipper. Watch below.
On “Paper Cup” and the making of The Main Thing, Martin Courtney says: “Paper Cup is a song about getting older and realizing that this thing that I fell into doing over ten years ago - being a musician, writing songs, being a guy in a band - this may end up being my life’s work. Watching the people around me change and evolve, take on new challenges, and feeling sort of stuck in a rut, in a way. Feeling uncertain of the validity of being an artist in an age of climate change and general political and social unrest around the world.
It’s a song about questioning your chosen path in life and searching for meaning in what you do.
Those questions don’t really get resolved in this song, but ironically, the process of making this record - really diving deep and trying to make it the best thing we’ve ever made - reaffirmed in me, and I think in all of us in this band, why we are doing this.”
The Main Thing arrives with a fresh commitment the members of Real Estate - Alex Bleeker (bass), Martin Courtney (vocals, guitar), Matthew Kallman (keyboards), Julian Lynch (guitar, vocals), and Jackson Pollis (drums and drum programming) - have made to each other, 10 years and 5 full-length LPs into a career spent crafting unmistakable and influential palettes of sound. The band underwent a collaborative evolution for this album, which saw each member experimenting in new roles, and alongside Sylvan Esso’s Amelia Meath, Matt Barrick of The Walkmen, Aaron Johnston of Brazilian Girls and a string quartet all play on the record.
The album title is, in part, a reference to the Roxy Music song; primary songwriter Martin Courtney explains, “Even before we decided where to record or who to record it with, I knew it needed to sound that good”, but as Alex Bleeker adds, “We discovered through the care and attention that we brought to this record that making music to resonate with other people is our catharsis. The ‘main thing’ is following your path of inspiration and hoping to inspire that in people around you”.
For the album artwork, the band enlisted Bjorn Copeland of Black Dice, whose visual work focuses on recycling byproducts of consumer excess, to mimic the layout of Days.
Real Estate will head out on a 24-date US tour in Spring, UK and European live dates will be announced shortly.
2. Paper Cup (feat. Sylvan Esso)
6. Falling Down
7. Also A But
8. The Main Thing
9. Shallow Sun
11. Silent World