Today, Martin Courtney, the front man of indie rock mainstays Real Estate, releases his second full-length solo album 'Magic Sign' via Domino. The album is written, performed and produced by Martin Courtney himself. It was recorded, mixed and co-produced by Rob Schnapf at Mant Sounds in Los Angeles and mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound. Additional performers include Matt Barrick, Oliver Hill, Kacey Johansing, and Tim Ramsey.
When Martin Courtney was a teenager, he knew how to get lost. In the late ‘90s and early 2000s, there’s Martin, 17 or 18, loaded into a car with friends, stoned and aimless. They’re navigating the suburban sprawl of New Jersey with no destination in mind. He and his friends would “get thoroughly confused and look for familiar green signs with arrows pointing to towns we’d heard of. We’d call them ‘magic signs’”, he says, sitting in his home studio in Beacon, New York, where he wrote the songs that make up 'Magic Sign'.
That’s the thing about magic: when you go looking for it, you start to see it everywhere. And you can hear it twinklingly throughout the ten songs on 'Magic Sign'. Written throughout 2020 and 2021, the album came together late at night, while Courtney’s kids slept upstairs and his wife worked overnight shifts at the hospital, a role reversal from his former days out on tour while she stayed home with their family.
Nostalgia is naturally woven into Courtney’s sensibility. “I was singing about the good old days even on the first Real Estate album”, he laughs, noting that the “old days” were only two or three years ago at that point. Courtney doesn’t spend the entire record looking back - many of these are his most present tense to date - but a youthful exuberance does propel it forward. Courtney notes that he imagined the songs emerging in a post-pandemic world, providing a soundtrack for better days of relief and optimism.
Pre-save 'Magic Sign' here