Real Life Buildings
words by tom johnson
The weather – as an impact, as a metaphor – has always been synonymous with music, especially within the kind of brooding rock and roll music that Real Life Buildings make. While their previous work used the weather as a kind of notable reference point, here, on their wonderful new album which is streaming below, it becomes the full frame, lending this ten-song collection its title and also pertinently shaping many of its most wholesome moments, not to mention the weighty atmosphere that hangs over every inch of the new record.
Just to rewind slightly, before leaping in to the fog, Real Life Buildings is the project of NYC’s Matthew Van Asselt and “Significant Weather” doesn’t just represent the next chapter for his band but it’s also the culmination of growth, physical and formative. While debut album “It Snowed” was recorded in just four days on a porch in Maine with just Mike Ditrio accompanying, the new album, some three years down the line, finds Van Asselt surrounded by the most solid of compatriots, the band expanded to also include both Crying’s Elaiza Santos and Laetitia ‘Vagabon‘ Tamko.
For all of the credibility (for want of a better word) that both Santos’ and Tamko’s presence here adds, Significant Weather still both exists and flourishes solely on its own terms, thanks, chiefly, to Van Asselt’s gruff, seasoned voice and the detailed vision he etches out in song form. From the opening, ramshackle crash of lead-track “Cold” to the moment that “Ripple Effect” dully, subtly departs, it’s a wonderfully endearing and heartening slab of sound and sentiments, the kind of record that for all of its downbeat nature still manages to stir us, the listeners, and sustain itself, furrowed brow and all, season after season after season.
So while the weather connection is an immediate and obvious one, it should also be pointed out that this is a record that feels both suitably and wildly significant. Twitchy and unsettled throughout, it nevertheless feels like a striking leap forward for the band, the kind of warm-blooded record that will bind itself to those lucky enough to get lost within it. Van Asselt’s way-with-words is one reason for this (“Sometimes my feet get stuck, and so the weeds just grow and grow, but the garden doesn’t disappear“) but even taken as it is, as the sum of its parts (and so much more), Significant Weather feels like a resounding document of a life being lived; the slurred, scorched sounds – all tetchy billowing guitars, powerful drums, and more – that creep out through the breaks in the cloud offering one of the year’s most resounding and endearing journeys.
The full record is released this Friday but we’re very pleased to bring you a full stream of the record today – check it out below and grab a pre-order right here.
‘Significant Weather’ is released on Friday, April 21st.
Pre-order it here, via Lauren Records
04/21 – Brooklyn, NY @ House Show
04/22 – Ithaca, NY @ Cornell College
04/23 – Columbus, Oh @ Cafe Bourbon Street
04/24 – St. Louis, MO @ FOAM
04/26 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Vague Space
04/27 – Boise, ID @ The Barnyard
04/28 – Portland, OR @ The Flytrap
04/29 – Seattle, WA @ Magic Lanes
05/02 – Arcata, CA @ Outer Space (with Aye Nako)
05/03 – Oakland, CA @ 1-2-3-4 Go! Records
05/04 – San Francisco, CA @ Brick and Mortar Music Hall
05/05 – Los Angeles, CA @ Emerald House
05/06 – Pomona, CA @ VLHS*
05/07 – Flagstaff, AZ @ Firecreek*
05/08 – Phoenix, AZ @ Trunk Space*
05/09 – Santa Barbara, CA @ FUNZONE*
05/10 – Santa Cruz, CA @ Subrosa*
05/11 – Sacramento, CA @ Red Museum*
05/12 – Corvallis, OR @ Interzone
05/13 – Portland, OR @ Black Water
05/14 – Olympia, WA @ Le Voyeur