Martin Courtney could well be familiar to you.
Lead singer with Real Estate, his gently, plaintive, at times outwardly melancholic croon has adorned no small number of fantastic indie pop releases.
Taking a solo turn, new album 'Many Moons' is out now via Domino. Beautifully downcast and perfectly Autumnal psych pop, Martin Courtney is set to unveil the material at a series of Stateside shows.
Intrigued, Clash invited the Real Estate artist to name a few of his Influences.
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The Kinks - 'Sitting By the Riverside'
'Village Green Preservation Society' is more or less a perfect album. I like how the songs seem so simple and literal on the surface, but there's always a subtext. It's hard to pull off "tongue in cheek" in pop lyrics, I know from experience. It's all in the delivery, and Ray Davies is a master. These songs are the perfect mix of heartfelt and sarcastic, not to mention beautifully arranged. Great melodies.
I like the idea of an acoustic-driven pop/rock album. That was one of the main ideas I feel like we took from this record. Lots of acoustic guitar, but full band and with lots of backup vocals.
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Al Green - 'Call Me'
The production on all of his early Hi Records stuff is so great. The super dry, dead drum sound was something we were definitely trying to emulate (impossible). Green's singing and melodies are obviously great, but it's more about the instrumentation and chord progressions for me. These songs are really fun to learn on guitar, FYI.
When I listen to Al Green, I like to single out each instrument and just listen to what it's doing for the whole song. It's not that hard to do, since the arrangements are so sparse. That's another thing I love about these recordings, there's a ton of open space. A lot is accomplished with just a few well placed elements.
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The Clientele - 'Five Day Morning'
This band just conjures such vivid, clear imagery. Every song. I can just see this dude walking down the street, heartbroken in the rain, and it's fall. I love it. Something about their music really resonates with me for some reason. They really remind me of where I grew up, I get a good feeling when I listen to these songs.
I would describe their sound as "autumnal", which I guess is a word people have used to describe my songs. I moved to the Hudson Valley in New York state recently, and the Clientele has been soundtracking a lot of my drives around the area.
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Joni Mitchell - 'Car On A Hill'
I like her weird, free flowing song structures, and of course great melodies and lyrics. The main thing for me though are the arrangements on these early 70s Joni albums. Classic LA studio dog style. I really love the way horns and woodwinds and strings are used on this record, like when the flute (is that a flute?) comes in at the "he makes friends easy" part. The single note hanging there, very nice. Great backup vocals too, the harmonies are always interesting and well placed. Top notch!
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Nick Drake - 'At The Chime Of A City Clock'
I listened to a lot of Nick Drake while writing these songs, and also the last Real Estate record. I listen to a lot of Nick Drake in general. Another songwriter I feel like I can relate to somehow. 'Bryter Layter' is the record I come back to the most. Again, it's a lot to do with the arrangements. I love the vaguely jazzy feel of this song.
The drum fill at the beginning is super cool (and basic I know, but I like it), the strings in the chorus, the bass line. The sax is a little over the top, but it works. I also just love the general vibe of this song, I feel like I'm chasing this vibe in my songs often.
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'Many Moons' is out now.