Live Review: NewVillager at Mercury Lounge 1/12

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.

January 2012.

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?”
Him: “Newvillager.”
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?”
Him: “Ben.”
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).

Avan Lava:

NewVillager:

Setlist:

3 Times
Black Rain
CocoonHouse
Upholder
Say the Code
How to Get Back
LightHouse

Encore: Richdoors

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