Song of the Day: Villagers – Nothing Arrived

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Nothing Arrived” by Villagers from the 2013 album {Awayland} on Domino.

Villagers – Nothing Arrived (MP3)

Formed in the wake of the disbandment of The Immediate, Conor O’Brien’s work as Villagers eschews his former outfit’s avant-garde tendencies in favor of earnest, folk-based songwriting. After writing his first batch of songs and recruiting some local musicians to back him up on tour, Villagers’ hype grew locally and then internationally, culminating in a string of dates with Neil Young and a Mercury Music Prize nomination. O’Brien’s second album under the moniker, the rich and resonating {Awayland}, was recorded with his touring band in Donegal, Ireland and finds O’Brien leaving the “Irish singer-songwriter” tag behind. The album’s lead single, “Nothin Arrived,” sounds nothing like a tune from busker on Grafton Street; it’s a stirring statement that takes a page from Ireland’s current swelling indie rock trends – electronic tones and grandiose atmospherics on top of guitar-driven songwriting – and does them one better. As the song ends with feedback growing and his quivering voice singing, “I waited for something/and something died/so I waited for nothing/and nothing arrived”, O’Brien’s plainspoken take on existentialism avoids coming off as brainy, coffeehouse philosophy because he’s got a musical vision that extends far beyond the Emerald Isle.

Villagers will play live on The Morning Show tomorrow, April 9, at 8AM PST from the Cutting Room Studios, but aside from his New York show later that night, there aren’t any announced plans for Villagers to return to America this year, so keep an eye on his website and Facebook page for any updates. For now, watch O’Brien play “Home” for KEXP at the 2010 Capitol Hill Block Party:

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