photos and review by Ben Mobley
Always on the prowl for new music, I download my regular (and favorite) monthly indie-rock sampler. Within the collection of some 120 tracks, there was this one song, with its mantra-like speak-singing, ethereal piano lines, and a slightly Bartok-ian riff. I was immediately struck by the overall sound and rhythms of “Black Rain” by NewVillager, a band I would further come to know in the most random of ways.
There I was, standing on the sidewalk, having a smoke and making friendly conversation with a stranger who I already knew, in a way.
It went something like this:
Him: “So yeah, at Cutting Room….”
Me: “Oh, cool. Do you work there?”
Him: “No, but my band has recorded there.”
Me: “Nice. Which band?”
Me: “Seriously? That’s hilarious.”
Him: “Oh yeah?”
Me: “Yeah, just got the LP not long ago. Hold on.” (at this point, i check my last.fm account) “Totally, I’ve listened to you guys some 50 times this week. So what’s your name?”
Me: “No, that’s my name.”
Him: “And mine.”
From there, my already-organic path continued on.
Thursday, Jan 12th at Mercury Lounge, Avan Lava kicked off the show.
I’ve never had the pleasure of witnessing such a FUN band. Tight vocal harmonies, black and white clothing that served as canvas for a light show that begs the question “Zola who?”, and fully choreographed dance breaks laid over high energy indie-pop prove that this band is something to keep a keen eye on.
Once the confetti had settled, Newvillager took the stage.
I have to admit – coming into the show, I was curious as to how the songs from their self-titled debut would translate to the live setting. The LP production boasts tropical soundscape samples, caribbean-inspired stomp-n-clap rhythms, and heavily affected vocals that speak of universal (read: human) growth. Thanks to reverb, filters, pedals, a laptop in a suitcase, and 3 very talented live musicians, the collective that is Newvillager crafts a live concert experience that deliciously expounds upon their debut LP. Even more fantastic, the band has such communion amongst themselves that tracks were, at times, extended – either via intro or outro.
I could bore you with a track-by-track breakdown, but the most important thing about Newvillager in concert is this: the experience is full of love and worth dancing for.
Do yourself a favor and grab the LP, released via IAMSOUND Records, June 2011.
They are one of the most interesting and solid musical efforts I’ve found (or who found me).
Say the Code
How to Get Back