Music News & Reviews

'Real Estate' brings its music, reminiscent of early R.E.M., to Lexington

Real Estate's music is a throwback to pop-savvy sounds of the early 1980s. 
From left: Matthew Mondanile, Alex Bleeker, Etienne Duguay and Martin Courtney.
Real Estate's music is a throwback to pop-savvy sounds of the early 1980s. From left: Matthew Mondanile, Alex Bleeker, Etienne Duguay and Martin Courtney.

Real Estate

10 p.m. Nov. 19 at Cosmic Charlie's, 388 Woodland Ave. $10 in advance, $12 at the door. (859) 309-9499. Cosmic-charlies.com.

Within the first grooves of Days, the second full-length studio recording by the New Jersey rockers of Real Estate, you experience music that is about 30 years and at least one season out of sync.

The pop melodies, all clean and refreshingly accessible, are full of bright, summery expression, especially on the album-opening Easy and the lazy, layered guitar harmonies that introduce Green Aisles. But as soon as It's Real kicks in, with its jangled guitar lyricism and efficient percussive momentum, one is transported back to the more pop-savvy side of R.E.M.'s IRS albums from the early '80s (minus the darker undercurrents).

A case of retro pop in motion? Perhaps. But succeeding pop generations are obligated (or, depending on your viewpoint, doomed) to reference the lessons of their stylistic forefathers. Consider the way those early R.E.M. records echo The Byrds.

Certainly an amount of retrofitting exists on Days. Many critics also claim Pavement as another pop reference prevalent on the album, although that inspiration is far less blatant. What the band does manage, however, is a sense of efficient and accessible songcraft. It builds on the past but comes fortified with enough pop smarts and performance vigor to make the songs far more than just snapshots of another pop era.

How does Real Estate's present-day view of past pop formulas transfer to the stage? Be on hand when the band plays Cosmic Charlie's on Saturday. Big Troubles, along with local bands Jovontaes and Idiot Glee, will open.

Goins on

Among the recent class of inductees to the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame was ageless string-music pioneer Melvin Goins. His career goes back 60 years, which includes tenure with The Stanley Brothers, Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys and nearly three decades of touring and recording with brother Ray Goins.

A highly visible bluegrass music figure in the state, thanks to the weekly radio programs he hosts out of Paintsville, Goins also has been a frequent performance guest at Clay City's Meadowgreen Park Music Hall. He performs at the latter (at 303 Bluegrass Lane in Clay City) again on Saturday with his long-running band Windy Mountain. (7 p.m., $12. (606) 663-9008. Kyfriends.com.) The Keith Prater Band will open.

Scott meets the Sisters

Near as they can tell, Americana chieftain Darrell Scott and the celebrated gospel-and-more group The McCrary Sisters have never met. Yet they share alliances with a couple of esteemed artists — specifically, Buddy Miller and Patty Griffin.

Scott spent the past year touring with Miller and Griffin in Robert Plant's Band of Joy, and the McCrarys feature the two on their new album Our Journey. On Monday, Scott will share the stage at the Kentucky Theatre, 214 East Main Street, with Ann, Regina, Deborah and Alfreda McCrary for a taping of the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour. (6:45 p.m. $10. Call (859) 252-8888 for reservations. Woodsongs.com.).

Ann McCrary will discuss working with the likes of Miller, Griffin and more in this weekend's Living Sunday section.

Paul Simon at NKU

We're hard-pressed to say when Paul Simon last played Kentucky. We're not even sure if he ever has played here. What we do know is the legendary songsmith hasn't performed anywhere in the region in more than 20 years. On Tuesday, he will offer one of the final concerts in support of his brilliant album So Beautiful or So What at Northern Kentucky University's The Bank of Kentucky Center (500 Nunn Drive in Highland Heights). As a bonus, the eclectic string band The Punch Brothers will open the evening. (7:30 p.m. $43-$73. Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000 or Ticketmaster.com.)

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